Seagrasses and mangroves both play a huge role in blue carbon sequestration. These two ecosystems are however threatened in Madagascar, like in most of the Indian Ocean countries. Today, if mangroves are likely well documented, very few literatures talk about seagrass. Their impact on carbon sequestration as well as their geographical distribution have never been assessed in Madagascar.
This project is the beginning of a new research topic in Madagascar in terms of Blue carbon and seagrass ecosystem and it is a long-term initiative to be undertaken under three phases, each comprising of specific activities, as follows:
- Urgent: A training workshop is needed: (i) to understand the challenges, (ii) to know how to handle the problems in terms of strategy and methodology, (iii) followed by some field and lab works to confirm the skills received.
- Medium-term: A deep research (PhD) project is already written to assess and monitoring the actual situation of seagrass and the potentiality of carbon sequestration in Madagascar. The same should be programmed, if not yet done, in the other countries of the IO.
- Long-term: After collecting all requested data and needed information, policy makers would be able to proceed to updates of the governance and thus, reinforce conservation and restoration strategies.
The one week interdisciplinary training workshop will primarily be lecture-based, including interactive discussions, country presentations, exercises and simulations. Lectures and field demonstration, including coring will be given by experts in Blue Carbon research from CSIRO. Participants from Member States will also be requested to provide a 10-15 minutes presentation on their respective country experience on Blue carbon and Blue Economy. They will also be able to explore ways of collecting blue carbon related data, there will be some field work which aims at practicing what were learned during the theoretical lectures. Around Toliara (the workshop venue), there are 5 different seagrass and mangrove.
The main objectives of the project are:
- To organize and realize an intensive one-week interdisciplinary training workshop program about marine ecosystems related to blue carbon.
- To explore ways of collecting blue carbon related data. There are 5 different seagrass and mangrove areas around Toliara, which is particularly interesting either for the workshop and the perspective research project.
- To start a PhD research on the governance of resources, protection and conservation. It concerns biomass mapping, diversity and geographical distribution of seagrass ecosystem, to learn about the amount of carbon sequestrated by seagrass beds in Madagascar and to assess the extent of which seagrass ecosystems in Madagascar contribute to climate change mitigation.