As global warming and climate regulation are receiving increasing attention, the Ocean Conservation Administration (OCA) in recent years has been conducting monitoring surveys, conservation and restoration of marine ecosystems such as seagrass beds, mangroves, salt marshes and coral reefs, which have strong carbon sink functions, in order to achieve the 2050 net zero carbon emissions target.
According to OCA, the coral reef ecosystems are one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems and the corals themselves and the exoskeletons of the huge microscopic biota they support are also among the densest for carbon fixation in the ocean. In order to understand the growth status of coral reefs in Taiwan, monitoring surveys were conducted in 2021, which showed that the coral colonies in the eastern coast and the Kenting area were relatively the healthiest, with 33 healthy or stable sites in Taiwan, but there were still 7 dysfunctional sites that needed enhanced maintenance. In recent years, OCA has also supported local organizations to conduct civic science, remove coral reef mulching and coral restoration through the "Ocean Conservation Protection Program" to promote community participation and practice ocean conservation actions and will continue to conduct coral monitoring surveys to keep track of the annual status and long-term changes of corals in Taiwan's surrounding waters.
In addition to the coral monitoring survey and conservation, OCA has been taking stock of the distribution and area of important carbon sink ecosystems (mangroves, seagrass beds and salt marshes) along the coast of Taiwan since 2019. In order to achieve the 2050 net zero emissions target, the carbon sink assessment of these three ecosystems is expected to be completed this year (2022), and the seagrass transplantation trial in Penghu area will be started at the same time and it is expected that the seagrass restoration will improve the marine habitat environment and increase the contribution of marine carbon sink.
Under the threat of global climate change, the importance of ocean carbon fixation is being emphasized and coastal ecosystems such as mangroves, seagrass beds and salt marshes hold great potential for carbon sequestration. According to the survey conducted by OCA since 2019, the area of mangroves in Taiwan is about 680.7 hectares, seagrass beds about 25.3 hectares and salt marshes about 187.39 hectares. By continuously investigating the carbon absorption and storage of these three ecosystems, as well as soil greenhouse gas emissions, a preliminary understanding of the carbon sinks of Taiwan's mangroves, seagrass beds and salt marshes will be available by the end of this year (2022) to facilitate the pathway planning of the net zero carbon emissions target.
Seagrass beds play an important role in regulating the marine environment, purifying seawater, providing hiding places for marine organisms and providing a biodiversity-rich marine habitat environment and even help to capture plastic particles, which is also important for coastal social and economic stability. This year(2022), OCA is cooperating with the Fisheries Research Institute, Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan in the waters of Chixiwan, Penghu. to conduct a 50-square-meter trial of planting sea grasses such as salt grass, single-vein dicotyledonous grass and licorice in the sandy waters around the coral reefs that was planted and rehabilitated last year (2021) and will continue to monitor the ecological changes and will expand the area of sea grass restoration if the growth condition is good.
OCA further said that people can also respond to energy saving and carbon reduction actions in their daily lives, such as taking public transportation more often, avoiding the use of disposable plastic packaging, making recycling at any time, reducing the generation of garbage and preventing garbage from drifting into the ocean to protect the ocean, the earth and our health!
Responsible Authority and Spokesperson: Wu Long-Jing, OCA Deputy Director-General
Contact number: 07-3383202 or 0919-613-467
Date of issue: June 8, 2022