Restoring Marine Forests In Portugal

by | Jul 1, 2022 | Uncategorized

Written by Rebecca Woolford 

Forgotten Marine Forests That Help Fight Climate Change

Globally marine forests along coastlines absorb 600 million tonnes of carbon a year.

Not only do these marine forests draw down and lock away carbon; they improve water quality and support all sorts of marine life.

Working with our environmental partner Mossy Earthwe’re restoring Portugal’s lost, forgotten (and incredibly important) Kelp forests. By building a kelp nursery and proving an innovative technique called ‘green gravel’ – we’re making large-scale marine reforestation possible.

With every Rock My World booking a small contribution supports this project and others. You can find out more here. 

Below are some images to illustrate the wealth of species a healthy kelp forest can support.

Kelp Grows 30 Times Faster Than Trees

Although native tree planting is positive and necessary work. Kelp forests grow as fast as two feet a day, which means it absorbs a huge amount of carbon through photosynthesis.

Seaweed’s fast growth rate and ability to absorb vast amounts of carbon dioxide make it a great ally in face of climate change.


Why Are We Restoring Seaweed In Portugal?

Unlike the tragic loss of the Amazon rainforest which tends to receive a lot of attention, marine forests tend to go unnoticed. This may be due to the fact that the underwater world is out of sight and out of mind. It’s deterioration hidden under the waves. 

It’s an undisputed fact that these seaweed forests are in sharp decline. Resulting in a loss of important natural services.  

The need for action in Portugal caught our attention most because there are kelp species here that are unique and are at risk of being lost forever.

“When marine forests are lost it’s no easy task to bring them back because restoration methods usually involve diving, which quickly becomes complex, time-consuming and expensive. Or at least that was the case until the technique, called green gravel came along.”

 Tiago, Mossy Earth Biologist

What Does The Project Look Like?

Kelp forests are big seaweeds with long ribbons that grow along coastlines. They are among the most productive and richest wildlife places on Earth. The coastal areas where sunlight penetrates are where they grow.

The Green Gravel Technique:

  • In the lab kelp is grown attached to small pieces of gravel under ideal conditions
  • The gravel is dropped from a boat and sinks to the ocean floor at a suitable location
  • The kelp individuals grow, reproduce and spread across the area

The first step for these talented biologists was to increase the production of green gravel and for that, the system in the lab allows them to increase the production of Kelp by 10 times!

Below is a photo of one of the kelp individuals that is now thriving on the seafloor as a result of the work in this lab.

Charles Darwin was one of the first people to recognise just how important kelp forests are for our oceans, comparing them in diversity to rainforests.”

– Sir David Attenborough

Thank you to our amazing clients who are continuing to make this important marine project in Portugal possible by choosing Rock My World. Discover more about the Climate Hero projects here.