SEAGRASSES IN WEST AFRICA
Along the coasts, bordering the oceans and seas of the world extend vast underwater prairies of seagrasses. Seagrasses are flowering plants of terrestrial origin and form extensive meadows in intertidal and shallow subtidal zones. They deliver multiple benefits to the marine environment and the human communities that depend on the sea for their living. Despite increasing recognition as one of the most economically and ecologically valuable ecosystems on Earth, very little is known about the location and state of seagrasses on the west coast of Africa. Very few publications are available for the whole region and there appears to be limited awareness of the existence and importance of seagrass meadows.
Seagrasses are one of the ocean’s most important habitats. They provide benefits such as nursery and feeding grounds for fish and marine animals, and they protect our coastlines and store carbon. At the same time, because they are one of the world’s least known ecosystems they are in dire need of protection.
A key reason for seagrasses’ lack of protection is the paucity of information regarding some of the most basic aspects of their distribution and health. This project will strengthen knowledge on seagrass meadows in West Africa and conduct pilot actions on selected sites. It will develop new management tools. And it will help governments in protecting seagrasses and the services they provide.