Why this remarkable plant's contribution to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals is worth reevaluating

Experts at the forefront of efforts to restore the UK’s coastal seagrass beds say the remarkable plant’s contribution to the to-do list most important plant in human history should be reassessed.

Seagrass – the only underwater flowering plant in the world – is not only vital for biodiversity, but also absorbs carbon dioxide, which helps fight climate change.

In a new post, which comes from To be published in the journal Science, Swansea University researchers make the case for considering the value of seagrass beyond carbon in the context of the UN’s Resilient Development Goals – the common system for achieving a better and longer lasting future. The conservation and restoration of seagrass meadows actually contribute to achieving 16 17 objectives.

The authors, including Dr Richard Unsworth and Dr Leanne Cullen-Unsworth, explain that the planetary emergency is driving interest in using seagrass beds as a natural option to climate change and biodiversity recovery.

However, the sensitivity of seagrass beds to stressors is acute, and in many places the risk of loss and degradation persists.

Dr Unsworth, who leads the university team and is one of the founding directors of Venture Seagrass, a maritime conservation charity, said: “With the growing awareness of the he planetary emergency we face, there is growing interest in using seagrass as a natural solution for greenhouses. mitigation of gases.

“But while the ecological status of seagrass beds remains compromised, their ability to contribute to nature-based solutions for the climate emergency and the crisis of biodiversity remains uncertain.”

The team’s latest research examined the ecological role play and how rethinking their conservation is key to understanding their role in addressing our planetary emergency.

Dr Unsworth said: “Seagrasses are ‘fundamental worth to the planet, but compared to terrestrial grasses, and even algae, the body of seagrass research is much smaller.

“However , there are significant ecological, social and regulatory hurdles and bottlenecks to seagrass restoration and conservation due to the scale of the interventions required.

« Sorry But, advances in maritime robotics, molecular ecology, remote sensing and artificial intelligence are all providing new opportunities to address conservation issues in harsh environments on unprecedented global scales.

“Only by looking beyond carbon and recognizing the true value of seagrass beds can we put them on a path to zero net loss and ultimately of a web reach.”

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