The MAP News
367th Edition June 27, 2015
Hungry crabs snacking on mangrove seeds may foil reforestation
PANAMA - Crabs love mangrove swamps. But the mangroves may not love them back. Crabs' voracious appetite for mangrove seeds can be a prime reason why efforts to replant lost mangroves often fail. So keeping crabs out could sometimes help their recovery, says Emily Dangremond of the University of California in Berkeley. To see how much mangrove the crabs can munch through, she used nylon mesh enclosures to keep crabs away from mangrove seeds in areas of swamp regrowth on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts of Panama in Central America. Comparing these areas with similar regions where crabs were free to roam, she found that their consumption varied depending on the type of mangroves around, and they ate more in saltier waters. In the worst cases, they munched up to 90 per cent of the seeds of the rare neotropical mangrove tree, Pelliciera rhizophorae. READ MORE
Two million mangrove trees planted in Abu Dhabi
ABU DHABI - Abu Dhabi has planted two million mangrove trees as part of efforts to protect an essential part of the coastal ecosystem. The planting drive is a pre-emptive move by the agency to protect mangroves from the effects from development and expansion projects in the emirate. Mangrove trees provide a safe habitat for many species of birds and fish, supporting biodiversity and helping to replenish fish resources. Dr Sheikha Salem Al Dhaheri, executive director of the sector of land and marine biodiversity, said the project’s main objective was to increase the mangrove canopy along Abu Dhabi’s coast. After careful consideration, the coastal line between the Abu Dhabi port and Thamiriya in the western region was chosen as the area for planting. “Mangrove trees, along with the coastal ecosystem, are the key for preserving the sustainability of our emirate and for ensuring a better and more sustainable future,” she said. VIEW SOURCE
Hope for Indonesia's valuable but threatened mangroves
INDONESIA – Indonesia is home to the largest tracts of mangrove forests on earth – but they are disappearing at a rate of up to 2% a year, faster than anywhere else in the world. A study by Conservation International (CI) in West Papua province is trying to determine the potential value of these mangroves, both for Indonesia - the world’s third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases – and for the Papuan communities that live among them. Threatened mangroves and coastal marine ecosystems in general get far less attention than tropical rainforests in climate negotiations, despite the many useful services they provide. Mangroves are highly efficient carbon sinks, absorbing up to five times as much carbon dioxide as tropical forests. They are also important ecosystems, providing spawning grounds and habitat for hundreds of species, many of them commercially important. They are natural barriers to tropical storm surges and even contain chemicals effective in fighting cancer. READ MORE
Officials in Karaikal keen on replicating mangrove success
INDIA - The Agriculture Department has planned to increase the mangrove cover in various regions of Karaikal, based on the success of the growth of species on the sea-shore during the post-Tsunami period. The department has taken up a study on the feasibility of increasing the mangrove forest cover in the marshy lands in Karaikal. “We have selected Mullaiyar and the bird sanctuary at Vizhudhiyur where the prospects for raising mangrove is conducive,” an official source told The Hindu on Monday. The success of the mangrove growth on the marshy lands in the coastal Karaijkal had encouraged the Agriculture Department to explore the possibility of covering more area. The department has developed a bio-wall for a distance of 7.5 km between Vanjur and Mandaputhur villages in the coastal stretch. “The land has become a natural barrier for controlling the velocity of winds during cyclone. We developed four species — and the casuarinas had survived in the bio-wall.” READ MORE
From Residents to Rangers: Local Communities Take Lead on Mangrove Conservation
SRI LANKA - Weekends and public holidays are deadly for one of Sri Lanka’s most delicate ecosystems – that is when the island’s 8,815 hectares of mangroves come under threat. With public officials, forest rangers and NGO workers on holiday, no one is around to enforce conservation laws designed to protect these endangered zones. Except the locals, that is. Residents of the Kalpitiya Peninsula in the northwest Puttalam District are no strangers to the wanton destruction of the area’s natural bounty. Kalpitiya is home to the largest mangrove block in Sri Lanka, the Puttalam Lagoon, as well as smaller mangrove systems on the shores of the Chilaw Lagoon, 150 km north of the capital, Colombo. For centuries these complex wetlands have protected fisher communities against storms and sea-surges, while the forests’ underwater root system has nurtured nurseries and feeding grounds for scores of aquatic species. Perhaps more important, in a country still living with the ghosts of the 2004 Asian Tsunami, mangroves have been found to be a coastline’s best defense against tidal waves and tsunamis. READ MORE
A unique project to conserve mangroves in the city
INDIA - Conserving the mangrove habitat in your neighborhood will soon become all the more a productive affair. Recently, the Forest Department launched a unique project to conserve the mangrove vegetation along the coastline of the Ernakulam district with the help of local communities. It envisages offering incentives and training to people engaged in conservation and replanting of mangroves so as to create public awareness on the real importance of the mangroves, which could prevent invasions from the sea, retain water and prevent soil erosion, among other things. The programme, being implemented with CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) support from the Petronet LNG Limited, will take off to a start with the planting of mangrove seedlings on the banks of a major canal that flows through the Njarakkal grama panchayath in Vypeen. As part of it, the department is also conducting a survey with the help of local bodies to identify the mangrove ecosystems as well as the locations for replanting mangrove saplings. READ MORE
MAP-Asia hosts field school students from York University, Canada
THAILAND - Between May 26-29, 2015, the Mangrove Action Project (MAP)-Asia hosted 17 students from the Geography Department at York University, Toronto, Canada. The field course abroad which took place in Chiang Mai and Krabi provinces was led by Professor Peter Vandergeest, who happens to be one of MAP’s advisors, and Dr. Tubtim Tubtim, who was the local course coordinator. The objective of the visit was to learn from communities on Klang Island, Krabi, Thailand about community-based environmental conservation and development. Jim Enright, MAP-Asia coordinator presented of the Ecosystems Protecting Infrastructure and Communities (EPIC) project which MAP has been implementing the Community-based Ecological Mangrove Restoration (CBEMR) concept under this project. EPIC investigates the role that healthy ecosystems play in reducing disaster risk and supporting community-based adaptation to climate change. The goal is to find and promote nature-based solutions rather than solely relying on hard infrastructure which is not only expensive but provides no goods unlike mangroves. The students were also taken to visit one of the CBEMR demonstration sites at Ban Klong Kham, Krang Island, Krabi so they see the demonstration site first-hand. READ MORE
Women to power Sri Lanka's mangrove conservation plan
SRI LANKA - Sri Lanka's new mangrove protection scheme, the world's first country-wide initiative, is relying on women like Michel Priyadarshani, head of a fisherwomen's group in eastern Ambantotam village. Priyadarshani and her colleagues did not understand the importance of mangroves for the ecosystem, including the fish population, until they benefited from a program offering microcredit in return for looking after the coastal forests. “Now we know - and from us, our husbands and our community also have become aware,” Priyadarshani said. Since 1997, Sudeesa, a national organization that works to protect coastal ecosystems, has given women living near mangrove forests financial assistance - mainly loans of $50 to $2,000 each - incentivizing them to care for the delicate trees. READ MORE
Now, mangrove forests turn into waste dumping yards
INDIA - Pazhayangadi village, nestled amidst wetlands and river, boasts of mangrove varieties as well as many mangrove crusaders. However, the efforts to conserve the ecosystem have run into rough weather as the mangroves are turning into waste dumping yards. "Waste in large quantity from meat shops and slaughterhouses are disposed near mangroves. We cannot fight those who do this as they are powerful enough to take on us. The panchayat authorities are also indifferent to this issue," said Kallen Pokkudan, who has devoted his whole life for mangrove cultivation and conservation. As there is no proper waste management system in place, people turn to rivers and mangrove forests. Stringent measures should be taken to handle this, failing which the ecosystem would turn into a breeding grounds of communicable diseases, warned Parayil Rajan, another mangrove crusader. READ MORE
MAP-Asia staff joins meeting on new Coastal Resources Management Act
THAILAND - On 9-10 June, 2015 Jaruwan Enright (Ning) joined the IUCN-Thailand organized meeting in Bangkok, as a partner of the Ecosystems Protecting Infrastructure and Communities (EPIC) project in preparation for the IUCN-Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) meeting on the June 11th in Bangkok. Other IUCN-Thailand partner NGOs who were also implementing projects on the ground gathered to discuss and debate issues concerning hailand’s new Coastal Resources Management Act, which will come into force by the end of 2015.
The new Act presents new opportunities for community engagement but there are concerns if not properly implemented there could be significant negative impacts. READ MORE
Scientists find surprising climate change refuge for reef-building corals: beneath mangroves
USA - Coral reefs are the gardens of the ocean. Covering just a tiny fraction of the vast sea floor, they are among the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. However, global warming and ocean acidification increasingly threaten them. Now scientists have discovered that corals could potentially survive global warming by numbering among the Earth’s first climate change refugees. They could flee warming oceans to find a new home in the shade beneath coastal mangroves, says a recent study published in the journal Biogeosciences. "Coral reefs are essentially spawning and nursery grounds for thousands of marine animals, helping sustain many of the world’s fisheries, and are home to more than 4,000 species of fish." Dr. Michael Webster, executive director of the Coral Reef Alliance said. Coral reefs, such as this one in Fiji’s Namena Marine Reserve, support about a quarter of all known marine species. With sea temperatures rising, and increasing CO2 levels causing acidification of oceanic waters, coral bleaching events are regularly leaving large sums of dead coral in their wake. An estimated 90 percent of the world’s reefs will be at risk by 2030, rising to 100 percent by 2050, if current worst-case forecasts play out. READ MORE
Expert Q&A: Roy “Robin” Lewis
Roy R. “Robin” Lewis III has been studying or restoring coastal habitats for nearly half a century. A wetlands ecologist and president of Lewis Environmental Services, Inc., he specializes in the ecology, management, restoration and creation of fresh and saltwater marshes, mangrove forests, forested freshwater wetlands, and seagrass meadows. Robin has applied his expertise to hundreds of projects throughout the world, and to more than 100 papers on the subject of wetland restoration. He is the president of Coastal Resource Group, Inc., a non-profit educational and scientific organization and the force behind the resource-filled web sites www.mangroverestoration.com and www.seagrassrestorationnow.com. Robin is so passionate about the need to pass the torch to the next generation of coastal wetland restoration professionals, he has voluntarily taught courses on the subject for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Ohio State University, University of Wisconsin and Louisiana State University. He has also taught wetland restoration in twenty-two foreign countries including Guyana, Jamaica, Bonaire, Nigeria, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. He has served on the boards of the Society of Wetland Scientists, Association of State Wetland Managers, Mangrove Action Project, WildLaw, Inc., and the Putnam County Environmental Council. Last year, he was appointed to the IUCN’s Species Survival Commission Mangrove Specialist Group. READ THE INTERVIEW
Brisbane City Council considering new mangrove boardwalk
AUSTRALIA - Three years after it demolished a CBD mangrove boardwalk, Brisbane City Council is considering building a new one. The council's new city botanic gardens conservation and land management plan was passed in the council chamber. One of its proposals was to construct a new boardwalk that would provide "a visitor experience that reveals a visitor experience that reveals important aspects of Queensland's unique flora". "Well I couldn't agree more," Labor opposition leader Milton Dick said.The Liberal National Party council demolished the old wooden boardwalk in 2013 at a cost of $128,980. Cr Dick was a vocal critic of the boardwalk's demolition and sought federal intervention to repair it through that government's work for the dole scheme. "They're ripping up a boardwalk one day then bringing in a report here to actually deliver a new boardwalk," he said at City Hall. "So I simply say to the LNP – work out what you're doing. Work out what the actual strategy is rather than wasting ratepayers' money." READ MOE
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Thursday, June 25, 2015
MAP News Issue 337 , June 27, 2015
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