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July 2021- Seagrass project in Marbella.

ProDunas Marbella has spent more than 18 years tirelessly fighting for the protection of the coastal ecosystems. This has led us to start developing an ambitious project to include the biodiversity of the marine environment. In July 2021 we will start the pioneering project, working with the University of Malaga to monitor and study the Seagrass meadows on the Marbella (Malaga) coast with a view to planning their restoration and conservation.

Marine ecosystems are in emergency situations globally because of human activity. This has caused, along with other damage, a drastic decrease in biological resources in the oceans. In Marbella, specifically, urban expansion along its coast has left a huge scar on both the interior and the coast, leaving very few areas exempt from human impact.

The objective of this project is to ensure the perpetuation of the Seagrass meadows on the Marbella coastline. They are a key element in the attenuation of the erosive forces of the sea which cause the breakdown of the dune dynamics and, of course, they are promotors of biodiversity.

The project will be divided into two phases:

Phase 1. Conservation and study of existing grasslands

  • Mapping and statistical identification of the parameters of the grasslands’ stands;
  • Monitoring the status and development of existing grasslands;
  • Study of the waters around the meadows.

Phase 2. Restoration / reforestation and monitoring of Seagrass meadows

Seagrass meadows are self-sustaining needing no human intervention, so if society cares for and conserves this habitat, it could benefit for free from the goods and services the meadows generate.

Seagrass meadows contribute to sustaining life in the Mediterranean and along the coastline

  • They support a diverse community of organisms by producing biomass. These are incorporated into the food chain of many ecosystems in the Mediterranean, thus maintaining the great biodiversity of this sea;
  • They support and shelter numerous animal and plant species in the meadows themselves, and are therefore biodiversity heavens.
  • They protect and preserve the beaches and the coastline by weakening the force of the waves, and they generate high quality sand from the breakup of the shells of the innumerable marine organisms that live in the meadows.

These meadows, if left alone, have an impact on the socio-economic development of the area because:

  • They generate direct and indirect employment; they diversify what can be offered to tourists by recreational companies and businesses associated with the leisure activities on the coast (nautical, sports or recreation);
  • They strengthen sun and sea tourism by offering clear, safe swimming water;
  • They favour the development of fishing resources, harbouring a large number of commercial species in different phases of their life cycles. This impacts on the local fishing industry;
  • Economic resources saved on this coastline can be used by Marbella Town Hall and other Administration in other areas.

Added to these benefits, as the grasslands sequester CO², local, regional and / or national communities that maintain coastal development models that do not damage the existence of these ecosystems could benefit economically from them in the global market for CO² sequestration.

Since we are aware that Posidonia oceanica meadows exist on the Malaga coast, we want to focus this project on the identification, sampling, monitoring and studying of possible Seagrass meadows (Posidonia oceanica, Zostera noltii and Cymodocea nodosa) currently located in Artola, where the important Natural Monument “Dunas de Artola” can be seen. Apart from the importance of a healthy meadow which enhances water quality and promoting sedimentary balance etc., we want to enhance biodiversity in order to create a Marine Reserve in the not too distant future.

We are also backing the installation of multifunctional artificial reefs to help counteract the negative effects of storms and / or currents. This project has been part of our proposals since 2018 and we are in close collaboration with MITECO, the EU and other participating organisations. These reefs would form a protective barrier for the Seagrass meadows.

At ProDunas Marbella we are fully aware of the work that lies ahead. It will take a long time and a lot of patience to develop it, but we are convinced that the result of this project is essential to guarantee the survival of our ecosystems.

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Asociación ProDunas Marbella

The Association works tirelessly for the defence and preservation of the unique ecosystems that survive in the natural sand dune environments in the Province of Málaga; promotes the protection of native flora and small wildlife; promotes recovery, rehabilitation and conservation of interesting biodiversity of sand dunes areas in the municipality of Marbella.