Partnering with mangrove forest communities, grassroots NGOs, researchers and local governments to conserve and restore mangrove forests and related coastal ecosystems, while promoting community-based, sustainable management of coastal resources.
The MAP News
Study Finds Economic, Environmental Costs Of Mangrove Destruction Higher Than Previously Believed
USA - Nearly 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere annually due to the continued destruction of coastal ecosystems, according to a recent report. The study, entitled Estimating Global ‘Blue Carbon’ Emissions from Conversion and Degradation of Vegetated Coastal Ecosystems”, was published this month by Duke University and examines the global and economic impacts of the loss of coastal-marine ecosystems that stored immense amounts of carbon. It finds that these devastated ecosystems caused $US 6-42 billion in economic damages and the emissions they released is equal to 3-19% of the emissions that comes from deforestation globally. “Up until this study, people didn’t realize how big of a potential emissions source blue carbon destruction – and the destruction of these coastal marine ecosystems – was,” says Duke University Research Professor and Director of Economic Analysis Brian Murray. Aside from a few finance mechanisms that use payments to preserve coastal ecosystems, the mangrove forests, salt marshes and seagrasses that make up Earth’s coastal ecosystems aren’t protected through economic incentives. Market forces give incentives to convert coastal habitat for agricultural and real estate purposes, the report says, and not for preservation. READ MORE
Guyana village women combine mangrove protection with small businesses
GUYANA - Women in a seaside village in Guyana, backed by government and European Union funding, are combining commercial activities like beekeeping and food processing with spreading the word on the importance of protecting their coastal mangroves. The women of Victoria, an east coast village, are taking part in the Guyana Mangrove Restoration Project, which currently generates only modest employment and income but has the potential, they believe, to produce good economic returns. Carlotta De Jesus, chairwoman of a body involved in the project, told Alertnet in October “I am also a tour guide and beekeeper. We teach people the various benefits of having the mangroves. They not only protect us from the sea but also provide a habitat for animals and fishes.” READ MORE
People power vs Big Oil
NIGERIA - In days, Nigeria's Parliament could approve a $5 billion fine against giant oil polluter Shell for a spill that devastated the lives of millions of people, and pass a law to hold all oil companies to account for polluting and plundering. This is a watershed moment, but unless we all speak out, oil giants will crush it. Finally, Big Oil is having to pay for the wasteland and violence that they’ve created. President Jonathan supports the Shell fine, and progressive Senators are pushing for strong regulations, but oil companies are slick, and without huge international support MPs could buckle under the pressure. Politicians are deciding their positions right now -- sign the urgent petition for the Nigerian Parliament to fine Shell and support the bill, and then forward this page to everyone -- when we hit a million signers we'll bring our unprecedented global call to the steps of Nigeria's Parliament. SIGN PETITION
Sunderbans women turn crusaders to save mangrove
BANGLADESH - Battling climate change, hundreds of women from all over the fragile islands of Sunderbans have now turned into crusaders by guarding their hamlets with mangrove forests. Their husbands had once cleared these mangroves for firewood but now they realise that only the mangroves can act as sentinels against floods and cyclonic storms, the intensity and frequency of which has increased due to climate change. In Patharpratima block’s West Surendranagar village 30-year-old Anindita Das, who leads a women self-help group, finishes her household chores quickly in the morning and starts planting mangrove saplings bordering the banks of the river which had played havoc during the 2009 cyclonic storm Aila. Along with eight such self-help groups and funding from international NGO Save the Children, around 90 women in this village began by growing mangrove saplings in small nurseries close to their huts. READ MORE
Coasts, mudflats are vanishing, research shows
CHINA - Coastal aquaculture and land reclamation are swallowing about 61 percent of the country's natural shorelines and up to 33 percent of its mudflats, report shows. The shorelines and mudflats are important in preventing coastal erosion. The report, released by the State Oceanic Administration on Friday, said more shorelines and mudflats will disappear if no effective measures are taken to protect the country's fragile coastal environment. Guan Daoming, deputy director of the National Marine Environmental Monitoring Center, said authorities should control human activities in coastal areas because such areas are important to the marine biological system. The maintenance of mudflats can help prevent coastal erosion, dilute pollutants and support a large population of wildlife such as mangrove forests and migratory birds, he said. Research shows that one hectare of mudflats can purify excess nitrogen and phosphorus from 100 hectares of farmland, which is the most effective way to filter out agricultural pollution and industrial sewage. READ MORE
EMS leaves trail of destruction in Asia
THAILAND - Could early mortality syndrome (EMS) - the latest shrimp disease to hit Asian shrimp producers China, Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand - be because of industrial pollution? That is the question president of Charoen Pokphand Group's Agro-industry and Foods business, Dr Chingchai Lohawatanakul posed to audiences at GOAL 2012. He made his case with a few examples: In the southern tip of the Malaysian peninsula, in the state of Johor, 80 percent of shrimp have died from EMS. Johor is nearest to Singapore, home to the world’s biggest oil refinery capacity and one of the world’s busiest ports and ship repair yards. In another example, he said Thailand’s biggest industrial zone in the province of Rayong, the world’s 8 biggest petrochemical production area, had its first case of EMS. “Is EMS a symptom of industrial pollution and environmental degradation?” he asked. “We are waiting for answers as soon as possible." READ MORE
Mainstreaming Mangroves Regional Symposium in Southeast Asia
INDONESIA – A Regional Symposium on mangrove ecosystem management in Southeast Asia has been scheduled for Feb. 11-13, 2013, in Surabaya, East Jawa, Indonesia. Mangrove ecosystems are threatened by climate change. We review the state of knowledge of mangrove vulnerability and responses to predicted climate change and consider adaptation options, of all the climate change outcomes, relative sea-level rise may be the greatest threat to mangroves. Most mangrove sediment surface elevations are not keeping pace with sea-level rise, although longer term studies from a larger number of regions are needed. Rising Sea-level will have the greatest impact on mangroves experiencing net lowering in sediment elevation. Where there is limited area for landward migration. The Indian Oscan Pichavaram mangroves have been demonstrated to be at high risk substantial reductions. There is less certainty over other climate change outcomes and mangrove responses. More research is needed on assessment methods and standard indicators of change in response to effects from climate change, while regional monitoring networks are needed to observe these responses to enable educated adaptation measures can off set anticipates mangroves losses and improve resistance and resilience to climate change. READ MORE
Japan's ban of Indian shrimp a boon to Thai export
THAILAND - Thai shrimp exporters will enjoy a windfall as Japan has found ethoxyquin contamination in imports from India. "Shrimp exports from India have been banned because of the use of antibiotics, which Vietnam and China are also doing," said Somsak Praneetatyasai, president of the Thai Shrimp Association. Japan has toughened inspections of shrimp from Vietnam and China for ethoxyquin residue levels exceeding its limits. The problem has caused Japan to order more Thai shrimp. Shrimp farmers in Thailand use more pro-biotic medicine instead of antibiotics. Under Japan's standards, such residue in imported goods should not exceed 0.01 part per million in any shipment. Thailand's total shrimp exports will reach 350,000-360,000 tonnes this year. Both volume and value are estimated to drop by 10 per cent. Last year, the country sold 390,000-450,000 tonnes worth Bt100 billion overseas. READ MORE
Learning sustainable growth of mangroves
PAKISTAN - Renowned biologist and agriculturist Dr Ranjith Mahindapala from Sri Lanka conducted a two-day workshop for local coastal communities to help them learn proper management and sustainable growth of mangroves, a source of their livelihood. The workshop organized by Mangroves for the Future Programme was participated by 32 representatives of different community based organizations (CBOs) that are actively working along the coasts of Sindh and Balochistan. The event that concluded here on Friday evening was mainly focussed on training of the selected participants in project management and proposal writing. The purpose of the workshop was to equip the local CBOs so that they can address the needs of the coastal communities in a better manner, said Dr Mahindapala. READ MORE
Central America estimated to lose $10b from greenhouse gasses
EL SALVADORE - A resident steers his canoe past mangroves at the small community of La Tirana, about 110 kilometres (68 miles) from San Salvador August 3, 2012. Because of its location as a thin strip of land between two oceans in a tropical zone, Central America is one of the regions most vulnerable to greenhouse gases. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) estimates that the area stands to lose $10 billion over the next four years for this reason alone. The damage is not confined to El Salvador, Central America's smallest country, but also its neighbours. Across the region, large tracts of mangroves have also been destroyed by the shrimp and hotel industry, the cultivation of palm oil and sugarcane, as well as salt fields. According to a FAO study, Central America's mangroves as a whole declined by 35 percent between 1980 and 2005 in terms of hectares. Honduran mangroves decreased by 56 percent, Nicaragua's forests by 37 percent and Panama by 32 percent. VIEW SOURCE
Protecting Brazil's Coastal Wetlands
BRAZIL - The potential effects of the conversion of 10% of the mangrove wetlands of northern Brazil resulting from national policy have been voiced in Science. The situation in reality may become much worse than envisaged. The northern coastal wetlands of Brazil are part of one of the world’s most continuous belts of mangrove forests, stretching for 2000 km from Brazil to Venezuela, over 1500 km of which forms a unique geological system characterized by the permanent recycling of fluid muds migrating alongshore from the Amazon, the link between mangroves and muds having contributed to the seaward growth of large coastal plain over the last 5000 years, while playing a very active role in the promotion and export of biosphere diversity at the world scale through geological time. Conversion into agricultural land and shrimp ponds has become rampant in Surinam and especially Guyana, and this can only be further compounded in the coming years by the policy change in Brazil.It is important recalling that mangroves offer efficient protection against waves and are major world carbon stores. The coming situation will endanger the ecological and defence functions assured by the unique association between mangroves and muds in South America. The rampant mangrove deforestation will result in fragmentation of this unique Amazon-dominated system. READ MORE
Cohen report calls for 8-year salmon farming ban
USA – The final report on Justice Bruce Cohen’s CAD 26 million investigation of British Columbia’s Fraser River sockeye salmon, shows no “smoking gun” for the 17-year decline of the stocks. “The Uncertain Future of Fraser River Sockeye” gives 75 recommendations to improve the future sustainability of the fishery. While the inquiry uncovered extensive information about potential causes for the decline of Fraser River sockeye, it also showed how much is still unknown about individual stressors as well as cumulative effects and delayed effects. Cohen also found that stressors specific to the Fraser River, as well as region-wide influences, may both have contributed to the long-term decline. Cohen said that further research is crucial to understanding the decline, especially in the areas of migratory and feeding patterns. Cohen recommended that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) no longer be responsible for promoting salmon farming as an industry and farmed salmon as a product. He concluded that salmon farms along the sockeye migration route in the Discovery Islands have the potential to introduce exotic diseases and to aggravate endemic diseases that can have a negative impact on Fraser River sockeye. READ MORE
Sockeye decline remains a mystery
CANADA - The final report on Justice Bruce Cohen’s $26 million investigation of British Columbia’s Fraser River sockeye salmon shows no “smoking gun” for the 17-year decline of the stocks, according to a conservation charity. Alfredo Quarto of the Mangrove Action Project (MAP) observes that “The Uncertain Future of Fraser River Sockeye” gives 75 recommendations to improve the future sustainability of the fishery. While the inquiry uncovered extensive information about potential causes for the decline of Fraser River sockeye, it also showed how much is still unknown about individual stressors as well as cumulative effects and delayed effects. Cohen also found that stressors specific to the Fraser River, as well as region-wide influences, may both have contributed to the long-term decline. Cohen said that further research is crucial to understanding the decline, especially in the areas of migratory and feeding patterns. READ MORE
Editors Note: Another reason that mangroves are so important to combat climate change. If we lose the mangroves, sea grass beds become degraded or die because of siltation and water turbidity caused by erosion. This both natural carbon storage systems are effectively decommissioned with resulting increase in carbon release as sea grasses and mangroves become sources rather than sinks. A copy of the abstract is posted below. For a copy of the paper please contact your library service or other sources.
Seagrass ecosystems as a globally significant carbon stock
USA - The protection of organic carbon stored in forests is considered as an important method for mitigating climate change. Like terrestrial ecosystems, coastal ecosystems store large amounts of carbon, and there are initiatives to protect these ‘blue carbon’ stores. Organic carbon stocks in tidal salt marshes and mangroves have been estimated, but uncertainties in the stores of seagrass meadows—some of the most productive ecosystems on Earth—hinder the application of marine carbon conservation schemes. Here, we compile published and unpublished measurements of the organic carbon content of living seagrass biomass and underlying soils in 946 distinct seagrass meadows across the globe. Using only data from sites for which full inventories exist, we estimate that, globally, seagrass ecosystems could store as much as 19.9 Pg organic carbon; according to a more conservative approach, in which we incorporate more data from surface soils and depth-dependent declines in soil carbon stocks, we estimate that the seagrass carbon pool lies between 4.2 and 8.4 Pg carbon. We estimate that present rates of seagrass loss could result in the release of up to 299 Tg carbon per year, assuming that all of the organic carbon in seagrass biomass and the top metre of soils is remineralized.
The first author, Prof Fourqurean, is based at the Department of Biological Sciences and Southeast Environmental Research Center, Marine Science Program, Florida International University, 3000 NE 151, St, North Miami, Florida 33181, USA
Editors Note: This reasearch may answer a burning question we have concerning the safety of eating wild caught shrimp from the Gulf Coast. The oil spill could not have happened at a worse time for us, as we were just starting to promote the US wild caught shrimp, much of which comes from the Gulf of Mexico, as a good alternative to imported shrimp.
Researchers will take a deep look at Gulf seafood safety
USA - The Macondo well blowout on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico lays bare just how little scientists know about that great expanse of saltwater and its creatures, but in fishing communities from Florida to Louisiana, some people have vital questions of their own. Could hydrocarbons from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion be building up in people through the seafood they commonly eat - brown shrimp, white shrimp, oysters, blue crab, redfish, speckled trout and mackerel - and what does it mean if they are? "Right now, all we have is the FDA recommendation of two 3-ounce servings a week. But these are fishing communities," says Sharon Petronella Croisant, an epidemiologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch and director of the Community-Based Research Facility affiliated with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. At a research consortium centered in Galveston, scientists, together with a colleague in Philadelphia, are recruiting 100 people each from three especially seafood-dependent Gulf Coast communities in Mississippi and Louisiana, and another 100 from Galveston. Those in the study will be asked to give blood and urine samples. Scientists also hope to add 10 pregnant women each year who will give breast milk and umbilical cord blood once they deliver. The researchers are looking for the family of compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which dissolve in fat and have the potential to be stored in human fat, sometimes with harmful consequences. READ MORE
Mangroves are not mercantile goods
GUATEMALA - Henry Bonilla of Mangrove Network International cries "No REDD". Climate change has led to drastic changes in fragile ecosystems such as mangroves, dramatically affecting thousands of fishermen and farmer communities on the Pacific Coast of Guatemala. REDD initiatives, meanwhile, are also a threat to communities living in the mangrove. This was stated by Real World Radio Henry Bonilla, a member of the International Mangrove Network, after participating in the International Conference on Climate Change, and Social Movements Territories organized by Friends of the Earth and MOVIAC in San Salvador, El Salvador, at the beginning of this week. Bonilla said the expansion of fuel crops, especially sugarcane, has meant the diversion of rivers and therefore the destruction of mangroves massively displacing coastal populations. In fact, Guatemala is currently the fourth largest exporter of sugar trade is in the hands of large transnational corporations and agribusiness, he said. The mangrove biodiversity based on the natural mixture of salt and fresh water, represents an ecosystem rich in food production. "The mangrove is life and not merely goods..." summed Bonilla. READ MORE (Spanish Language)
Here is a more positive news story also from the China Daily:
Barren no more
A group of villagers has managed to cultivate more than 300,000 trees in an effort to rejuvenate Eyuyu Island, a barren plot of land, off Xiamen in Fujian province. When they found the island in the 1980s, there were only five trees. At that time, they were a bigger crowd but the majority decided to turn their backs on the "hopeless" land. Only a few persevered to bring life to the deserted plot and their efforts have paid off. VIEW PHOTOS
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|Mangrove Action Project|
Saturday, November 10, 2012
MAP News Issue 301, Nov 10, 2012
Posted by BlogAdmin at 12:25 PM