Climate Wise is part of a public-private initiative focussing on restoring seagrass and the micro-ecosystem around Bermuda to its former state. Seagrass ecosystems can sequester significant amounts of carbon and store it as organic carbon in sediment for long periods, making them one of the most significant natural carbon sinks globally. Compared to terrestrial forests, seagrasses can store up to twice as much carbon per hectare.
Human activity, including dredging, shoreline development, anchoring, and boat propellers, has caused seagrass beds in Bermuda to be critically endangered. Between 1997 and 2004, almost half of Bermuda’s offshore seagrass beds declined. Another culprit has contributed towards further declines in recent years: the green turtle. A lack of predators in the ecosystem due to the overfishing of sharks has resulted in an imbalance, resulting in the green turtle overgrazing on seagrass beds.
The Bermuda Government’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources has designed cages to protect seagrass as it recovers. By caging and fencing patches of seagrass, they are protected from grazing by green turtles and allowed to grow. The turtles can access part of the seagrass, but not enough to hinder its growth. This method allows the seagrass to flower and produce seeds which are eventually distributed to increase the seagrass coverage. The rollout of 354 cages in our Bermuda Seagrass Project is planned, bringing the total area protected to 19,000m2.
There are numerous benefits from such restoration, including the creation of a carbon sequestration project, providing critical habitat for wildlife, providing a unique educational experience, creation of a unique tourism opportunity, and a test case for re-growth of seagrass and re-population of a micro-climate. If you want to find out more, check out our article on The Bermuda Seagrass Project and Blue Carbon.
We are grateful for the support of Sail GP, BF&M Insurance, PwC Bermuda, and other donors.