November 10, 2022

Pew Charitable Trust commits to mapping seagrass in Indian Ocean

News Source: Philanthropy News Digest

Pew Charitable Trust has announced a commitment to a collaborative effort that will map seagrass in the Indian Ocean with field verification in specific countries.

Working with the International Union for Conservation of NatureMinderoo FoundationOceankind, and Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Vibrant Oceans Initiative, the partners will provide technical and financial support to develop a standardized map of seagrass habitats across the Indian Ocean by 2025 and bolster regional capacity building and locally led, in-country field verification in several nations across the western Indian Ocean.

According to Pew, seagrass is essential to support global marine biodiversity, water filtration, and shoreline defense. The addition of seagrass to climate response policies has been hindered by a lack of standardized data regarding seagrass coverage. Only about 20 percent of global seagrass has been mapped, according to scientific estimates, and in areas such as the Indian Ocean the figure is far lower. Cloud computing technology and higher resolution images from satellites deployed alongside in-country field verification and capacity building are paving the way for new mapping initiatives.

“Seagrass is a critical ecosystem for biodiversity, people, and climate,” said Simon Reddy, director of Pew’s protecting coastal wetlands and coral reefs project. “Mapping seagrass is a fundamental step in recognizing the benefits that can be included within climate strategies such as nationally determined contributions to the Paris Agreement.”

(Photo credit: Getty Images/tswinner)