Restoring our marine environment to tackle Climate Change

Our oceans and seas play an indispensable role in climate change mitigation and adaptation. However, deterioration of the marine and coastal environment is reducing its capacity to do so.

A promising way to improve this capacity is by implementing measures that restore the natural capacity of the environment to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Restoring our marine environment and improving its biodiversity is imperative if we want to maintain all the ecosystem services it has to offer.

In this webinar, we looked at nature restoration projects in two Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas and learned how different environmental factors are inventoried and how natural conditions are restored across the Mediterranean. The webinar addressed the challenges and solutions of using nature restoration for Climate Change mitigation and adaptation.

The welcoming and introduction to the session were done by Stefania Petrosillo and Isa Vroom, Policy Officer and Policy intern at EUROPARC Federation, who framed the topic and presented the resources that EUROPARC Federation offers in regards of marine conservation, MPA management and policy.

Download the introduction to EUROPARC marine resources, by Isa Vroom.

The first case study was brought from the hand of Ines Mazarrasa, Researcher at the Environmental Hydraulics Insititute, IHCantabria, of the Universidad de Cantabria (Spain). and representative of the project, and focused on the actions taken in the framework of the project LIFE ADAPTABLUES: Adaptation to climate change through management and restoration of European estuarine ecosystems. This project aims to assess and quantify the ecosystem services present in estuarine communities, with emphasis in their function as carbon sinks, of three costal habitat types: saltmarshes, seagrass meadows and tidal flats. In its presentation, Ines stressed the risks that coastal communities are subject to due to the effects of Climate Change and how these habitats are of critical importance within Climate Change adaptation strategies.

Download the presentation by Ines Mazarrasa.

The second case study was presented by Lorenzo Merotto, Marine Biologist and technical scientist at Portofino Marine Protected Area (Italy), and focused on restoration actions of the intertidal zone carried out through different projects. To start with, Lorenzo commented on the importance of improving the health of marine ecosystems in order to increase their resilience and therefore their capacity to stand Climate Change effects. As examples of restoration, on the one hand, he presented the transplantation of young individuals of Cystoseira spp communities, a seaweed species that acts as habitat architect, taken place between Ligurian Sea and Adriatic sea in the framework of the project LIFE RocPop. On the other hand, he explained how the project ReLife is carrying out the reintroduction of young individuals of Patella ferruginea, a protected limpet species that counts with a complex life cycle, from the Sardinia region into the Ligurian sea.

Download the presentation by Lorenzo Merotto.