Underwater forests: Why it’s vital we protect our sea meadows

Picture4 Underwater forests: Why it's vital we protect our sea meadows
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A shoal of fish swimming over seagrass at the Saya de Malha bank within the Mascarene plateau. Human activity contributes to the equivalent of a soccer field of seagrasses being destroyed every 30 minutes around the world, according to the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP). Seagrasses are a vital part of ocean ecosystems and can store twice as much C02 as forests. Research has been carried out on these plants to further understand the problem and their potential. Hundreds of miles from the nearest shore, ribbon-like fronds flutter in the ocean currents sweeping across an underwater mountain plateau the size of Switzerland. A remote-powered camera glides through the sunlit, turquoise waters of this corner of the western Indian Ocean, capturing rare footage of what scientists believe is the world’s largest seagrass meadow. Human activity is helping destroy the equivalent of a soccer field of these seagrasses every 30 minutes around the world, according to the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP). And scientists are now racing to take stock of what remains. “There are a lot of unknowns — even things as simple as how much seagrass we have,” said Oxford University earth observation scientist Gwilym Rowlands, who is helping the Seychelles […]

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