How Seychelles ocean plants could help tackle climate change
They account for 10% of the ocean's total burial of carbon, despite covering less than 0.2% of the ocean floor, a report in the scientific journal Nature Geoscience said. Samples from its seagrasses and mangroves are being analysed to calculate how much carbon they store over time. Such carbon held in coastal wetlands and their sediment is referred to as "blue carbon" - as opposed to "green carbon" held in plants on land. "We would like to understand how much carbon was stored in the seagrass over the last few years, in order to inform the government who want to determine how much carbon content is in those seagrass around the Seychelles," says Jerome Harlay, a lead environmental scientist on the project. How much carbon they can remove from the atmosphere, compared to what our human activity is adding. Knowing what its true blue carbon stocks are, Seychelles will be able to trade it with other countries wanting to offset their emissions. Carbon trading can be one among several economic benefits of protecting the seagrass, according to the principal secretary of Seychelles Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment, Denis Matatiken. Back at the coastal community, Mr Renaud sees protection of the seagrasses and employing blue carbon stocks as only benefit: "If we look at the carbon potential of the seagrass in our area, with 50 hectares or so, we could offset the money the hotel project would've brought to the economy." While the Seychelles has a way to go to truly make use of its blue carbon stocks, it is offering a solution to reduce global warming that others can follow.