Thursday, February 4, 2016

MAP News Issue 383, Feb 6, 2016


The MAP News
383rd Edition                               Feb. 6, 2016


Mexican court rules against development in Cancun mangrove
MEXICO - A Mexican court has issued an injunction blocking further work on a real estate project in the Caribbean coast resort of Cancun that activists say has almost killed a mangrove swamp at the site. Heavy machinery largely cleared the mangrove trees from the area known as Nichupte lagoon in January, over the objections of local environmentalists. But environmentalist Araceli Dominguez expressed hope after the order was announced Wednesday that the mangrove can be recovered now that a court has ruled the project violated the public interest in preserving the wetland. "This is an area than still be reforested. We haven't lost it as mangrove yet," Dominguez said, noting that appeals had been filed before government-sponsored developers could backfill lagoon-side lots and totally destroy the wetlands. READ MORE
Umm Al Quwain mangroves illegally cut down by ‘camel farm labourers’
UAE - Labourers thought to be from camel farms are illegally cutting down mangrove trees at the Khor Al Beidah wetlands, putting the area’s delicate eco-system and wildlife at risk. Wood from the trees is being harvested and driven away by men in pick-up trucks, said Zahidah Zeytoun Millie, who lives near the site and has observed the activity for a year. Foliage from mangrove trees is useful as camel fodder. “Sometimes they cut the branches, other times they cut the whole tree if it is small,” she said. The pick-ups usually have UAQ licence plates, although some have Dubai plates. Federal law forbids cutting down trees without the permission of authorities. The mangrove and its adjacent mudflats are home to diverse wildlife and attract tens of thousands of rare migratory birds each year. READ MORE
Who was Jurin Rachapol & why was he murdered?
THAILAND - Jan 30th, 2016 is an important, but very sad day as we mark the 15th anniversary of Jurin Ratchapol’s assassination. Jurin was a leading local activist against shrimp farm development which destroyed the mangroves in his home province of Phuket, Thailand.  He was just an ordinary man, but cared passionately for the nature around him which provided food and livelihoods for his family and villagers.  But it was his courageous campaigning efforts which drew attention and gained recognition from Queen Sirikit who honoured him with an award.   Jurin was shot dead in cold blood, at close range on January 30, 2001 while picking cashews near his village home.  WHY?  Fifteen years later, how has the situation improved for Phuket’s mangroves? What are the current concerns and what actions are being taken? Have we really learned a lesson from Jurin’s sacrifice and the deadly tsunami which followed a few years later? READ MORE
‘Big Shrimpin’
PHILIPPINES - Jurgenne Primavera came of age in the shrimp farming industry, where she worked as a researcher for over 30 years. But by 1990, when she earned her PhD, she started to feel pangs of guilt about her profession, and in particular the damage that shrimp farming was doing to the environment. “I would observe some trees near the ponds, strange-looking trees, and eventually realized these were mangroves,” she said. She also realized that the industry that gave her a livelihood was damaging this coastal ecosystem. “I didn’t feel very good about it because I loved trees. I grew up with trees. So I had some kind of shift and I became critical of what was happening to the environment.” Primavera now devotes her energy to protecting coastal mangroves in her native Philippines, focusing on restoring green belts, the borders of vegetation that grow along the coastline. “For those countries that don’t have storms, green belts are interfaces for fisheries,” she said. “For those that have storms, they are protection.” READ MORE
Thailand announces regulations to rid forced labor from seafood supply chain
THAILAND - The government of Thailand has struck an agreement with a coalition of seafood companies and associations designed to eliminate forced labor and human trafficking from within the country’s seafood supply chain. Major players in the Thai fishing industry agreed to sign a memorandum-of-understanding (MOU) with the Thai Government’s Command Center for Combating Illegal Fishing on January 15, 2016, pledging to prevent seafood products to be sold to their seafood processing facilities that come from illegal fishing or that were harvested via illegal labor practices or human trafficking. Signatories to the MOU include Thai Union Group, the National Fishery Association of Thailand, the Thai Frozen Food Association, the Thai Overseas Fishery Association and the Thai Tuna Industry Association, according to a press release from the Thai government. READ MORE
Cancun’s millenarian mangrove swamp destroyed in just one day

MEXICO - Crocodiles were buried alive along with numerous others animal species who inhabited Cancun’s mangrove swamp after excavators destroyed it last Saturday. Grass-root organisation Save The Mangrove, which had set up camp inside in other to protect the flora and fauna of the area, explained that around 200 police dressed up in riot gear guarded this operation. Machinery working round the clock non-stop destroyed 90% of Cancun’s last wild nature enclave injust one day. The Federal government authorised this action carried out together with the go ahead of the Mexican National Fund for Fomenting Tourism (Fonatur). The 57 hectares of mangrove swamp, which are now just rubble, will be destined to building a residential area, a commercial centre and a catholic church, amongst other plans, in the area known as Malecon Tajamar. READ MORE

Dying to save the world
HONDURAS - Jeannette Kawas was an accountant whose concept of value was broader than any balance sheet. No number could capture for her the natural wealth she saw in the forests, rivers, beaches and mangrove swamps of Punta Sal, near her hometown of Tela in northern Honduras. On February 6, 1995 Jeannette Kawas was shot dead in her home. Years later a ruling from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights said Kawas’s work in defense of the environment had motivated the murder. Kawas was a victim of a largely unreported war that still rages around the world two decades later. Its casualties are women and men who through peaceful acts work to defend their local environment from polluters and miners, land grabbers and loggers. In the past decade, close to 1,000 such activists in 35 countries were murdered, according to a report published in April 2014 by Global Witness. “This report is a good one to alert people to the sad reality at hand,” says Alfredo Quarto, executive director of Mangrove Action Project, which has documented murders of activists and community leaders who stood in the way of shrimp farmers. “In a five-year period in the 1990s, over 100 local community members and activists were killed protesting shrimp farm encroachment and mangrove loss in Bangladesh. Similar reports of murdered community leaders who stood in the way of shrimp farmers come from Thailand, India, Honduras, Ecuador and Brazil.” READ MORE
CRIMES AGAINST WETLANDS must not go unpunished
HONDURAS –  Since 1997 the World Wetlands Day is celebrated to help increase awareness about wetlands and their importance. Despite its valuable importance as water reservoirs, sites of biological wealth, natural buffers against the effects of climate change and food reserves for native peoples and local communities, the destruction of the world's wetlands continues. In Latin America we have recent examples of serious ecocide against wetlands. On 5 November in the municipality of Mariana, Minas Gerais, Brazil, the breaking of a dam generated unprecedented environmental disaster. Toxic waste affected thousands of families, mainly fisherwomen and fishermen in the region. The tragedy of Mariana is an environmental and social crime, so the mining company SAMARCO should be judged under those charges. In Mexico, on the morning of January 16, 57 hectares of mangroves in Cancun were destroyed. Tajamar mangroves were destroyed with the approval of state and federal authorities. Tajamar must not go unpunished. The full weight of the law must apply to officials making use of public office involved in serious crimes to benefit the interests of the real estate industry in the area. READ MORE

Endangered birds threatened by mangrove removal
NEW ZEALAND - The Mangawhai Harbour Restoration Society was given consent to clear some mangroves from the middle of the harbour in 2012, and earlier this month they announced plans to remove more. The fairy tern is New Zealand's rarest endemic breeding bird with half of its 10 breeding pairs living in Mangawhai, and the restoration society's plans put the birds at risk, said Forest and Bird's seabird conservation advocate Karen Baird. "The problem in this situation is it's very hard to prove that something is going to happen, but what you have to do is you have to look at the risks," said Ms Baird. "And the risk with this situation is if you mess around too much with that harbour, you are going to contribute to the potential extinction of that bird - which is already on the edge." READ MORE
World Wetlands Day Celebrated
February 2nd is World Wetlands Day, an international day to remember the importance of wetlands for all the goods & services they provide us, and a day to take action for wetlands conservation.  Our lives really do depend on wetlands.   Take freshwater for example, wetlands are great at storing surface water runoff, filtering it, absorbing nutrients, aiding infiltration to the groundwater table and also slowly releasing water in surface water waters. In terms of mangroves wetlands the following article in Hakai Magazine shows the importance of the entire watershed, as what happens upstream is going to impact the mangroves down stream.  If mangroves are destroyed then tidal mudflats, seagrass meadows and coral reefs further down stream of the mangroves will be negatively impacted.   It's all connected, as they say. READ MORE

We are so happy to have new people joining MAP’s efforts and reporting on the influence if its programs worldwide! WELCOME and thank you!
Hello everyone.
My name is Manon Whittaker, I am the new intern for MAP in Thailand. I arrived in Trang a couple of days ago so I am still trying to get used to this new lifestyle (especially the heat).
I have a British nationality (as my parents are from England and Wales) but I am born in France and I have lived there my whole life. However, I moved to Australia (Sydney) in July 2014 to study a Master of Environmental Management at the University of New South Wales (Sydney). I will be graduating in June 2016. Previously, I completed a degree in Geosciences in Grenoble – a city in the French Alps.
I will be the MAP volunteer for the next three months, until approximately the 20th of April. I am excited to gain some experience in mangrove restoration and community involvement. I also hope to use some of the knowledge and skills, I have obtained in my studies so far, to contribute to the projects in which MAP is involved.
I look forward to working and exchanging with all of you.
Best regards.
Hi Everyone!
My name is Allison Jacobson, and I'm the second new arrival to the Trang office. I will be based in Trang until mid-April while I complete research on mangrove forests in protected areas.
I am an American from Chicago, but I have been living near San Francisco for the past two years. I recently completed a master’s degree in Environmental Planning from the University of California, Berkeley. My thesis was focused on post-project monitoring of a coastal creek restoration project managed by the National Park Service in California. Before graduation, I was awarded funding to study coastal protected areas in other countries, and I chose Southeast Asia.
I am very interested in examining the threats to mangrove forests in protected areas and the approaches used by park management to mitigate impacts. In addition to researching protected areas in Thailand, I hope to study parks in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Malaysia. If you are aware of any interesting case studies, I am open to suggestions :)
Hi Jim, Martin, and Alfredo,
I'm back from Khulna, Mehedi was very helpful and sends you greetings.
I visited Badamtala Laudop school with Akbar Hossein my translator and your workshop facilitator, I found there a very impressive active mangrove club led by 14 yr girl, Pronoti Mridha, she wants to be an entomologist, she led the group thru a dance and pantomime about mangroves, she was a 3-day workshop participant and she really learned well. 
So kudos and keep up good work in Bangladesh.
Lou Werner



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Mangroves: Guidebook to Malaysia – available for download here
MAP letter to Lic. Rafael Pacchiano Alamán, Secretario de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales regarding recent devastation of Cancun mangroves READ LETTER
Petition to end the Cancun Ecocide Sign Here

Immediate Relief Intervention for Tamil Nadu Floods Needed
Relief support funding sought to help volunteers in India trying to offer relief for flood victims in southern India. READ MORE

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Mangrove rehabilitation in Asia – Local Action and cross-border Transfer of Knowledge for the Conservation of Climate, Forests and Biodiversity VIEW VIDEOS HERE
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Marvellous Mangroves Curriculum

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Education in the Mangroves - China


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CRIMES AGAINST WETLANDS must not go unpunished

Note: Original Spanish version of this message pasted below.
In the World Wetlands Day February 2, 2016

Since 1997 the World Wetlands Day is celebrated. A date which seeks to help increase awareness about wetlands and their importance.
According to the Ramsar Convention: "A wetland is an area of land area that is temporarily or permanently flooded, regulated by climatic factors and in constant interaction with the creatures that inhabit it."
Despite its valuable importance as water reservoirs, sites of biological wealth, natural buffers against the effects of climate change and food reserves for native peoples and local communities, the destruction of the world's wetlands continues.

In Latin America we have recent examples of serious ecocide against wetlands.

On 5 November last in the municipality of Mariana, Minas Gerais, Brazil, the year the breaking of a dam miner Samarco generated unprecedented environmental disaster. Soon the toxic waste arrived at Doce river, contaminating the water and affecting thousands of families, mainly fisherwomen and fishermen in the region. The tragedy of Mariana is an environmental and social crime, so the mining company SAMARCO should be judged under those charges.

In Mexico, on the morning of January 16 this year were deforested 57 hectares of mangroves in Cancun in an area known as Tajamar. They were destroyed with the complicity of government authorities, municipal and state police and the National Fund for Tourism Development -FONATUR- (an institution that has a history of disrespect for local processes and conservation of wetlands in Zihuatanejo).

Tajamar mangroves were destroyed with the approval of state and federal authorities, as well as a Greenpeace report says Mexico. For Tajamar must not go unpunished, should the full weight of the law on officials making use of public office involved in serious crimes to benefit the interests of the real estate industry in the area.

In June 2015, Passion River in Guatemala, was the scene of an unprecedented environmental tragedy, described by the same government authorities as ecocide. Polluting waste REPSA Company, producer and processor of palm oil in the region, caused a massive fish kill, affecting water quality and life of local people. To date, ecocide in the Passion River continues unpunished.

Instances of justice, must ensure that these crimes against nature and society are investigated and not go unpunished. For speedy justice for victims is providing and that the necessary measures are enacted to repair the damage. They must immediately suspend the industries and companies that caused these disasters.

The Ramsar Convention should deal with complaints of civil society demanding the destruction of wetlands and mangroves, in order to fulfill its mandate and the same slogan that heads this year's celebration of this date: "Wetlands for our future: Media sustainable living ".


En el día mundial de los humedales 2 de febrero 2016

Desde 1997 se celebra el Día Mundial de los Humedales. Una fecha que busca contribuir a  aumentar el conocimiento sobre los humedales y su importancia.

Según la Convención RAMSAR: “Un humedal es una zona de la superficie terrestre que está temporal o permanentemente inundada, regulada por factores climáticos y en constante interrelación con los seres vivos que la habitan".

A pesar de su valiosa importancia como: reservorios de agua, sitios de riqueza biológica, amortiguadores naturales contra los efectos del cambio climático y reservas de alimento para los pueblos ancestrales y las comunidades locales, la destrucción de los humedales del mundo continúa.

En América Latina tenemos ejemplos recientes de graves ecocidios contra los humedales.

El 5 de  noviembre del año pasado en el municipio de Mariana, Minas Gerais, Brasil, el rompimiento  de  una represa de la minera SAMARCO generó un desastre ambiental sin precedentes. En poco tiempo los desechos tóxicos llegaron al río Doce, contaminando sus aguas y afectando a miles de familias, principalmente pescadoras y pescadores de la región. La tragedia de Mariana es un crimen ambiental y social, por lo que  la empresa minera SAMARCO debería ser juzgada bajo esos cargos.

En México, en la madrugada del 16 de enero de este año fueron taladas 57 hectáreas de manglares en Cancún, en un área conocida como Tajamar. Fueron destruidas con la complicidad de las autoridades gubernamentales, la policía municipal y estatal y del Fondo Nacional de Fomento al Turismo –FONATUR-, (una institución que cuenta con  antecedentes de irrespeto hacia los procesos locales y la conservación de los humedales en Zihuatanejo). 

Los manglares de Tajamar fueron destruidos con el visto bueno de las autoridades estatales y federales, como bien lo explica un informe de GreenPeace México. El caso de Tajamar no debe quedar en la impunidad, debe caer todo el peso de la ley sobre los funcionarios que valiéndose de su cargo público  incurrieron en graves delitos para beneficiar los intereses de la industria inmobiliaria en la zona.

En el mes de junio del 2015, el Río La Pasión en Guatemala, fue el escenario de una tragedia ambiental sin precedentes, calificada por las mismas autoridades de gobierno como un ecocidio. Desechos contaminantes de  la empresa REPSA, productora y procesadora de aceite de palma africana en la región, ocasionaron una mortandad masiva de peces, afectando la calidad de las aguas y la vida de las poblaciones locales. Hasta esta fecha, el ecocidio en el río la Pasión continua impune.

Las instancias de justicia, deben velar por que estos crímenes contra la naturaleza y la sociedad sean investigados y no queden impunes. Para que se brinde justicia pronta para las víctimas y que se dicten las medidas necesarias para reparar los daños ocasionados. Deben suspender de manera inmediata a las industrias, y empresas que ocasionaron estos desastres.

La Convención RAMSAR debe atender las denuncias de la sociedad civil que reclaman la destrucción de sus humedales y  manglares, en aras de cumplir con su mandato y de la misma consigna que encabeza este año la celebración de esta fecha: “Humedales para nuestro futuro: Medios de vida sostenibles”.

Secretaría Ejecutiva de Redmanglar Internacional
Cogmanglar 2011-2016

Re: Devastation of mangrove in Cancun Mexico

January 28, 2016
Lic. Rafael Pacchiano Alamán
Secretario de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales
Blvd. Adolfo Ruiz Cortines # 4209
Col. Jardines en la Montaña, Deleg. Tlalpan
Distrito Federal CP. 14210, México

cc: Alejandro Del Mazo Maza
Comisionado Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas
Camino al Ajusco No. 200, Col. Jardines en la Montaña,
Deleg. Tlalpan, Distrito Federal CP. 14210, México

Mr. Secretary:

I am the founder and director of the Mangrove Action Project (MAP), an international nonprofit organization working to conserve and restore our planet’s beleagured mangrove forest wetlands. Mangroves are vital for so many reasons. Mangrove forests provide coastal communities with life-saving protection from tropical storms and sea level rise. They provide critical habitat for creatures as diverse as crocodiles and manatees. Mangroves are a vital ecosystem for as many as 75% of the world’s tropical and sub-tropical fish, with many species relying on these coastal forests to provide a safe haven for their offspring.

Mangroves are also very important buffers against sea level rise, coastal erosion and climate change, which I believe your government has taken a strong interest in combating as evidenced by Mexico’s active support of limiting carbon emissions during the Paris COP 21 talks. Since mangroves sequester and store more carbon than any other tree species (5 times more than tropical rainforests), and can store this for hundreds or even thousands of years in their soils, it is essential and timely to ensure full protection of existing mangroves around the world, including in your country, Mexico.

The sad truth is that over 50% of the Earth’s mangroves have already been lost (35% destroyed in only the last 30 years). And they continue to be destroyed at a rate of around 1% annually – 150,000 hectares a year. That is, in short, why the Mangrove Action Project exists and why we are writing to you today: To seek your support to help stop that destruction. However, we are shocked that your agency was complicit in the illicit destruction of a once healthy and productive mangrove forest at Malecon Tajamar on the Yucatan Peninsula!

The government institution you head is responsible for promoting the protection, restoration and conservation of ecosystems, natural resources, and environmental goods and services for Mexico, in order to facilitate their use and sustainable development. Yet your agency allowed FONATUR to wantonly destroy the mangroves of Malecon Tajamar at Cancun, Quintana Roo. And, it is for this very reason that we at MAP are now writing you.

It is tragic that an area of ​​approximately 58 hectares of mangroves in the area known as Malecon Tajamar were cleared and the wetlands filled. This action violated your own government’s stated commitment to protect these unique ecosystems, and in doing so fight climate change. It is obvious that destroying the mangroves at Malecon Tajamar runs completely against current international protocols, especially since the Paris COP 21 conference where Mexico pledged to do its utmost to reduce climate change. Ostensibly, Mexico is a strong supporter of United Nations climate mitigation programs, yet again, what your government has allowed there at Malecon Tajamar runs completely comntrary to this pledge.

Ironically, if you recall, COP 16 was held in Cancun in 2011, so one would assume that the mangroves there are particularly significant and truly representative of your nation’s supposedly strong commitment to conserving these vitally important wetlands. However, the surprise raid of the developer’s destruction crew in the dark of the early morning hours under complete police protection was indicative of a sadly compromised government stance, revealing once more the power of money above ethics.

MAPs stand in solidarity with those courageous people who had physically occupied the site at Malecon Tajamar for months in their brave attempt to halt the intended destruction. Though in the end FONATUR had its way in destroying the mangroves there, we are hopeful that your government will see the fault in allowing this loss, and move to halt further development there in order to at least complete an in-depth Environmental Impact Assessment, while in the meantime protecting the area from further abuse.

We urge Mexico to put habitat protection and climate change reduction above real estate development and short-term profits.

The Yucatan Peninsula and especially the coast of Quintana Roo has been ranked as one of the most vulnerable to rising average sea levels and increased frequency and intensity of hurricanes due to climate change. This is the time to be proactive in the protection of mangroves, which is not only the wiser action in itself, but is essential for Mexico’s own national security in nurturing those critical ecosystem services that mangroves provide.

Towards these ends we support the people of Mexico who are asking that you now
• create a revised resolution via an Environmental Impact Statement for this property development as it is clearly illegal, and for the damage already caused; demand the permanent suspension of the works, site rehabilitation and punishment of the authorities that have allowed this act. 
• revise procedures and policy instruments regarding current environmental issues that are not meeting your goals, and which have in fact proved to be complicit in the destruction of the natural heritage of the nation. 
For the Mangroves and Mangrove Communities,

Alfredo Quarto, , Executive Director
Mangrove Action Project

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Who was Jurin Rachapol & why was he murdered?

By Manon Whittaker, MAP Asia Intern

Jan 30th, 2016 is an important, but very sad day as we mark the 15th anniversary of Jurin Ratchapol’s assassination.

Jurin was a leading local activist against shrimp farm development which destroyed the mangroves in his home province of Phuket, Thailand.  He was just an ordinary man, but cared passionately for the nature around him which provided food and livelihoods for his family and villagers.  But it was his courageous campaigning efforts which drew attention and gained recognition from Queen Sirikit who honoured him with an award.  

Jurin was shot dead in cold blood, at close range on January 30, 2001 while picking cashews near his village home.  WHY?  

Fifteen years later, how has the situation improved for Phuket’s mangroves? What are the current concerns and what actions are being taken? Have we really learned a lesson from Jurin’s sacrifice and the deadly tsunami which followed a few years later?

Jurin Ratchapol (Source: Wildlife Fund Thailand's (WFT) "Coastal Wetlands Policy and Conservation Awareness Project”) year: unknown

I am the new intern at the MAP Asia office in Thailand and I was asked to write an article about Jurin Ratchapol, to remember the 15th anniversary of his assassination. Having no previous knowledge about this man and the story behind his murder, I searched the internet in order to find newspapers articles which could enlighten me. Here is what I discovered.

Jurin Ratchapol, was a leading activist against shrimp farm development in the province of Phuket (a popular tourist destination in the South-West of Thailand). Jurin appears to have been a very passionate man who fought feverously to protect the natural environment against wealthy developers. His campaigning efforts stimulated two very different reactions. On one hand, they drew positive attention and encouraged people to fight for their livelihoods, hence Jurin received an award from Queen Sirikit for his actions. On the other hand, his campaigns were not well perceived by neighbouring shrimp farm owners who regularly sent him death threats. In the end, Jurin’s passion and bravery caused his murder on Januray 30th 2001. He was shot while simply picking cashew nuts in is village. The murderer, who was a former worker of the neighbouring shrimp farm, which was encroaching on the community’s mangrove, was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Jurin Ratchapol’s activities where then taken over by his brother, Jurun and fellow villagers. The latest news I found about Jurun’s campaigning efforts go back to January 6th 2011 where a complaint was launched about plans to convert protected forest department land to community forest. The story doesn’t tell what the outcome was…

I was eager to discover if the situation has improved in Phuket, 15 years after this tragic event. Did Jurin Ratchapol’s murder raise awareness and trigger positive actions among the population of Phuket? What is the current situation for mangroves in the area?

How much mangrove area is left?  Do we even know?
Comparing data from the FAO/IUCN, it appears that the total area of mangrove coverage has decreased by 1200 ha from 1975 to 2007.
In fact, Phuket’s sustainability indicator report indicates that between 1975 and 2012, almost 70% of all forest areas in Phuket and Phang Nga had been encroached on. In addition, about 150 ha of mangrove forests in the province have been damaged.

Mangroves lost at what future cost?
The most recent news I found on mangrove encroachment in the province, just 7 months ago was in June 2015, where villagers from Suwan Pa Bang Khanun in Thalang (a northern district of Phuket) complained about encroachments on the mangrove forest and building of illegal structures in this area. Phuket’s Vice Governor, Somkiet Sangkhaosutthirak, solution was to install a clear delimitation and signalization of the boundaries of the 6.5 ha mangrove forest.

Moreover, in March 2015, the navy led an investigation into an ATV tour company and five shrimp farms for alleged encroachment of more than 30 ha of mangrove forest in Pa Khlok. In the same month, dispute over land also occurred in Bang Sai beach, near Cape Yamu on the east coast of Phuket, as recently planted mangroves had been uprooted and advertising signs were installed.

Disaster Risk Reduction: Green or Grey?
The coast of Phuket is highly affected by erosion since the Tsunami event in 2004. As a response the government appears to be favouring the construction of seawalls instead of mangrove rehabilitation. In fact, multiple proposals were formulated in July 2014, by the Cherng Talay mayor and Phuket’s Governor Maitri Inthusutto, to build seawalls to protect Phuket’s beaches. The seawalls would be made out of either sandbags, gabions (cages filled with rocks), revetment (sloping wall), or concrete.

Let’s hope it’s not too late!
On the bright side, a couple of mangrove restoration and protection projects have also been occurring in the past couple of years.
In September 2013, as part of their Green Initiative, staff from KEE Resort in Patong (on the west coast of Phuket) and school students planted 500 mangroves in Pak Klock, on the east coast of the island.
In August 2015, Navel personal, local officials and students planted thousands of mangroves in Phuket for the celebration of Queen Sirikit’s 80th birthday. These events also helped raise awareness and promote rehabilitation and protection of mangroves among Thai people.

Despite these efforts it is clear that, since Jurin Ratchapol’s death, no solutions or agreements have been found as encroachment of mangrove areas continued to occur in 2015. There is still many actions and fights to overcome for restoring and maintaining mangrove areas as well as for ceasing their destruction in Phuket.

What’s Phuket’s future without mangroves?   Sea defences from wind and waves, erosion control, local fisheries livelihoods, seafood, coral reefs and eco-tourism, coastal water quality all depend on healthy mangroves ecosystems.  
If Jurin returned to Phuket today would he be proud or saddened by what he saw? 


FAO and UNEP, 1980, South China Sea fisheries development and coordinating programme: The Present State of Mangrove Ecosystems in Southeast Asia and the Impact of Pollution, Manila.

Society Environment Economy Knowledge (SEEK), 2013, Phuket Sustainability Indicator Report: SEEKing a Sustainable Phuket, Phuket, Thailand.

The Phuket News, June 2015, Officials move against land grabs in northern Phuket

Phuket Gazette, March 2015, Navy probes ATV tour operator, shrimp farms for mangrove encroachment -

Phuket Gazette, July 2014, Phuket mayor seeks B60mn for seawall to stave off coastal erosion -

Bangkok Post, September 2013, Phuket Mangrove Forest Grows: 500 New Trees Planted -

Phuket Gazette, June 2015, Thousands of mangroves planted for Queen Sirikit -