Posidonia oceanica prairies are protected under the Habitat Directive 1992/43/EEC, as a priority habitat (the conservation of which requires the designation of special areas of conservation). The presence of P. oceanica involves the establishment of Sites of Community Importance (SCI) that constitute, together with the Special Protection Areas (SPAs) (established by the “Birds” Directive), the Sites of the Natura 2000 Network. These protected natural areas aims to protect the conservation status of species of flora and fauna and of habitat that need targeted protection actions.
Despite P. oceanica meadows are protected habitats they are in strong regression in all countries of Mediterranean area (34% regression in the last 50 years), due to climate change and human impacts. All this factors, together with the slowness of natural recolonization processes, has favored the emergence of the idea that developing transplant techniques could be a means to favor and/or accelerate the processes of natural regeneration. Furthermore, in the last years the transplantation of limited areas of seagrasses has been identified inside the EIA Decrees related to the construction of coastal works, as a form of compensation for the associated impacts. Unfortunately, today there is a real risk that the compensation operations will be resolved exclusively in a justification to be shown to the public opinion, and to legitimize an indiscriminate development of the coastal strip. In fact, the transplant, should be considered as the last attempt to recover the degraded ecosystem because doesn’t exist a real compensation for the damage, and the destruction of a P. oceanica meadow is an irreversible phenomenon, because the habitat was definitely destroyed. In this context it is essential to promote and sensitize the different stakeholders and the public on such complex subject.
In addition, the Governance actions, to ensure success in changing attitudes, require a vast and active support from the public and the actors involved. The Life SEPOSSO will disseminate all the information to ensure the maximum impact of the project both during its development and after its conclusion. Furthermore, the project aims to broaden and stimulate the involvement and participation of citizens and local operators.