Some people plant Posidonia to save the Mediterranean. Here’s how to do it

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Protecting Posidonia, the “green lung” of the Mediterranean, is the duty of all who go to sea, including sailors. But in Italy there is an organization, One Ocean Foundation, which has been setting up a specific project since 2023 to restore seagrass beds of this precious marine plant.

Posidonia oceanica is an extremely important marine plant for the health of the Mediterranean Sea, because-in addition to allowing the sea to oxygenate and protect coastlines from erosion-it sequesters CO2 from the atmosphere and is an important biodiversity hotspot. Unfortunately, this is a very fragile species that grows slowly and is increasingly threatened by pollution, climate change, trawling and wild anchoring.

However, there are those in Italy at least who, in addition to worrying about the fate of this “green lung,” are making concrete efforts to safeguard it. It is the of One Ocean Foundation (www.1ocean.org), an entity that combines a strong scientific focus with environmental education, awareness and activism projects.

“Blue Forest” project: aim to restore Posidonia meadows

Among One Ocean Foundation’s initiatives is “Blue Forest,” an international project to protect and restore underwater forests, including Posidonia meadows. Supported by a team of partners and experts including researchers from the University of Genoa and technical dive operators from the International School for Scientific Diving, the “Blue Forest” project has begun the first marine reforestation operations in the Mediterranean Sea starting in 2023.

The activity has been concentrated in Liguria, in the Marine Protected Area of Bergeggi Island and Portofino Area, respectively, where to date 200 square meters of Posidonia oceanica seagrass beds have been restored and a total of more than 4,000 cuttings planted, selected from those found naturally eradicated on the seabed, thus giving them a new life. But restoration operations in recent months scheduled to take place in the coming months will also affect other regions of our peninsula, including Sardinia and Apulia, where degraded grasslands suitable for reforestation have been highlighted.

By protecting seagrass, we protect ourselves

In its environmental preservation activities, One Ocean Foundation seeks to involve and raise awareness not only of those who go to sea, boaters, sailors, fishermen and maritime operators, but also of ordinary people, especially young people. Just for the latter, the Foundation recently published has produced an illustrated manual on the subject, of Posidonia in which it explains to young children what this marine plant is and looks like, where it lives, what it is threatened by, and why it is important to protect it. There is also no shortage for One Ocean Foundation of educational activities organized directly in schools throughout Italy and outreach initiatives involving the entire community.

For those who want to learn more about the work of One Ocean Foundation a good opportunity is One Ocean Week Milan 2024. The event-now in its 3rd year-this year will take place from June 3 to June 9 at various locations in Milan with events, educational workshops and other activities open to the public. On this occasion, the Foundation will launch an international Ocean Foresting campaign dedicated precisely to accelerating the initiation of marine conservation and reforestation projects around the world through an international network of high-level collaborations. You can find out more about the week’s activities on the dedicated web page.

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