Méditerranée

LIFE Blue Natura

Serranus scriba and Posidonia oceanica Photo: Andrea Molinari

This project represents an ambitious and innovative initiative to quantify  blue carbon and protect coastal habitats in Andalusia.

Context and challenges
Coastal habitats composed of marshes and seagrass meadows, such as  Posidonia oceanica meadows, represent significant carbon sinks. Indeed, they sequester carbon in its organic form and store it for thousands of years. However, despite the importance of this important ecosystem service provided by this coastal vegetation, these habitats are disappearing at an alarming rate (i.e. four times faster than terrestrial forests).

Objectives

  1.  Quantify the carbon deposits and the sequestration rates of seagrass meadows and marsh habitats in Andalusia, with an emphasis on what is accumulated under the sediments.
  2. Analyse  and model the development of seagrass meadows over the coming decades in order to define and make an approximate evaluation of the environmental services created by these habitats to mitigate climate change.
  3.  Explore and encourage already existing initiatives in order to finance conservation and restoration projects of blue carbon sink-habitats with policies for mitigating and adapting to climate change, with a special attention on carbon emissions trading or carbon markets.
  4. Create the necessary legal regulations, with maximum guarantees of being replicated at an international level, which will in practice allow these conservation projects to be included in the aforementioned markets. One of the specific objectives in the proposal is the development of key regulations such as standards for verifying carbon credits, drafting carbon offset projects, or creating project catalogues.

Results

  • Protect target areas in Andalusia, which will be defined as future pilot conservation projects as well as potential areas for the re-vegetation of Posidona oceanica, using regulated and voluntary carbon markets.
  • Promote dialogue at a national and regional level with regard to how blue carbon habitats can be incorporated into the national Inventory of Greenhouse Gases (GHG).
  • Create a network which assists the involvement of companies and organisations in the carbon market, which can assure medium-term emission reductions by protecting blue carbon sinks located in this region (seagrass habitats and marshes).
  • Lay the foundations for associations by linking up with local communities so that they participate and benefit from carbon compensation schemes, and with public-private associations that help to improve the conservation of coastal wetlands and seagrass meadows, including for example, conserving carbon sinks and controlling emissions in environmental planning management for protected areas.
  • The project will contribute to a better understanding of blue sink habitats (seagrass meadows and marshes), their characterisation, state of conservation and trends for the next few decades.

IUCN-Med Role

  • Promote awareness on the importance of the ecological services provided by these habitats and provide information about carbon sinks and why it is important to conserve these habitats.
  • Economic assessment of Andalusian blue carbon in the voluntary carbon market.
  • Development of a manual for the certification of future projects promoting Blue Carbon conservation actions and the regeneration of seagrass beds and tidal marshes.
  • Dialogue and portfolio of carbon offset projects for the conservation and regeneration of Blue Carbon.
  • 'Jornadas' and Training workshops for managers and technicians in the field
  • Seminars for policy makers and the private sector
  • Workshop for specialized media

Area of Work 
Spain

Partners/Donors
The LIFE BLUE NATURA is a European project, coordinated by laConsejería de Medio Ambiente y Ordenación del Territorio de la Junta de Andalucía, in cooperation with the Agencia de Medio Ambiente y Agua de Andalucía (AMAYA), CSIC-CEABIUCN-Med and Asociación Hombre y Territorio (HyT).

This project has a budget of 2.513.792 €, funded by the Life European Project and CEPSA.

Duration
The project is scheduled over a four year period (2015 – 2019).

For further information: Maria del Mar Otero

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