M3C: Madeira Maerl Mapping & Conservation (2020 call)

Budget: 39,873.63 EUR
Coordinator: Associação Madeirense para a Conservação Marinha

The main aim is to create a baseline for the conservation of maerl habitats in Madeira, by assessing its extent, distribution and biological structure. This represents a direct contribution to the main objective of LIFE4BEST, as the set of proposed activities will ultimately promote the conservation of biodiversity and maintenance of the ecosystem services provided by rhodolith beds.

The first specific objective of the project, the mapping of the rhodolith beds occurring in the Marine Protected Areas of Madeira and Porto Santo, will reveal an existing but unknown habitat, a first step to describe its magnitude and provide a geographical referential to evaluate the biodiversity within.

The second specific objective is the assessment of the biodiversity associated with these habitats, an action that is expected to dramatically widen the knowledge about the fauna and flora species that inhabit these areas. This knowledge is instrumental to promote and implement adequate conservation measures and the sustainability of all ecosystem services dependent on biodiversity.

The third specific objective of the project, the assessment of the carbon stocks present in the maerl beds, is deemed very important in the context of climate change mitigation, given the increasingly perceived role these organic and inorganic carbon deposits have in the oceanic carbon cycle, also meeting a LIFE4BEST objective.

Finally, the dissemination activities, the citizen science program and the close partnerships established are clear contributions to enable, empower and strengthen local stakeholders that are expected to engage in sustained long-term conservation actions. Taken altogether, this project’s objectives and actions have the potential to increase the visibility of Madeira region as a demonstrator of a participated, ecosystem-based conservation program, prepared for a sustained continuity.