Seagrass ecosystems enhance life for Pacific Islanders

A new paper by McKenzie et al. investigates the importance of seagrass ecosystems for communities in Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs).

The research team grouped PICTs by geographic region, and ethnic and cultural origins, namely Melanesian, Micronesian and Polynesian, and examined the natural goods and benefits provided by seagrass ecosystems to people’s quality of life. The study covers a wide variety of contributions, including fisheries, carbon sequestration, coastal protection, and aesthetic and cultural aspects.

The study found that the number of contributions is higher in Melanesian PICTs, where seagrass ecosystems are more widespread and diverse, and where human settlements are older. Although seagrass ecosystems provide essential contributions across all PICTs, Melanesia is shown to have stronger cultural connections to seagrass, developed over a longer time.

The study concludes that these cultural connections are a key force behind Pacific communities’ stewardship efforts towards seagrass, and recommends capitalizing on them to influence policy and conserve seagrass ecosystems in PICTs.

The full article is available here.

McKenzie, L. et al. (2021). Seagrass ecosystem contributions to people’s quality of life in the Pacific Island Countries and Territories. Marine Pollution Bulletin 167