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macobios : Project Home

The MaCoBios project (Marine Coastal Ecosystems Biodiversity and Services in a Changing World) broadly aims to disentangle the ways and means by which ecosystems services can help us respond to climate change, and study the effectiveness of nature based solutions (NBS) with a focus on marine and coastal ecosystems.

With funding from the European Union, MaCoBioS brings together a multidisciplinary team of experts from 16 institutions to tackle its overall objective. The project features several case study locations across three ecoregions (the Caribbean, the Western Mediterranean Sea and Northern Europe), with CERMES leading the Barbados case study.  For more detailed information on the project, visit the main project website.

What are nature-based solutions?
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) defines nature-based solutions as actions to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural or modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits.
For more information, visit the IUCN

Barbados makes a particularly interesting case study for MaCoBios because we manifest an extreme case of some of the issues commonly faced by Caribbean small island developing states (SIDS), along with some additional challenges that are distinctly Barbadian. The island is densely developed, the landscape highly modified by human activities, and natural systems are fragmented.  In developing relatively early post-Independence, we have done much that we now understand was not sustainable. We have relied heavily on conventional engineering solutions to address problems like flooding and coastal erosion.

MaCoBios is an opportunity for a holistic stock-take of our island’s natural systems as a foundation for assessing where, when and how NBS can be effectively deployed in a heavily modified and intensely used small island environment.  As we shared with you recently for World Oceans Day, we need an assessment that factors in those things that are distinctively SIDS, distinctively Caribbean, and distinctively Barbadian, so that we develop strategies, plans and solutions that are customised and work for us. We want to be strategic in identifying the types of nature based solutions that can work for us, where they should be implemented, and how – for maximum positive impact. We aim to produce outputs that can inform agencies planning and implementing nature-based interventions over this Decade of Ecosystems Restoration, such as mapping that builds on existing spatial planning to show what types of nature-based solutions are suitable and where, and concepts for pilot projects.  

There are also opportunities to build on previous and ongoing work. One example is an existing wetland pilot project in Holetown - a hybrid of conventional engineering and nature-based solutions.  Through MaCoBios, we have an opportunity to assess performance and consider whether this small-scale wetland hybrid NBS is potentially replicable, with adaptation, at other similar watershed outlets along the west coast. Alongside this, we will also consider possibilities for rehabilitation of small remnant wetlands that remain along the west coast.  

At this point, we are just getting started. We look forward to sharing more with you as work progresses.
Until then, watch this space!

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