It may be common when thinking about plants to consider only plant life on land. Even though marine plants are not often visible in our everyday lives, their role in ensuring healthy eco-systems and a cooler planet is critical.
POPi partner SeaTrees, which is a project of the non-profit organization Sustainable Surf, works with community partners worldwide to dial in on the worth of marine plants (hence “Sea Trees”) to ensure that they continue to play a key role in sequestering carbon, providing barriers from storm surge and building livelihoods.
On the ground in southern California, this takes the shape of actions ranging from planting new kelp to working with urchin fishers. The region is home to one of world’s major kelp forests and it is threatened by an overpopulation of purple urchins. SeaTrees works with urchin fishers to remove urchins down to a healthy level, a partnership which both creates employment and gives kelp forests the opportunity to thrive.
In Indonesia, SeaTrees ensures that mangrove trees are replanted with local partners in the Biak Island region, whose estuaries are 75% deforested. Mangrove forests are known to sequester more carbon than mature tropical rainforests. Restoring them not only improves carbon capture, but also creates storm surge barriers for coastal communities as weather events become more severe.
As with the kelp work in California, mangrove replanting in Indonesia engages locals at the village level, creating employment with the planting, as well as with the steps to monitor to ensure that the plantings survive. By the end of 2021, SeaTrees, together with partner Eden Reforestation Projects, will have planted more than 700,000 mangrove trees. Since one mangrove tree is estimated to sequester 680 lbs (308 kgs) over its lifetime, SeaTrees’ work so far has the potential to sequester more than 215K tons of carbon!
SeaTrees describes their work as tapping into the “superpowers” of the ocean, which stores 90% of the carbon in the global carbon cycle. And while the carbon sinks alone are enough to celebrate their work, Preserve is thrilled to partner with SeaTrees for their dual focus of choosing projects that also build community engagement and employment.
Just like mangroves provide both barriers and carbon capture, Preserve’s support of SeaTrees also serves a double duty. In 2021, donations made through the POPi program not only supported local replanting of mangroves and kelp, but also the Cardamom REDD* Project in Cambodia which is a certified source of quality carbon credits that Preserve was able to use toward addressing 2020 emissions.
To date, Preserve contributions to SeaTrees have:
- Sequestered 701 tons of carbon, 368 of which went toward wiping out 52% of Preserve’s 2020 emissions from making and delivering products**
- Planted 2,804 mangrove trees***
- Restored 701 square feet of kelp forest along the California coast****
- We invite you to learn more about SeaTrees and their work worldwide here
*REDD stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation.
**Preserve’s 2020 footprint was 712.86 metric tons of carbon. Preserve bought pooled carbon credits through our partner Climate Neutral to offset 345 metric tons and offset the remainder (368 metric tons) with SeaTrees. After the footprint was offset, Preserve continued to support SeaTrees.
***SeaTrees plants 4 mangroves for every “token” purchased. Preserve has purchased 701 “tokens” as of October 2021.
****SeaTrees restores 1 square foot of kelp forest for every token purchased.