Saturday, December 25, 2010

Mangrove Ecocide in Quintana Roo

These articles and news clips following this article are highly important because they represent the dangers associated with the existing and planned indiscriminate constructions that take place on mangrove rich habitats, in particular, the developments of hotels and golf courses located along the east coastline of Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Associated dangers include:
· Methane gas explosions
· Sinking of the soft sediment
· Release of greenhouse gasses
· Loss of biodiversity
· Contamination of water
Increased population density on coasts results in physical, chemical and biological alterations to mangrove environments. The methane released into mangrove habitats is enhanced by human induced factors such as waste from sewage effluent and agricultural runoff. Emissions of CH4 into the atmosphere as a result of domestic waste discharge leads to severe oxygen stress and anaerobic conditions, particularly in freshwater environments. Methanogenic bacteria are present in these mangrove rich anaerobic zones.

These mangroves consist of pneumatophers which diffuse oxygen into these anoxic zones where methane oxidation can occur, which produces methane gas. 50% of the mangrove litter production is converted to soil organic matter in undisturbed mangrove ecosystems. Due to Akumal´s tropical climate, the decomposition of organic matter in summer creates oxygen stress which results in a rapid formation of CH4 in the subsurface in tropical coastal wetlands. These high temperatures lead to increased emissions of CH4 from the subsurface to the atmosphere. For this reason, methane gas stored under high pressure due to human disturbances could potentially be identified as the cause of multiple explosions at The Princess Hotel 3 years ago and again 6 weeks ago and the Zamas Hotel last Monday as methane has been trapped
within the trunks of those once living trees. It is important to note that it is illegal to build on mangrove habitats in the state of Quintana Roo, and is deemed a criminal offense.

Construction on mangrove habitats also drastically alters the level of biodiversity in and around the mangrove ecosystem. Construction on mangrove habitats limits the amount of resources available for species to produce offspring. This has and will have a drastic effect on the future functioning of mangrove ecosystems and the species that rely on them as a refuge, a corridor and a migratory habitat.

Buildings on top of mangrove habitats are a potential health hazard and/or
death to:
· People
· Existing flora and fauna
· Endemic and indigenous species
· Cenotes and freshwater subterranean rivers.

When tidal inundation of polluted waters occurs, the water quality and hydrology of the mangrove and cenote systems become threatened. This affects the organisms that depend on this water to live. This health hazard needs to be identified for the survival of many species and the health of the rivers and mangroves. Please understand how important this information is and feel free to give us any feedback. We also encourage you to share this information with anyone you feel can help in the effort to protect the delicate and unique ecology of Quintana Roo.

If any of these links or attachments do not open please let us know and we will resend them with a different format.

Thank you for reading,

Nancy and the SAVE Staff

Please find the following attachments and links to articles,

· The Blue Carbon Policy Brief:
The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University

· Links associated with carbon sequestration and Blue Carbon:
In Cancun, everyone’s talking about Blue Carbon
GRIDA reference>
Blue Carbon Portal
Open Statement to COP 16 Delegates about Blue Carbon
Conservation International on Blue Carbon
To Save the Planet, Save the Seas

· An article about the explosions at the Princess hotel and Zamas
· An acknowledgment letter from the Princess hotels:

· Articles on methane emission from coastal wetlands:

Friday, October 29, 2010

Report Doesn't tell the whole story

Note: This blog is a letter written to MAP regarding the report:

Water Center for the Humid Tropics of Latin America and the Caribbean (CATHALAC)

Note in response to this report: In regards to this report, a 2% loss of mangrove in Belize seems slightly low but is probably in the right ball park. I wonder how some of the places that lost their mangroves long ago where handled in these estimates but I suspect the differences would not be great enough to warrant any objection to the the number in this report.

This estimate, however, does not tell the whole story.

Belize definitely has some advantages in mangrove conservation. They have strong national laws to reduce and prevent their removal. Shrimp farms there also have not used techniques that remove mangrove habitat. Perhaps most importantly, the population density of Belize is quite low and the human footprint along the coast is still somewhat limited. Development, however, is moving ahead rapidly and much of that is concentrated in housing and resort developments along the coast. That situation is rapidly evolving.

Concerns about Belizean mangrove conservation revolve more around the decisions made on a case by case basis as develoment proceeds. Given that 70% of the Belizean coastline is owned by foreign interests with direct interests in development, the fact that only 2% of mangroves have been removed so far is not especially reassuring.

Many developers in Belize still reflexively clear land down to the shoreline, even though this activity often results in immediate loss of portions of their property to erosion. It is also concerning that mangrove removal regulations have not always been enforced and until this recent global recession, development pressure had been increasing at a rapid pace. Developments built on fill on sites at or even below sea level are still routinely approved with devestating effects on the mangrove habitats as well as surrounding seagrass meadows that are dredged. In an era of rising sea levels and increasing storm intensity, this is a worrying trend.

Mangrove conservation efforts in Belize have focused on strengthening enforcement and legislation, raising awareness of the value of mangroves as habitat, pointing out positive examples of development that have embraced the preservation of mangrove habitat, and promoting private reserves and other conservation and restoration measures.

If you have not already done so, please visit, join and provide input to the Belizean Mangrove Conservation Network on Facebook. Just now reaching 400 members, the BMCN focuses on positive, proactive measures to conserve Belizean mangroves, pointing out the value of this critical habitat and highlighting efforts to help it remain an intergral part of both the natural and human-dominated landscapes of coastal Belize. Belize is a place where there have been substantive accomplishments in mangrove conservation. With continued focus on this vital resource, there is reason to believe those accomplishments can carry forward into the future.

Many thanks,
Timothy B. Smith
Brooksmith Consulting
Ecology, Fisheries, Education

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sundarban Tiger Attacks and Killings

Over the past two weeks, MAP has been following the situation regarding tigers in the Sundarbans region of Bangladesh in conflict with villagers there. To encourage discussion and action on this issue, we are pasting copies of the emails we have received, in hopes of spreading further discussion about these important issues. You comments are welcomed and encouraged.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Endangered and Extinct: America Turns Her Back on Biodiversity

The Nations of the world have gathered in London for a UN Convention on Biodiversity and Climate Change.

2010 has been named the International Year of Biodiversity by the United Nations. An urgent call to action has been issued to all nations of the world to cooperate and collaborate as a global community to protect the biodiversity of Earth. What is biodiversity you ask? According to Dr. Eleanor Sterling, Director of the American Museum of Natural History’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, “Biodiversity refers to the variety of life on Earth at all its levels, from genes to ecosystems, and the ecological and evolutionary processes that sustain it.”

In a keynote address, Ahmed Djoghlaf, Secretary-General of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity expressed concern on the lack of international binding commitments and coordinated action to protect the Earth’s biodiversity and to ameliorate climate change. We are losing biodiversity at an unprecedented rate due to habitat change, overexploitation, pollution, invasive alien species and climate change. The UN Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 states that there are multiple indications of biodiversity decline of genes, species and ecosystems. Nearly 25% of the world’s plant species are threatened with extinction. Globally, amphibians are great risk of extinction. The populations of vertebrate species fell by 33 % between 1970 and 2006 with severe declines within freshwater ecosystems and in the tropics. Scientists estimate that 15% of mammal species and 11% of bird species are classified as threatened. Coral species are deteriorating with ocean warming and acidification. Natural habitats worldwide are declining in extent and integrity due to fragmentation, overdevelopment and climate change. The UN Environment Programme has issued an astonishing report, which states that: “150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every 24 hours.” Secretary-General Djoghlaf says “The future of the planet now depends on governments taking action in the next few years.”

Why should we care? UN Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon states that the reasons are ecological and economic. He outlines the ecosystem services that protect people and their infrastructure, like coastal wetlands minimizing the impact of storm surges, sadly realized too late when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans or the cutting of the mangrove swamps for unsustainable shrimp farms and beach development and the tragic loss of life and property from tsunamis in South East Asia. Ecosystems protect infrastructure. New York City enjoys cheap and clean tap water because the city chose to protect the Catskills watershed, saving several billion dollars in the process. According to the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, “Ecosystems provide services such as pollination, seed dispersal, climate regulation, water purification, nutrient cycling, and control of agricultural pests.”

According to the Secretary, “A UN-backed study estimates the loss of natural capital due to deforestation and land degradation alone at between $2 trillion and $4.5 trillion each year.” Environmental protection and economic protection are two sides of the same coin. He urged member states to invest in sustainable development, which will assist indigenous people to protect the biodiversity in developing countries and meet the Millennium Development Goals of food security, poverty eradication and world health and to build resilience to climate change. Biodiversity and climate change are mutually interdependent. Continued deforestation, over-fishing, industrial agriculture, and introduced invasive species will continue the high rate of extinctions and loss of habitats and exacerbate climate change impacts. Programs as the UNDP Equator Initiative, and the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Program have been put in place to provide assistance. Norway has pledged 500 million to prevent the deforestation of the rainforest for monoculture crops within rainforest settings. The Amazon forest will reach a tipping point if 20-30% of the forest is cut or burned creating savannas prone to drought cycles and fire. Today 17% of the Brazilian rainforest has been cut and burned. According to Veerle Vandeweerd, UNDP Environment and Energy Group, three quarters of the world’s population rely on the natural environment for survival. 1.5 billion people live in dry lands and 1 billion people rely on sustenance fishing. There is a need for poverty reduction and biodiversity protection.

We need a new strategy that links climate change, biodiversity, and the Millennium Development Goals with concrete targets and implementation in cooperation with the developed and developing countries. According to Stas Burgiel in Convention on Biological Diversity: a progress report, “The UN Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) is the single most important international agreement designed to protect the world’s biodiversity, to encourage the sustainable use of biological resources, and to ensure the fair and equitable sharing of benefits derived from such use.” The Convention was signed at the Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 1992 Conference on Environment and Development- known as the Earth Summit. The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety was adopted on 11 September 2003. It establishes rules under which crops and other organisms, which have been genetically modified, can be transferred from one country to another. According to Stas Burgiel’s Convention on Biological Diversity: a progress report- “The United States was perhaps foremost among developed countries in resisting potential restrictions on biotechnology and intellectual property rights. Indeed, President Bush (senior) refused to sign the CBD at the Earth Summit in Rio. Although President Clinton signed the Convention two years later, so far, the United States remains one of a small handful of countries that has not ratified the agreement, and so has refused to frame its own national laws in line with the CBD.” Policies must be put in place to protect indigenous knowledge of medicines and cures from the extractive and exclusive corporate explorers who patent local knowledge without proper recompense.

Note to Editor: Hyperlink at United States

The Fifth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties, (COP-10) and the Cartagena Protocol for Biosafety, (COP-MOP 5) will be held in Nagoya, Japan on 29 October 2010. Perhaps the cataclysmic loss of life within the coastal ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico broadcast around the world will galvanize our President and members of Congress to act responsibly to represent the best interests of her people on this blue planet we share with all life in this time of crisis. The nations of the world must be united and just if we are to come to a common accord to exercise our collective Rights of Responsibility, to protect and restore Earth’s biodiversity from potential extinctions and the effects of climate change. A welcome has been extended to the United States to join the Family of Nations in this Year of Biodiversity.

© Joseph Emmanuel Ingoldsby, 2010

Joseph Ingoldsby, writes and advocates for biodiversity. Recent works include Vanishing Landscapes and Endangered Species, The Science Exhibition: Curation & Design, Museums etc Press, UK, 2010; Icons of the Vanishing Prairies, 2009; Vanishing Landscapes: The Atlantic Salt Marsh, Leonardo Journal, 42-2-2009 MIT Press; and Requiem for a Drowning Landscape, Orion Magazine, March/April 2009.

Web site:
Blog site:

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Celebrate the International Mangrove Action Day -2010

Centre for Coastal Environmental Conservation (CCEC), an NGO celebrated the International Mangrove Action Day (26th July) -2010 at Burigoalini Union adjoining Burigoalini Forest Range Office at Shyamnagar UPZ under Satkhira District of Bangladesh. The CCEC organized a rally with the active participation of Mangroves Protection Society (MPS) members and Sundarbans stakeholders i.e. bouali (wood and thatch cutter), mouali (honey extractor), jellay(fish and crab catcher) cooperative society members. The rally moved around Datinakhali Nil-Dumur BDR/BGB Camp and Burigoalini key areas including plantation site followed by a discussion and circulation of posters and leaflets at “Sundarbans Information and Tourism Promotion centre” run by CCEC. Discussion includes on the important roll and potential of Sundarbans mangrove forest. Mangrove safe our life especially during catastrophic cyclone for example cyclone-SIDR, and cyclone-AILA. The Sundarbans mangrove is the remaining natural coastal defender of Bangladesh and acts like a mother. They also mentioned that Sundarbans mangrove is a source of livelihood, food, fuel of coastal communities and ideal habitat for biodiversity. They commit that the Sundarbans must be protected in cooperation with all concerned. The meeting was attended by Forest Officials, CCEC field supervisors Shamir Kumar Dhali, Nirapado Mondal, Nur Islam. The meeting was also represented by Mr. Shamsur Rahman the Chairperson, stakeholder cooperative society and mouali group leader Mr. Mostofa Sardar who spoke on the discussion meeting. As part of UNEP-APFED Showcase project, titled “Sundarbans crab fattening in bamboo cages and mangrove restoration as an adaptation to climate change” funded by Thailand Environment Institute (TEI).
submitted by
Mowdudur Rahman (Environ. Risk Assessment)
Founder Director
Centre for Coastal Environmental Conservation (CCEC)
IUCN-CEC (Bangladesh)
Takdir Mohal,
House # 93 Road # 2 Sonadanga R/A,
Khulna-9000, Bangladesh
Phone: 88 041 810982
Cell: 01712 995 180

Khulna Declaration

To protect lives and livelihoods of southwest coastal region from
impact of climate change and environmental degradation

Saturday, 10 July 2010, 25 Asharh 1416
Khulna, Bangladesh

We, more than two hundred representatives from different sectors of the society including Members of Parliament, Local Government, Political Parties, Researcher, Teacher, Women Rights Movement, Sociocultural organisation, Students' Organisation, Development Organisation, Small and marginal Farmer and Forest and Indigenous Communities of Southwest Coastal Region of Bangladesh,

Gathering today on tenth of July Two thousand Ten AD in the eve of 'Southwest Coastal Conference on Impact of Climate Change on Coastal Livelihood: Perspective Cyclone Aila' at Khulna Divisional City,
Recalling the potentials of world heritage the Sundarbans Mangrove Forest, fertile alluvial land, billion tons of sediments, disaster-tolerant local rice varieties, rivers and canals like arteries and rich traditional cultural practices;
Concerned for the vulnerabilities of the rural livelihoods such as small and marginal farmer, agricultural labour, fisherman and other natural resource dependant people of Southwest region due to frequent and intensive natural disasters including cyclone Aila, adverse impact of climate change and environmental degradation and unwise development initiatives;
Emphasising on emergence of short, mid and long term initiatives as because the livelihood and ecological problems becomes complicated for climate change induced vulnerabilities and adverse impacts of infrastructural mega projects financed by the Multinational Development Banks (MDBs), Transnational Corporations (TNCs) and 'Donor Organizations' from developed countries;
Solely proclaiming these 21-point demands as Khulna Declaration and urging the Government of Bangladesh to implement this declaration for sustainable rural livelihoods of southwest coastal region of Bangladesh:

1. Allocate sufficient financial resources immediately for reconstruction of cyclone Aila damaged embankments. Finalize working schedule, tender notice and other necessary activities within September 2010 to complete reconstruction of the breached embankments within December 2010. Take alternative measures to complete this task considering failure of Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) in last year;

2. Identify and repair all weakened coastal embankments of southwest coastal region in priority basis. Inter alia ensuring transparency and accountability of BWDB is must to complete this task;

3. Depositing sedimentation in cultivable wetlands of southwest coastal region is must to meet the challenges of land subsidence, sea level rise and wide-spread water logging. To achieve this end, implement Tidal River Management (TRM) in this region as an integral part of the embankments;

4. Update the Embankment Protection Act 1952 and adopt seven years jail for making hole in, illegal cut or any other damage of the embankments. Simultaneously, ensure local small and marginal farmers participation in embankment management;

5. Increase the height of coastal embankments southwest region to eight mitres like southeast and use geo-fibre and iron-net to make it capable of protecting cyclone and tidal surges. Construct roads and highways on the embankments to ensure proper and regular use of them;

6. Stop leasing of riverbanks create environments of planting mangrove forest at outside of the embankments. Stop leasing of state-owned canals and water bodies within the polder. Protect these common resources to use for freshwater reservoir for irrigation for agricultural production, and for natural fish varieties;

7. Provide agricultural tools including fertilizer, seeds and irrigation support to the cyclone Aila affected small and marginal farmers. At the same time, promote local saline and disaster tolerant varieties by banning distribution of hybrid and Genetically Modified (GM) seeds which have come from unknown sources;

8. Provide adequate scholarships and free educational materials to the cyclone Aila affected students to ensure their smooth primary, secondary and higher education;

9. Change the mindset of Cordon Approach of implementing cross dams, river training, flood control and water development, and adopt a different Embankment Management Policy with attitude of sedimentation and water management. Simultaneously, crash the upstream dams to ensure freshwater in the coastal river and canals;

10. Ban the brackish water shrimp cultivation in the agricultural land of coastal region considering its adverse long term socioeconomic and environmental impact.

11. Immediately finance and undertake socioeconomic development projects for climate victims including cyclone Aila induced refugees;

12. Create joint and continuous international pressure on the developed industrialised countries to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) emission and ensure reparations for capacity building to reduce vulnerabilities of climate induced disasters;

13. Assess environmental impacts and take local people's opinion considering negative impacts of climate change before undertaking Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank (WB), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other IFIs financed mega project in the coastal zone;

14. Establish an Adaptation and Mitigation Centre in southwest coastal region considering frequency and adversity of disasters in this region. At the same time, construct one cyclone shelter for every one thousand people in the disaster-prone areas;

15. Provide support to the poor people for constructing disaster-tolerant, environment-friendly and long-lasting houses in southwest coastal region. To this end, undertake an Integrated Settlement Plan for this region. Simultaneously, undertake sustainable measures for safe drinking water and sanitation considering increased salinity and tidal surge;

16. Protect illegal wood extraction, forest bandits and corruption to protect world's largest single track mangrove forest, the Sundarbans;

17. Stop refusing traditional rights of forest peoples of the Sundarbans in the name of conserving biodiversity after disasters like cyclone Aila. At the same time, stop using the Sundarbans as a Carbon Reservoir for corporate Carbon Trading in the name of Climate Change Mitigation;

18. Excavate and dredge dead rivers of the region and smash the entire infrastructure which are creating barrier to drainage. Keep at least fifty mitres water channel in every kilometre of roads and highways;

19. Do not allow any international debt-trade or profit-driven trade aggression to take chance of disaster, extreme salinity, climate-tolerant seed, Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), green technology, water scarcity etc.;

20. Reactivate Coastal Development Board (CDB) and implement the recommendation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan (ICZMP) for sustainable development of coastal zone;

21. Amend the National Water Policy and Agricultural Policy to incorporate specific measures for reducing vulnerabilities of coastal zone.

We again urge to the Government of Bangladesh to implement these demands of Khulna Declaration and to promote sustainable rural livelihoods of coastal disaster affected people.

Monday, June 28, 2010

MAP established the Ecological Mangrove Restoration (EMR) yahoo e-group to share information amongst mangrove restoration practitioners in the Bay of Bengal Region following an EMR workshop MAP held in AP India in 2005. EMR puts the focus on hydrology and correcting it if it's preventing natural regeneration from occurring. Using EMR often means that planting seedlings is not required and the result will be a more natural biodiverse mangrove forest. The e-group has proved to be an effective tool for information and experience sharing on mangrove restoration so the group has been opened to all others interested in EMR to join. Now the group has more than 75 members including students, NGOs, academics, and mangrove restoration practitioners from Asia, Africa, North America and Europe. The emphasis of the group is on sharing mangrove restoration information using the EMR methodology to improve the effectiveness of mangrove restoration projects but other information on mangrove conservation is also being exchanged.

To learn more about the EMR group and to request to join please go the EMR group's home page

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Prehistory of mangroves and humans in Nigeria

Dear Mangrove Action Project
I am the Nigerian Palynologist who informed you about our work on the mangroves in Nigeria some time last year. I am so sorry it took this long for me to send this.


ORIJEMIE AKPO EMUOBOSA, Palynology Laboratory, Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

In 2004, a palynological study of an 11m terrestrial core, obtained from Ahanve a village near Badagry in Lagos State, SW Nigeria was carried out by Professor M. A. Sowunmi. One of the aims of the study was to understand the palaeoenvironment of the lowland rain forest (LRF). It was found that the mangrove swamp forest (MSF) was abundant there from the Early Holocene to Mid Holocene (ca 9500-5500 yrs B.P.). However, the MSF declined gradually from the Mid Holocene, and completely disappeared ca 3100yrs B.P. Today, the MSF is not present in the area; the vegetation is a fresh water swamp, dominated by Typha australis. This drastic change in vegetation was unexpected, and thus prompted a further study of the vegetation history of the LRF and MSF in the west coast of Nigeria during the Late Holocene.

More palynological studies of the Lowland Rainforest (LRF) of Southwestern Nigeria during the Late Holocene have been undertaken. The aims of these studies are broadly to reconstruct the palaeoenvironment of the mangroves and ascertain the impact of human interactions with rainforest in this same period (the Late Holocene). Sediment cores with varying depths from three other sites (Ogudu [6m], Otolu [0.45m] and Ikorigho [2m]) along the coasts of SW Nigeria, and one from Ahanve [2m] were obtained. The palynological studies of these cores have been carried out. Furthermore, archaeological excavations were conducted in Ahanve, the same village where the MSF had disappeared some 3100 yrs ago. The aims of this archaeological angle are to ascertain the antiquity of humans there and whether humans actually contributed to the disappearance of the MSF.

The palynological studies have revealed that though environmental and vegetation changes were noted in all the sites, they were comparatively very serious at Ahanve, where a drastic reduction of the LRF and complete disappearance of the MSF occurred some 3100yrs B.P. This change in vegetation has been linked primarily with natural followed by anthropogenic influence. Changes in climate, hydrology, geomorphology and salinity of the mangrove swamp were the initial natural factors that led to the decline and disappearance of the MSF at Ahanve. The dry phase that occurred ca 4500-3000yrs across Africa led to the destruction of the MSF; the Atlantic Ocean was then cut off from Ahanve while fresh water inundated from neighboring rivers and the Badagry creek lowered the salinity of the swamp. All these contributed to the destruction of the MSF there.
These events occurred concomitantly with reductions in rainforest taxa, appearance and increase in secondary forest species, (Elaeis guineensis (oil palm), Alchornea sp), grasses (Poaceae) and weeds (Asteraceae) associated with human habitation. Furthermore, there was a significant increase in microscopic charcoal towards the beginning of the Ahanve core. This indicated the burning of fuel wood by humans. Thus, although the reduction of the MSF at Ahanve was initially caused by change in climate, human activities, presumably felling and burning of forest trees, consequently exacerbated the situation. This led to the total destruction of the MSF.

At the other sites where cores were obtained, the MSF is still present there today. However, the reconstructed palaeoenvironment show that the MSFs in these areas were more extensive in the past. There were also alternating periods of dry and wet. Though these fluctuations in climate affected the MSF especially at dry periods, the MSF recovered when conditions became favorable. However, since the recent past, there have been consistent reductions in the MSF noted both in fossil mangrove pollen and ethnographic records. In addition, there were unprecedented and consistent increases in microscopic charcoal towards the top of all the sediment cores. These charcoal specks are not considered to have resulted from natural fires. Their consistent occurrence and increase even during periods considered to be wet are indications that they were caused by humans. It is presumed that the charcoal specks were derived from the burning of forest trees as domestic fuel.
Therefore, the palynological studies reveal that humans, beginning from some time in the Late Holocene have been having serious impacts on the LRF and MSF in SW Nigeria. Today, the factors having serious effects on mangroves are: felling of the mangrove trees for fuel, conversion of mangrove swamp for other purposes such as building, and dredging of the mangrove swamp. All these human activities alter the ecology of the MSF and destroy mangroves.

Two test pits were excavated at Ahanve. The test pits, named TP1 and TP2, were 210 cm and 110cm deep respectively. The recovered materials includes: Pottery, charcoal, animal and fish bones, rusty nails (iron objects), iron slag, snail and bivalve shells, hearth, palm kernel shells, smoking pipes, snail and bivalve shells and glass beads .
From the archaeological finds, there are indications that the Ahanve people gathered food resources such as the African giant snails (Achatina achatina), fresh water bivalve/clam (Anodonta sp), and possibly engaged in fishing cat fish (Clarias cf. gariepinus). There are also indications that the people hunted. The occurrence of iron slag, hearth, charcoal and charred palm kernel nuts through out the two test pits is an indication of the prehistoric use of fire by humans in Ahanve. But, it is not yet certain, from the archaeological records, if humans contributed to the disappearance of the MSF there ca. 3100yrs B.P.

Unfortunately, dates for these events are not yet available. With the availability of C14 dates, it would be possible to know when these palaeoenvironmental events occurred. Furthermore, a correlation of, and situation of all these sites within a regional (and global) context will be made possible. This will contribute to our understanding of how well to relate with our environment by learning from the past

Best wishes,
Orijemie A Emuobosa

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Xcacel Action Letter UPDATE

Life is always changing as long as humans are in command of our world, and that is a fact. But to the lives of the aquatic animals, it appears that we humans are really testing their future existence, in particular, the majestic sea turtles. With the non stopping oil gushing from the deeps of the Gulf of México, it is time that we demand a future, and for more than just for us.

We need to demand the right of life, and this is something that has been pushed aside to much these days to make way for money making, which along the Yucatan's Riviera Maya is total wall to wall construction with no let up in sight as long and the government has a pen in their SEMARNAT signing hand.

We the public, must stand up and say we have had enough! ...and let’s start with a BIG NO!!!! to all hotel constructions on Xcacel turtle nesting beach. Please, WE NEED THE WORLD TO HELP US NOW. Send a letter to the authorities and demand that the building craze in the Mexican Caribbean take a moment to think, let’s keep one beach sacred, and natural, AT LEAST! and Xcacel is the most abundant with nests in all of the Atlantic ocean for turtle counts of both the logger head and green sea turtles.

Elvira Quesada, our ecology Secretary has stated that he will demand from BP any and all funds if and when there are problems with anything dealing with this oil disaster that is unfolding in the Gulf, i.e. the migrating animals to México , the turtles, etc.…..let’s see if he really means what he states…he can show us by protecting Xcacel.

Once again,

Xcacel-Xcacelito, the famous Turtle Sanctuary beach of Mexico, located 100 Km. south of Cancun in the tourist corridor of the Riviera Maya, is in peril again. Xcacel is known as one of the most beautiful white sandy beaches of the Mexican Caribbean coastline. But this is not all that it is known for, for also there are the 7000 turtle nests each year that dot this untouched-to-date beach bluff, along with plants, animals, cenotes, and underground river systems. For this, Xcacel is one of the world’s most important turtle nesting beaches and for the Atlantic Ocean, THE MOST IMPORTANT, nesting beach, representing 20% of all loggerheads and 22% of all green sea turtles, in the Atlantic Ocean born to this beach.

Xcacel beach status is in BIG trouble. In the last 3 weeks, the Mexican government, to be more specific SEMARNAT, under the directions of Juan Elvira Quesada with the help of his signing sidekick, Mauricio Limon, has signed away the lifeblood of this most important beach, yes, for more hotels. A new project Punta Carey (same project that was rejected in 2004 and again in 2006) has just been given permission to build, with their PHASE #1 project, which includes the constructions of 30 apartments, 104 hotel rooms, a club house, beach services, security control access office and roads on the 26 hectares (2 ½ acres = 1 hectare) of beachfront land that will be located on the northern boundary of the Marine Turtle Sanctuary.

Being such a fragile zone, any development, even a low impact project, is not worth jeopardizing such a successful reproduction area for this particular endangered species. It has been proven around the world that building hotels on a turtle nesting site will kill off all future turtle nestings. If the laying sea turtle cannot return to the beach that she was born at, then she will have no choice except to deposit her eggs into the ocean, where they will drown.

We ask for all citizens around the world to help us. The Mexican government will listen if the world speaks. Please copy and paste the following sample letter to the following Mexican politicians today…

Sample letter:

Dear Mexican Government officials,

Please exercise all of the power in your authority to stop the planned constructions on the Sea Turtle sanctuary known as Xcacel-Xcacelito, especially, now after the disaster from the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill on April 20th, 2010. Please decree federal protected status for the turtle sanctuary and bordering regions of Playa Xcacel and Playa Xcacelito in Quintana Roo. We know that the national Commission of natural Protected Areas (CONANP) has completed and published studies in 2005 assigning sanctuary status for these world important 360 hectares of Xcacel and Xcacelito. We are asking for further protection extending from the reef west through the wetland jungle to the paralleling Highway 307. In addition to the endangered marine turtles who return annually solely to this beach to nest, this zone contains endangered mangroves and other endangered plants. This is of critical ecological importance not only to this region but also to Mexico and the international community. It is a RAMSAR protected site # 1351. It is also one of the last public undeveloped beaches for locals and tourists to enjoy.


Your name_______________

Officials to write to in the Mexican Federal Government;;;;;;

Felipe Calderon
Presidente Constitucional de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos
Residencia Presidencial de los Pinos
Puerto Central, Primer Piso
Colonial San Miguel Chapultepec
Mexico, DF CP 11850
Tel: 555-522-4117

Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada
Secretaria del Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT)
Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources
Lateral de Anillo Periférico Sur 4209, 6 Piso
Fraccionamiento Jardines de la Montana, Delegación Tlalpan
México, DF CP 14210
Tel: 555-628-0602
Fax: 555-628-0643

Lic. Mauricio Limón Aguirre
Subsecretario de Gestión para la Protección Ambiental
Tel: 555-624-3544 o 5
Fax: 555-624-3680

Félix González Canto

Gobierno del Estado de Quintana Roo
Governor of the State of Quintana Roo
Submitted by SAVE A.C.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Letter to Editor

Editor, The Seattle Times

Letters to the Editor

May 23, 2010

Dear Editor,

I’m responding to your May 21st article "Local business owners planning for fallout from Gulf oil disaster," by Mellisa Allison and Amy Martinez, describing a Seattle restaurant owner procuring his shrimp from Mexico, rather than from the US Gulf Coast. While the oil leak disaster will produce serious shortages of Gulf Coast shrimp, why add fuel to an already raging ecological fire by substituting imported farm-raised shrimp for US shrimp? The level of US demand is itself unsustainable and contributing to massive mangrove forest losses, fisheries declines and human rights abuses just to feed our thoughtless appetite in the US for cheap shrimp. We need to see a reduction of our consumption, rather than try to fill the "gap" left by the BP created disaster! Mangrove Action Project has recently launched its Question Your Shrimp consumer campaign aimed at consumers, chefs and retailers, urging a reduction in shrimp consumption levels from 4.4 lbs. per capita to levels 10 years ago of 2.2 lbs. We need to half our consumption, rather than attempt to maintain it. Otherwise, our dining habits will cause an even greater ecological disaster, which our Mother Earth herself can no longer stomach!

Alfredo Quarto,

Executive Director

Mangrove Action Project

Reader Submitted Poetry

Hi alfredo. It's Helen. I had to write a poem for school on an injustice. I did it about the mangroves. My mom told me to send it to you, so here it is.

People don't notice the mangroves,
They are blind to the fish that swim between their roots,
To the birds that perch on their branches,
And to the clean blue water that surrounds the trees.

People don't notice the mangroves,
They see a "wasteland" to develop,
A useless swamp to turn into a road,
A place to farm shrimp and then to abandon.

People don't notice the mangroves,
Gone are the mangroves of Uran,
They cut down the trees and the fishing villages died,
The birds are silent and the water is dirtied,
The soil erodes and CO2 is released to poison the sky.

People should notice the mangroves,
They should protect the trees, not kill them,
Before there are no mangroves left not to notice.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Letter to Mexico's President

Dear President Calderonl,

I am the executive director of Mangrove Action Project, a global network with over 400 member NGOs and 300 scientists, working on mangrove conservation and restoration issues. We have just learned of your government's plans to allow hotel development on and adjacent to the turtle nesting beach at X'Cacel on the Yucatan Peninsula. We are aware that the tourism industry is eager to develop all it can of the so-called Mayan Riviera, but we are concerned that your nation will sell out its unique natural resources for investment capitol that will be as short-lived as it is short-sighted and inappropriate for the future of your nation. The natural beauty and bounty of your country is in your natural resources and healthy ecosystems, which themselves contribute immensely to a healthy economy and are the actual tourist attraction that bring tourism business to Mexico. So, the planned development at X'Cacel is actually a detriment to your nation's economy, not an asset as the developer would have you believe.

Please take immediate action to halt this short-sighted development at X'Cacel, saving not only the massive turtle nesting of endangered sea turtles but also saving Mexico's reputation as a land that attracts because of its natural beauty not its artificial facade that not only hides but destroys Mexico's true nature for all generations to come!

Please exercise all of the power in your authority to stop the planned constructions on the Sea Turtle sanctuary known as Xcacel-Xcacelito. Please decree federal protected status for the turtle sanctuary and bordering regions of Playa Xcacel and Playa Xcacelito in Quintana Roo. We know that the national Commission of natural Protected Areas (CONANP) has completed and published studies in 2005 assigning sanctuary status for these world important 360 hectares of Xcacel and Xcacelito. We are asking for further protection extending from the reef west through the wetland jungle to the paralleling Highway 307. In addition to the endangered marine turtles who return annually solely to this beach to nest, this zone contains endangered mangroves and other endangered plants. This is of critical ecological importance not only to this region but also to Mexico and the international community. It is a RAMSAR protected site # 1351. It is also one of the last public undeveloped beaches for locals and tourists to enjoy.

For A Sustainable Future,

Alfredo Quarto,

Executive Director

Mangrove Action Project

POBox 1854

Port Angeles, WA 98362-0279


(360) 452-5866

Attn. Lic. Felipe Calderon
Presidente Constitucional de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos
Residencia Presidencial de los Pinos
Puerto Central, Primer Piso
Colonial San Miguel Chapultepec
Mexico, DF CP 11850
Tel: 555-522-4117

cc: Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada
Secretaria del Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT)
Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources
Lateral de Anillo Periférico Sur 4209, 6 Piso
Fraccionamiento Jardines de la Montana
Delegación Tlalpan
México, DF CP 14210
Tel: 555-628-0602
Fax: 555-628-0643

Lic. Mauricio Limón Aguirre

Subsecretario de Gestión para la Protección Ambiental

Tel: 555-624-3544 o 5

Fax: 555-624-3680


Félix González Canto
Gobierno del Estado de Quintana Roo
Governor of the State of Quintana Roo

Friday, May 14, 2010

Blatant destruction of Mangroves Comments

Below is the text message we received from one of our readers on May 13, 2010

I am writing about another instance of ongoing Mangrove destruction. This is happening in Dahisar a western suburb of Mumbai. Approximately 50 acres of Mangroves are being destroyed currently by the construction of a road that will completely surround this area. Another 400 odd acres are under threat. My purpose is to bring this issue to as public and powerful a platform as I can, to try and save the Mangroves, even though it may already be too late.
The current crisis has arisen as a direct fallout of the Supreme Court of India's order allowing some old disused 'bunds' to be repaired. In its order the Court has stipulated that the height of the 'bunds' should not be raised and the repair should be carried out without any damage to the Mangroves. Armed with this permission from the highest Legal authority in the country, and in the guise of repairing the 'bunds', close to a thousand truck loads of construction debris and excavation debris is being dumped in the mangroves. A 60 ft road is being created to completely surround the mangroves and Mangroves have been cut. This has all been documented by members of a local residents forum and a local conservationist and environmental activist. Appeals to local authorities have thus far yielded nothing but lip-service. We believe that politicians, the police, the civil service have all been paid off. For close to three weeks 50-75 trucks a day have been dumping debris.
Local residents now face the threat of police arrest if we venture into the mangroves because they are private land and we can be charged with tresspassing. However, the destruction of the mangroves keeps happening and no one can be charged for breaking laws in place to protect them.
I would like to know if there is some way this organisation can help us in highlighting this issue and putting pressure on the government. Let me know and accordingly I can have someone write a well written article
Thank You.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Help us recruit Daryl Hanna as MAPs spokesperson for the Mangroves!

This is a petition needing your supportive signature to 'draft' Daryl Hannah into being the voice of the mangroves! Ms. Hannah as the mermaid from Splash has that coastal wetland connection making her the ideal candidate to speak for the mangroves. Mangroves cannot speak for themselves, and too often we at MAP can only reach a small number of people at any one time. A more well-known person, such as Daryl Hannah could reach millions of people, whom we really need to motivate to help MAP in our ongoing efforts to save the mangroves. And, the mangroves need such a vibrant spokesperson and conservation activist to raise awareness for this globally important and threatened marine edge ecosystem. Mangroves support a wide array of endangered species, including the Royal Bengal tiger of the Sundarban, proboscis monkeys, spotted deer, sea turtles, a myriad of marine life from shrimp to fin fish, crabs to manatees, flocks of migratory water birds to monitor lizards. Mangroves also support traditional peoples along the coasts of Africa, Asia and Latin America, providing livelihoods and basic essentials for countless fishing communities who are now struggling against an incoming tide of unsustainable development, threatening both their lives and their cultures. Mangroves are also vital in the fight against climate change, sequestering nearly 25% of the Earth%u2019s carbon. They also provide a living buffer against rising sea levels, ocean waves, hurricanes and even tsunamis. Mangrove Action Project needs Darly Hannah to help us reach more people and to speak as the voice for the mangroves which otherwise cannot speak for themselves. Help us draft Darly Hannah as our spokesperson by signing our petition today!
Sign MAPs petition by following this link:

Please Save the Endangered Bimini Island Boa

Thank you for your interest and support of the Global Insular Conservation Society (GICS), a 501(c)(3) Corporation, where our vision is "Preserving Species and Habitat Through Education, Conservation and Research".

Edgar Fortune, President and CEO of GICS has entered into a partnership with Dr. Samuel Gruber, Lead Scientist and Owner of the Bimini Biological Field Station (BBFS) to conduct a field based research project aimed at benefiting the endangered Bimini Boa (Epicrates striatus fosteri). The planned date for the project is 2010.

The destruction of the native mangrove forests and sea grass in the name of development has catastrophic potential for the future of many species of animals; sharks, shell fish, birds, reptiles etc. that rely on these forests (both above and below the water) for their survival and very existence. A short film documenting the threats to the sawfish, native to the waters off of Bimini does an excellent job of summing up the impacts and threats to this ecosystem - we encourage you to watch it at:

Before we can help a species like the Bimini Boa we must first do our best to understand them; know their habitat, range, population numbers, sensitivities, adaptability and susceptibilities.

Only through sound research can we give such a species an effective voice in the face of progress. One that will speak confidently, eloquently, and accurately to the impacts further development will have on their species survival. Animals are being counted, populations estimated, individuals are weighed, measured and fitted with transponders to better understand their range and territories.

Snakes in general present a unique challenge to researchers in that they do not feed daily like most other animals and reptiles. A snake can go weeks and in some cases months in-between feedings making it very difficult to conduct a census and making radio telemetry studies on those that you do find all that much more important.

In partnering with BBFS, GICS offers extensive expertise in working with snakes and hopes to help further this research and help in the efforts to save this and other species threatened by the ever expanding foot print of man.

We are asking for donations that will benefit the Bimini Island Boa through conservation related activities that include:

1. Surveying the population to assess their
threatened status
2. Comparing sub-adult and adult behaviors
via radio telemetry
3. Permanently marking individuals with
Passive Integrated Transponders (PIT tags)
4. Documenting habitat preferences and
5. Conducting a conservation education
program for the local community

Your contribution will help support our efforts in raising $12,000 to fund this project. Without donations the Bimini Boa will most likely fall to extinction without so much as a footnote in history. All donations are appreciated.

If you would like to make a donation or more information about the Endangered Bimini Island Boa please contact Edgar Fortune at

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Urgent Appeal For Halt to Mangrove Destruction at Bimini!

The following is a copy of my letter to Dr. Earl Deveaux, Minister of Environment, The Bahamas
This is a follow up letter to one i sent earlier urging him to take a stand to protect Bimini's shores.

Dear Dr. Deveaux,

It seems that in the last month of waiting for your action in regards to the illicit clearing of mangrove wetlands at Bimini Island, there has been no meaningful action taken to halt the destruction there. Also, I have received word that you have taken no action in defining the boundaries of the promised Marine Protected Area. So, in essence, nothing has changed except the further despoilment of Bimini progresses without interruption. Is this then your intended "action" in this regards? Are you then complicit with the loss of the island's mangroves and all the life that this ecosystem supports?

We at MAP are disappointed in this lack of interest on your part to take any corrective action in regards to the ongoing loss of Bimini's invaluable mangrove wetlands and consequent deterioration of the marine habitat there. What kind of MPA is your government planning to finally protect there, when you are allowing through your very inaction the loss of the most valuable attributes that make that MPA designation meaningful? Is it right in your mind to make a sham of your own Prime Minister's stated intent to create that MPA? Does Mr. Ingraham not himself feel some disappointment in this lack of authority, lack of respect for his word that this whole situation entails?

It was reported last month that you blamed your underlings for the problems of badly managing the development issues there at Bimini, but this time you were duly alerted in February, and still you could not act effectively or in a timely manner. I would say the buck must stop at your door this time, Mr. Deveaux! Will you please act now to manage the intended MPA at Bimini and save what is left before future generation in your country are robbed of any meaningful semblance of what Bimini was and is meant to be?

Toward a Future for Bimini,

Alfredo Quarto,
Executive Director
Mangrove Action Project

Farmers Urged to ban Saline Water Shrimp Cultivation in Coastal Region of Bangladesh

From: Humanitywatch

Speakers in a Human Chain and Procession in Khulna stressed for an order from Government to prohibit saline water intrusion in the agricultural land for shrimp farming towards longevity of the coastal embankments and sustainable agriculture in Coastal Zone of Bangladesh. They also demanded to undertake Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Programme to foster country's development with equity and justice. Humanitywatch along with other more than 29 organizations including Saline Water Protesting Committee, Association of Landless People and Dacope Citizens' Committee organized the program under Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (CSRL) on 1st April 2010 in front of Khulna District Council. Hundreds of landless farmer, agricultural labour, political leaders, civil society representatives, non-government organization leaders and professional association leaders participated in the program. The human chain chaired by educationalist Professor Jafar Imam and conducted by humanitywatch chief executive Hasan Mehedi.

Humanitywatch along with members from Ganges Floodplain Agroecological zone AOSED, CDP, Dhrupad, EFADF, Ideal, IDF, Jago Nari, JJS, Khalifa Foundation, Ledars, Locos, Muktir Alo, NSS, PGUS, Prodipan, Progoti, Rupayan, Saco, SPS, Sodesh, Uddom and Campaign lead Uttaran organized the Human Chain and Submission of Memorandum with active support from BELA, Nijera Kori, Dacope Nagorik Parishad, Lobonjol Protirodh Committee and Bhumihin Sangathan.

The speakers said, the agriculture and livestock of coastal zone already have declined due to excessive saline water intrusion by cutting the embankments for brackish water shrimp cultivation. Situation of poverty has reduced in all of the regions of Bangladesh except the southwest coastal zone due to shrimp cultivation. Some people become rich with the shrimp, but millions of people become poorer from the poor. The largest mangrove forest, Sundarbans, also destroyed due to denuding its buffer zone and adjacent agroforestry trends.

The farmers said, the embankments weakened before cyclone Aila because the shrimp farm owners cut embankments in more than hundred places, installed more than 3 hundred illegal sluice gates, and more than 3 thousand 7 hundred pipes in the embankments. So, they are solely responsible for collapsing the embankments in cyclone Aila. With collaboration of Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) the shrimp farm owners are still trying to stop rehabilitation of the embankments, they complained.

According to the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan (ICZMP) and Manual of BWDB, brackish water shrimp cultivation is totally prohibited in some polders. Moreover, the Supreme Court has ordered the government to protect cultivable land from saline water in its judgement on 15 February 2010. But the shrimp farm owners ignored all laws and regulations, the civil society leaders said.

The speakers urged the government to implement 8 point demand including implementing Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), banning industrial shrimp cultivation in agricultural land, dismantling all illegal sluice gates, pipes and cuts, punishment of responsible persons for damaging embankments, compensation from shrimp farm owners for social and environmental loss, distributing Khasland and common water bodies to the landless common people, amendment of Embankment and Drainage Act 1952, adoption of a new Embankment Management Policy with options of participation, tidal river management (TRM) and joint management etc.

Among others Jalal Uddin of Nijera Kori, Mahfuzur Rahman Mukul of BELA, Agriculturist Tayyebur Rahman of EFADF, Alamgir Islam Lablu of SPS, Deb Prosad Roy of Locos, Abu Hasan Bakul of Muktir Alo, Khalid Hossain of Rupayan, SM Solayman of IDF, Swapon Kumar Das of Dalit, Habibur Rahman Kabir of NEEDS, Mamunur Rashid of Juba Nagorik Samaj, Farmers' Leader Abdul Jalil, Kader Mollah and Arnika Dhali, Amiya Das, Atiar Rahman and Jahanara Begum of Labonjol Protirodh Committee, Chitta Goldar and SA Rashid of Communist Party of Bangladesh, Rafiqul Huq Khokon of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Manirul Huq Bacchu of Biplobi Communist Party, Dr. Samaresh Mondal of Workers Party, Shariful Islam Salim of Humanitywatch and Hasan Mehedi of Aila Durgoto Sanghati Mancho addressed the participants.

National electronic media Ekushe Television and Banglavision telecasted the program in their news. Local daily newspapers daily Purbanchal, daily Janmabhumi, daily Probaho, daily Probartan, daily Anirban and daily Tathya along with National daily newspapers such as Daily Sangbad, Daily Kaler Kantho, Daily Jaijaidin, Daily Samakal, Daily Jugantor and Daily Newage published the news of the program

Please click on the links to see the news.

Daily Sangbad:

Daily Kaler Kantho:

Daily Jaijaidin:

Daily Samakal:

Daily Jugantor:

See the more photos:

Thank you all