SEAGRASSES IN WEST AFRICA
Along the coasts, bordering the oceans and seas of the world, vast marine prairies extend, seagrasses. Seagrasses are flowering plants of terrestrial origin, which form extensive meadows in the intertidal and shallow subtidal zone, and play an integral role in delivering multiple benefits both to the marine environment and human well-being. Despite increasing recognition as one of the most economically and ecologically valuable ecosystems on Earth, the west coast of Africa is one of the least known areas for seagrasses in the world. Very few publications are available for the whole region and there appears to be limited awareness of the existence and importance of seagrass meadows in the area.
Seagrasses are one of the ocean’s most important habitats, serving as nursery and feeding grounds, protecting our coastlines and storing carbon, among many other benefits. At the same time, they are one of the world’s least known ecosystems and 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 strive to strengthen knowledge on seagrass meadows in West Africa and conduct pilot actions on selected sites, aiming at implementing management tools and improving their protection status and the services they provide.
This project will bring together managers and researchers to gather data and create national and regional expertise within West Africa, resulting in the ability to enact positive change for seagrasses.
The proposed project aims at improving knowledge and experience from pilot sites in order to lead to conservation actions for seagrass beds in seven coastal countries, Mauritania, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Cape Verde and Sierra Leone.