Save seagrass, urges scientist
The destruction of seagrass meadows like those found in Mangles Bay should attract opposition from environmentalists similar to deforestation protests, Edith Cowan University research fellow Oscar Serrano has told the Telegraph.
Scientists have advocated the protection of seagrass as a crucial part of the fight against global warming because seagrass meadows are 35 times more efficient at sequestering carbon dioxide than rainforests.
About 80 per cent of Cockburn Sound’s seagrass has been lost to coastal development and another 5ha of Mangles Bay’s seagrass is expected to be destroyed in the construction of the controversial marina.
Mangles Bay Marina proponents, LandCorp and Cedar Woods, have committed to replanting and establishing twice the amount of the bay’s seagrass which is lost to the development.
Dr Serrano said forests, while more visible, were not as effective in capturing and storing carbon as coastal ecosystems which had been accumulating carbon dioxide for thousands of years.
He said the carbon dioxide stored by seagrass in the coastal sediments was released back into the atmosphere when the plants were destroyed or disturbed in coastal developments. “All the work the seagrass has been doing for millennia is completely lost,” he said.
He said replanted seagrass would take five to 10 years to recover and warned that replanting seagrass by seeds or roots had a low success rate.
Dr Serrano said not enough was being done to protect WA’s coastal ecosystems which provide a “far larger benefit than we can imagine”.
“People who love nature and scientists should communicate to politicians and policy makers to make them realise these ecosystems are very important and, if we lose them, the loss will be much bigger than the benefits of a marina,” he said.