Happy World Wetlands Day! Protecting and enhancing wetlands biodiversity on Seychelles beautiful islands is one of our missions.
Wetlands are some of Earth’s most biodiverse and productive ecosystems, providing rich habitat and acting as wildlife nurseries, filtering nutrients and pollutants, preventing erosion, offering storm and flood protection and encouraging nature recreation. Swamps you say? But Wetlands are so much more!
Wetlands are places where the land is covered by water, either salt, fresh or somewhere in between. Wetlands include lakes and rivers, underground aquifers, swamps and marshes, wet grasslands, peatlands, oases, estuaries, deltas and tidal flats, mangroves and other coastal areas, coral reefs, and all human-made sites such as fish ponds, rice paddies, reservoirs and salt pans.
Seychelles is rich in many types of Wetland, from the high altitude freshwater wetlands recognized under the Ramsar Convention right through to our coral reefs and the connected patchwork of systems in between.
Seagrass meadows are abundant yet poorly studied wetland habitats in Seychelles. Seagrasses are flowering aquatic plants that grow and spread their pollen and seeds underwater in marine environments. Seagrass meadows are biodiverse habitats, providing important grazing grounds for Dugong, and for Green Turtles and Hawksbill Turtles, both of which nest in Seychelles. They offer protected nursery environments for many of our important fish species and macroinvertebrates. They offer foraging and staging opportunities for migratory shorebirds, and help reduce the impacts of climate change by acting as carbon sinks.
Under the GOS-UNDP-GEF Outer Islands Project, an ICS Expedition Team recently visited Poivre to survey its seagrass communities and collect baseline data. Using a new world’s best practice protocol, standardized across the Outer Islands, they made some encouraging new discoveries. This data will contribute to submissions to Seychelles’ proposed Marine Spatial Plan, recognising the importance of protecting and preserving these fascinating communities into the future.