BLUEFORESTING: Climate Resilient Marine Forests for a Sustainable Future
The ocean provides vital ecosystems services, threatened by anthropogenic and climate pressures. Their undesirable impacts can be mitigated if ecosystem-based management, adaptive marine spatial planning, and habitat restoration strategies were implemented. BLUEFORESTING builds upon these approaches with the aim to provide climate change ready nature-based solutions (NBS) for successful sustainable management of the most iconic coastal habitats, Marine Seaweed Forests. Although threatened, they are biodiversity rich ecosystems, recognized as cost-effective NBS with potential to mitigate climate change effects. Their capacity to deliver a wide range of key ecosystem services and to support blue growth makes them natural blue infrastructures. Fostering healthy marine forests means promoting regional fisheries, recreational activities, and cultural traditions, but also fighting biodiversity loss and climate change. In this context, BLUEFORESTING will develop science-based guidance for preserving marine forest functions and services, by assessing baseline information (genetics, processes, functions, services and conditions), by identifying species diversity and sensitivity and climate refugia areas. BLUEFORESTING will develop models and will implement tools for vulnerability assessments by promoting the co-development of effective and climate ready NBS. Expected results are of paramount importance as scientific foundations to support future marine protection and reforestation actions in a cost-effective and sustainable way. BLUEFORESTING lines up with the EU Blue Growth agenda as it proposes sustainable ecosystem-based management actions that can help to proactively protect and increase the resilience of marine forests under climate change, guaranteeing the provision of associated services. BLUEFORESTING represent an excellent opportunity to prove how science based governance may promote sustainability of marine habitats and services. The established partnership will promote bilateral knowledge transfer and dissemination, strengthening international cooperation and cooperation in the sector, while increase value creation and sustainable growth in the Portuguese blue economy.