Seagrass meadows restoration in Mozambique

Nairobi Convention
Published: 22 December 2021
Last edited: 22 December 2021
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Summary

Seagrass meadows provide many ecosystem services, from fish juveniles nursery, to feeding ground for dugongs and sea turtles, coastal erosion mitigation and carbon sink. 

Seagrass meadows are subjects to degradation like many other natural ecosystems. Our research team tested several seagrass restoration methodologies. Some of them have been successful. We involved local communities in the restoration work, to raise awareness on the importance of seagrass, create ownership and reflect about the threats to seagrasses, as well as on the risks of reducing their importance for their livelihoods that depend on wealthy seagrass meadows.

From 2017 to 2020, we conducted trainings on restoration methods, revisited the causes of degradation and assessed the restoration piloted in three different sites. Seagrass beds’ main drivers of degradation are cyclones, sand accretion, trampling and sedimentation from flooding, as well as seagrass uproot for clams collection.

Classifications

Region
East and South Africa
Scale of implementation
Local
Ecosystem
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Seagrass
Theme
Adaptation
Disaster risk reduction
Ecosystem services
Erosion prevention
Fisheries and aquaculture
Habitat fragmentation and degradation
Local actors
Mitigation
Restoration
Science and research
Sustainable livelihoods
Challenges
Tropical cyclones / Typhoons
Erosion
Ecosystem loss
Unsustainable harvesting incl. Overfishing
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Lack of food security
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 2 – Zero hunger
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 14 – Life below water
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 5: Habitat loss halved or reduced
Target 6: Sustainable management of aquatic living resources
Target 10: Ecosystems vulnerable to climate change
Target 14: Ecosystem services
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge

Location

Maputo, Mozambique
Inhambane, Inhambane, Mozambique

Challenges

In Mozambique, like in the wider Western Indian Ocean region, specific data on this ecosystem is still quite scarce.

Seagrasses meadows are degraded by recurrent cyclones and related flooding that prompted sedimentation, exploitation of clams by means of uproot and death of seagrass, and trampling.

Beneficiaries

  • Local communities from both Maputo Bay and Inhambane Bay
  • Fisheries Community Council
  • A-TANYi - Community Conservation Association of Inhaca Island
  • NGOs (Ocean Revolution Mozambique, KUWUKA JDA-Environmental advocacy)
  • Students
  • Government / munincipality

How do the building blocks interact?

The successful restoration methodology was key for restoring degraded seagrass beds, but it was only the technical component. The social scientists have a major role in this work, as they help with engaging the communities, to eventually foster ownership, reflected in the formation of the A-TANYI association. By creating their own entity, the community members can interact with other stakeholders. They take care of the seagrass meadows, apply best practices and raise awareness. It shows a cultural change in the society.

Impacts

  • Nearly 1.5 ha mostly restored of the Cymodocea serrulata seagrass meadows (mostly in Inhaca but includes also Inhambane). Other seagrass species (Halodule uninervis and Thalassia hemprichii) were restored.
  • Seagrass restoration methodologies tested and documented with three methodologies: sediment method (sod), sediment free methods (rod - as explained in Building Block 1) and finger method. The sod method corresponds to clod of seagrasses that are detached from a donor bed by means of a shovel or a pvc/polythene tube
  • Data collected on species and environmental parameters
  • 3 post-graduate students trained
  • Several communities were involved in the restoration work, which raised their awareness on the importance of seagrass.

Story

All of a sudden, I see squares in google maps. I wonder, but these are the result of seagrass restoration that have been going on since 2019 at Inhaca Island, east of Maputo Bay.  Students were at the forefront of this initiative but once we were sure about the most successful restoration techniques, we contacted the community members, mostly women. The latter with the support of NGO KUWUKA and a social-scientist at UEM started engaging communities in deep refletions, sensitization and capacity assessment to engage in a voluntary work that would culminate being the best advocates of the seagrass restoration at Inhaca. People wonder about this initiative that is emerging. A-TANYI, the community association was created. Fotos and videos out of this place shows thriving seagrass meadows, with an already increasing fauna! 

Contributed by

salomao.bandeira4_41373's picture

Salomao Bandeira Universidade Eduardo Mondlane