SeaTrees is our 1% for the planet partner; ever since we sold our very first bag, we’ve donated 1% of sales to their kelp restoration projects. However, they do a lot more than kelp forest restoration!
Who is SeaTrees?
SeaTrees is a program under the nonprofit Sustainable Surf that plants, protects, and restores coastal ecosystems around the world to reverse climate change. SeaTrees restores 5 different types of coastal ecosystems: kelp forests, mangrove forests, seagrass meadows, coral reefs, and coastal watersheds. To this day, they’ve planted and restored 3.2M sea trees!
Kelp Forest Restoration
As mentioned, we contribute to SeaTrees kelp forest restoration projects. If you didn’t know, we’ve lost up to 90% of kelp forests in California due to climate change and rising ocean temperatures. It all began with sea star wasting syndrome; a deadly disease that intensified with warmer waters, and killed more than 90% of sunflower sea stars. Sunflower sea stars prey on urchins, so without these sea stars, urchin populations exploded. Urchins eat kelp alarmingly fast, and they’ve almost annihilated the kelp forests of California.
How SeaTrees Restores Kelp Forests
In order to restore these forests, qualified divers are sent to mark “urchin barrens”; urchin barrens are oceanic dead zones, where kelp and 1,000+ species used to thrive. Hoards of sea urchins suffocate the ocean floor and eat all the kelp in sight.
Trained divers smash the starving urchins with hammers. We know, we know, this sounds a little gruesome. However, these urchins are “zombie urchins”; they’re starving and barely alive, without any meat. Because there’s no meat, the urchins don’t have commercial value. Bringing the urchins to the surface would be timely, costly, and inefficient; essentially, it would consume all the resources available to help save kelp forests. Over 1,000+ other species depend on these forests for food and shelter.
Once an urchin barren is cleared, the kelp will grow back naturally. SeaTrees works with The Bay Foundation to monitor these sites and ensure that the kelp forest is thriving. In addition to their efforts in Palos Verdes California, they’re restoring kelp forests in Monterey Bay California, Cascais Portugal, and Sydney Australia.
In total, SeaTrees has restored 539,514 sqft of kelp forest and we’ve helped them restore 27,000 sqft! We’re honored to be a SeaTrees partner! Learn more about them by visiting the SeaTrees website.