Building Partnerships between scientists, managers and society for marine forests conservation

11 October 2013 | News story

The second workshop on seagrass meadows organised by the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation brought together more than 100 participants, including scientists, managers, entrepreneurs and local representatives who debated about the state of conservation, management and natural and socio-economic services of seagrass on the Spanish coast and the Mediterranean. The meeting took place in Malaga from 9 to 10 October in the framework of the project LIFE+POSIDONIA Andalucía.

Preliminary results based on a compilation of 519 studies, presented at the workshop, showed that during the last 60 years there has been a net loss of seagrass ecosystems in the Mediterranean basin, estimated between 13% and 38%, due to local impacts widespread across the Mediterranean coasts. This has led to as similar loss of ecosystemic services provided by these meadows, such as carbon sink or coastal protection.

Participants agreed that Posidonia oceanica meadows should rather be called marine forests, because they can be considered as millenary with a very long lifespan although coupled with extremely slow recovery. Their biogenic reefs constitute a natural record of climate and environmental conditions in the last millenia, thus providing another service to human beings, specially for science.
Local managers stressed the need of clear guidelines at national, Mediterranean and European levels to manage cast-ashore materials on beaches, in order to avoid beach loss. Also they highlighted the need of revision of the Touristic and Beach Quality Label requirements as to introduce sustainable criteria for beach management.

Finally, a group of experts presented the advances of the first atlas of marine seagrasses of Spain, which will allow to have for the first time a complete overview of the distribution and conservation status of Spanish seagrass meadows. The Portuguese representation proposed to integrate the information of Portuguese seagrasses in a wider work of the Atlas.


For further info: Elena Díaz Almela 

About Life+Posidonia Andalucía project

The LIFE + Posidonia Andalusia is an European project, led by the regional Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning of the Government of Andalusia and co-funded by CEPSA, together with other beneficiary partners: the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation IUCN, Conservation, Information and Research on Cetaceans (CIRCE), the Andalusian Federation of Fishermen, the Andalusian Federation of Fisheries Associations, Directorate General of Fisheries and Aquaculture of the regional Andalusian government, the Farming and Fisheries Management Agency (AGAPA), and the Agency for Environment and Water of Andalusia (AMAA). Also, the Biodiversity Foundation and the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment have co-fund this this workshop.

Mediterranean landscape