This 18 month project, the very first of its kind in Sri Lanka, aims to gain an in-depth understanding of and develop a seagrass species composition map with information of the areas of each species composition at the Vidattaltivu Nature Reserve (VNR) with the long-term goal of establishing the island’s first blue carbon credit project.
Co-funded by the Blue Marine Foundation, this ambitious project comes at a very timely moment, with Sri Lanka undergoing its worse economic crisis since independence in 1948. With the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) proposing to the Sri Lankan government to make use of debt-for-nature swaps – which would allow a portion of the government’s large debt burden to be forgiven in exchange for the implementation of environmental policies or funding of conservation programmes – projects such as this could be the very first step towards moving towards a blue green economy.
Project objectives include;
- To identify the distribution and species composition of seagrasses within VNR
- To map the seagrass extent of VNR using drone technology and evaluate specific challenges
- To prepare the herbarium sheets and submit them to the National Herbarium
- To estimate the above and below ground carbon storage in each species composition group through laboratory analysis
- To assess total potential carbon stock of VNR and to identify possible hotspots of high carbon storage
- To support blue carbon stock to national climate change initiatives by providing data that will help fill in gaps in available data on a national and global scale