Increasing seagrass ecosystem knowledge to enhance dugong conservation (LK5).
Sri Lanka: Palk Bay, the Gulf of Mannar and Kalpitiya.
LK5 seeks to influence decision-making and coastal area planning in Sri Lanka by delivering increased knowledge of the distribution and abundance of seagrasses in Palk Bay, the Gulf of Mannar and Kalpitiya, Northwest Sri Lanka, with specific reference to dugong conservation.
Baseline seagrass distribution maps will be generated using currently available information, data collected in situ, GIS techniques and satellite remote sensing. Hotspots will be identified for detailed studies of seagrass areas. Long term changes occurring in seagrass habitats will be identified and the abundance, species diversity and biomass of seagrass beds assessed in order to quantify the remaining extent of seagrass areas to be managed/restored. Water quality and any pollution sources or harmful activities in these hot spots will be monitored and recorded.
Field studies will seek to involve the communities around the Bay of Bengal and Palk Bay to help identify hotspots using local knowledge.
Data generated by LK5 will be provided to support the implementation of regulations to reduce the threat to dugongs and their habitats, and will be incorporated into the proposed management plan developed by NARA. Information will be exchanged and technical assistance provided to develop and implement mitigation activities. The findings of the project will also be disseminated through public awareness and education programmes.
- Produce seagrass distribution maps highlighting hotspots to be conserved.
- Generate ecological data for resource management.
- Disseminate information to support conservation.