The importance of Seagrass

Seagrass meadows play an important role in coastal ecosystems and the global climate, being highly biodiverse ecosystems providing habitat to a wide range of fauna. Seagrass is also an efficient carbon sequestrator and stores up to 18% of the world’s oceanic carbon. Seagrass meadows slow down wave action and currents in coastal systems, thereby limiting the movement of sediments. Their root and rhizome network, stabilizes sediments and reduces erosion along coastlines. They also provide protection to juvenile coral reef fish and other wild life. 

Other benefits seagrass brings to coastal ecosystems is the filtration of pollutants from seawater, and enhancement of biodiversity and fisheries. Seagrass meadows are an important food source for green sea turtles.

Seagrass pilot application in Addu

Seagrass meadows are present along coastlines and in lagoons on the Addu City Atoll, including part of the areas to be reclaimed. However, seagrass relocation or rehabilitation have the potential to mitigate part of the impact on seagrass ecosystems.

Therefore, marine ecologists have started a pilot to study whether seagrass relocation could support the conservation of seagrass within the project footprint. This seagrass relocation initiative started on the 1st of March, a date which is declared by the United Nations as World Seagrass Day to raise awareness about seagrass and its importance in marine ecosystems.

Pristine seagrass meadows at Maradhoo 


Donor seagrass will be sourced from Maradhoo area, where the meadows mainly consist of Thalassia hemprichii, also known as “turtle grass”. These species commonly have slow growth rates and take multiple years to grow into highly biodiverse seagrass habitats.

Together with local stakeholders and volunteers, blocks of turtle grass (called “sods”) have been excavated by hand with spades. The sods have been kept wet throughout transportation to safe zones to prevent desiccation from exposure to air and sun. The sods have been transported to areas where seagrass gets the opportunity to re-establish itself, away from human impact. The areas are identified through satellite imagery, field investigations and in collaboration with local authorities and stakeholders. 

The success of the seagrass relocation initiative will be monitored throughout at least one year. If the initiative appears successful, it carries high potential for future seagrass restoration initiatives on coastal development projects in the Maldives.


For more insights on the seagrass pilot please checkout news item : Seagrass pilot in Addu - Addu Development Project