EcoAct helps launch pioneering new methodology for preservation of seagrass

Digital and environmental actors join forces to launch the first certification methodology of low-carbon projects dedicated to the protection of seagrass beds, with the Calanques National Park as the first pilot site. 

EcoAct helps launch pioneering new methodology for the preservation of seagrass beds

EcoAct, an Atos company,  recently partnered with Interxion: A Digital Realty Company, Schneider Electric France and the Calanques National Park to launch the “Prométhée – Med” research project. This project aims to establish the first methodology for certifying conservation and preservation measures for seagrass beds as part of the Low Carbon Label. The pilot site is located in the Calanques National Park off the French Mediterranean coast.

Seagrass plays a role in marine biodiversity and is under threat

Seagrass beds play a major role in climate regulation and the preservation of marine biodiversity. Highly diverse and productive, these ecosystems provide important ecological functions (spawning grounds, nurseries, etc). Despite their surface area representing less than 2% of the total surface area of the oceans, they are home to 4% to 18% of marine species and so their protection is imperative for marine biodiversity. Seagrass beds also help protect coastline from erosion, support coastal fisheries, and act as a filter in the water column.

Yet despite the vital role of seagrass beds play, a 2020 UN report, estimated 7% of this key marine habitat was being lost worldwide each year, equivalent to a football field of seagrass vanishing every 30 minutes. Climate change, coastal artificialization, pollution, poor fishing practices and the presence of ships that tear up the plants with their anchors are among the main factors in the loss of seagrass beds.

Protecting seagrass beds: an asset in the fight against climate change

This pilot project, Prométhée – Med focuses on Posidonia seagrass (Posidonia Oceanica), which plays a key role in maintaining the biological and physical balance of the Mediterranean Sea. Posidonia is also distinguished by its exceptional capacity to store carbon: Posidonia Oceanica stores up to 1,500 tonnes of carbon per hectare – 3 to 5 times more than tropical forests, and up to 7 times more than French hardwood forests, over millions of hectares and over hundreds of years.

Posidonia is under threat and though it is protected by law, it is estimated that it still loses 1.5% of its surface area each year.  Its huge capacity to store carbon, also means that when it is degraded or destroyed, it has a double impact of both releasing CO2 emissions and endangering fragile ecosystems. Its regeneration, on the other hand, increases these carbon stocks and can help support biodiversity.

Prometheus – Med seagrass bed research project

The project “Prometheus – Med” was born from the meeting between Interxion and the Calanques National Park as part of the Entrepreneurs for the Planet initiative, before being joined by Schneider Electric France and EcoAct.

“We are delighted to contribute to the implementation of a methodology that allows the certification of seagrass conservation and restoration projects. Nature-based solutions are an essential part of a sustainable future that combines net zero emissions, equity and environmental preservation. “

 Roman de Rafael, Head of Project Development, Nature-Based Solutions, EcoAct. 

EcoAct is excited to be part of this new methodology and pilot project. As a nature-based solution that honours ‘blue carbon’, it opens up much-needed new prospects for achieving the global objective of net zero emissions set by the Paris Agreement.

We hope that this Prométhée – Med research project is the first of many and that this new methodology provides a robust solution to mitigate climate change.

The methodology will be submitted for validation by the Directorate General of Energy and Climate (DGEC) of the Ministry of Ecological and Solidarity Transition (MTES) under the Low Carbon Label scheme  with the results expected to be released in early 2022.

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