Macaronesian rhodolith beds: factories of carbon sequestration MACRODO (2020 call)

Budget: 39,958.72 EUR
Coordinator: Asociación Biodiversidad Atlántica y Sostenibilidad

During the Best Regional Ecosystem profiling process, local stakeholders perceived ‘Habitat destruction and fragmentation’, resulting from intensive human actions, particularly urban development, and tourism activities, as one of the major threats and pressures over marine biodiversity in the Macaronesia. Hence, they ranked many priorities where MACRODO will contribute. More specifically:

1. This project will certainly boost the valorization of rhodolith bottoms, a paramount marine habitat across Macaronesia, by assessing their capacity to store Carbon (Blue Carbon sequestration), a key ecosystem service under climate change. Such knowledge can be relevant to promote protection of rhodoliths in national and regional conservation frameworks. Moreover the evaluation of BC will improve the scarce baseline data of marine ecosystem services in the region, if we compare to terrestrial environments. New knowledge may lead to redrawing the already established KBAs, or creating new ones.

2. In addition, MACRODO will assess the sensibility of Macaronesian rhodolith beds to two human-mediated disturbances: light depravation and nutrient enrichment. Such knowledge is basic to strength and design regional marine conservation strategies and recovery policies on this marine habitat.

3. Because biodiversity conservation necessarily involves knowledge and understanding by the civil society about their natural heritage, MACRODO aims to disseminate and communicate with stakeholders and policy/decision makers of the Canary Islands to increase their engagement, so they will be more aware about the values and pressures of rhodolith beds, particularly to reach possible solutions in areas in where interactions between rhodoliths and human activities are intense such as the creation of micro-reserves.