‘Roadmap to blue carbon opportunities in Seychelles’ |12 April 2022
A blue carbon training workshop was held yesterday at the Constance Ephelia organised by the James Michel Foundation in collaboration with the Deakin University’s Blue Carbon Lab and funded by SeyCCAT.
The chief scientific advisor of the James Michel Foundation, Dr Ameer Ebrahim, explained that the workshop is part of a SEYCCAT funded project, titled ‘Roadmap to Blue Carbon Opportunities in the Seychelles’ which began in October 2019. The project aims to advance Seychelles' blue economy by exploring blue carbon opportunities in the region and developing a better understanding of marine assets (i.e., blue carbon ecosystems) that directly mitigate climate change and reduce ocean risks.
Dr Ebrahim gave an overview of what happened so far. “The project started in October 2019 and we are now in the final stages. Shockingly we found very few papers available on the region and we had to move to the region and the report was published in May 2021. So far, the core deliverables of the project have been: a literature review on Blue Carbon research in the Tropical Western Indian Ocean, which was published in March 2021; a stakeholder questionnaire which was completed and compiled from >100 individuals and organisations locally. Many of you in this room today played a part in that exercise, and so we thank you for your participation.”
Dr Ebrahim shared that they are now in the final stages of the project and this Citizen Science Workshop will aim to introduce the participants into the world of blue carbon ecosystems and demonstrate field monitoring techniques that are used to collect blue carbon data.
The final deliverable of this project will be a roadmap document which will be submitted to the government of Seychelles at the conclusion.
What is blue carbon?
Blue carbon ecosystems (i.e. mangroves, seagrass beds,) are among earth’s most efficient carbon sinks, burying carbon up to 40 times faster than tropical rainforests and locking away carbon in the ground for millennial time scales. In addition to sequestering carbon, blue carbon ecosystems provide other important ecosystem services: they support fisheries, enhance biodiversity, and protect shorelines from erosion, extreme weather events and sea level rise.
Why is it so important?
Dr Ebrahim explained that science is showing now that they absorb 40 to 50 times more carbon than the tropical rain forest and that’s quite remarkable. It is giving more significance to help these environments for the future.
What will Seychelles do with the data collected?
Dr Ebrahim noted that currently there are four projects that are ongoing in the country. “This one is just looking at the literature, field techniques and providing Seychelles with the roadmap document. The three other projects are: Quantifying and mapping sea grass meadows led by the Pew Charitable Trusts in partnership with the Oxford University; the third project is about looking at the review of quantifying the blue carbon, what does it mean for Seychelles and the fourth project is a field campaign led by Dr Barry Nourice where we travelled to Aldabra to Cosmodelo and sampled around Mahé all mangroves around Seychelles, collecting blue carbon data.”
These will be processed in Seychelles and all of these data will help Seychelles understand how much blue carbon we really have in the country and that has international consequences. Not only for funding but for climate mitigation.
During the workshop, the participants were able to view a message from former President James Michel talking about his passion which is to protect the Ocean.
During the day, the participants were able to visit the Port Glaud mangroves to learn how to collect specific data.