The plant that keeps on giving.
Seagrass is one of the most valuable and biodiverse habitats on the planet and is one of the few habitats that provide multiple benefits to the environment.
How this wonder-plant supports us and our environment:
A haven for biodiversity
Seagrass meadows allow biodiversity to flourish. A single hectare can support 80,000 fish and 100 million small invertebrates. The underwater meadows are also a home for rare and endangered species, like seahorses and stalked jellyfish, allowing them to shelter and thrive.
A carbon store for the future
Seagrass meadows absorb and store vast amounts of carbon. They outperform other plants, even absorbing carbon up to 35x more efficiently than tropical rainforests. Their potential for carbon capture is incredible; despite only covering 0.2% of the seabed, they store 10% of the Ocean’s carbon.
A defence for our coastline
Where seagrass meadows are present and healthy, they can prevent the erosion of our coasts, by anchoring sediments on the seabed.
A support system for our fisheries
Seagrass meadows provide nurseries for commercially important fish, ensuring food security and supporting local economies. Healthier meadows create healthier fish stocks, which in turn creates a better economy for local fishing communities.
A tool to remove nitrogen
Seagrass meadows are very efficient nitrogen strippers, removing chemical elements that cause harmful algal blooms that have negative influence on human and animal health.
Benefits for the local community
Seagrass meadows can enhance the beauty of coastal areas and contribute to the cultural and recreational identity of local communities. Many people value the natural beauty and tranquillity of these ecosystems. Local communities can benefit from sustainable seagrass management practices, such as seagrass conservation, responsible fishing, and eco-tourism, which can contribute to long-term resource availability and economic stability.
Since the 1930’s, up to 90% of seagrass beds have been lost, largely through physical disturbance, pollution, and disease. When seagrass meadows are damaged or degraded, they capture less carbon and release significant amounts of greenhouse gases that might have been stored for thousands of years otherwise.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimated in 2014 that seagrasses are declining by 7% a year globally. This estimate makes it the fastest disappearing habitat on the planet. In the UK alone, we are losing around 500 hectares of seagrass meadows every year.
The biggest issues facing these important habitats come from human impacts, due to physical disturbances such as boats anchoring and destructive fishing activity, as well as degradation of water quality due to agricultural run-off.
One of the key issues is that boat users and communities do not know where the underwater meadows are, therefore do not realise the harm being done.
Another challenge is providing low-impact alternatives to anchoring in seagrass meadows.
Help us create Blue Meadows
If you’d like to find out more about seagrass, or our protection and restoration work, we would love to hear from you.