Thursday, June 21, 2018

MAP-Thailand hosts field study trip from Gudandong Ocean University, China


Jaruwan (Ning) Enright, MAP Asia Field Coordinator
  
On May 26 2018 Mangrove Action Project (MAP) Thailand had the opportunity to host a week-long study tour on coastal management for four professors from the Agricultural College at Gudandong Ocean University, Zhanjiang City, Guandong Province, China.  We were also very pleased to be joined by Leo Thom, MAP’s Creative Director who is based in the UK.  The focus of the trip was on MAP’s Community Based Ecological Restoration (CBEMR) sites on the Andaman coast of southern Thailand an area which was hit by Indian Ocean Tsunami of 26 December 2014.

Team visiting the Klong Lu Homestay & mangrove trail, Krabi
I was very happy to finally meet Dr. Weidong Han in person whose expertise is on mangrove and coastal natural resources.  I learned that the former MAP Executive Director, Alfredo Quarto and MAP’s Asia Coordinator, Jim Enright, have had a long-standing relationship with Dr Han.  In 2003, Dr. Han hosted an exclusive mangrove trip for Jim and Alfredo in the coast of the Leizhou Peninsula in south eastern China, where they learnt a great deal on the value and destruction of mangroves in Leizhou area. Alfredo wrote an article based on this trip which can be viewed at this link: http://wrm.org.uy/articles-from-the-wrm-bulletin/section1/china-ramsar-mangroves-lost-to-shrimp-farming/

The field study trip took place in many Community Based Ecological Mangrove Restoration (CBEMR) sites such as Bang Khang Khao in Trang province, Klong Lu, Koh Klang and Nai Nang site as well as the Nai Nang Apiculture group in Krabi province.  In Ranong we visited MAP’s first CBEMR site established in 2009 in Ban Talay Nok. 

Meeting with the Nai Nang Apiculture Group
We also visited other mangrove sites of interest such as the Krabi River Estuary Ramsar Site and the Ranong Biosphere Reserve where we met with MAP staff, communities, partner NGOs and researchers to exchange information and knowledge. At the Ngao Mangrove Research Center within the Ranong Biosphere Reserve near the Myanmar border we were all given a warm welcome from Dr. Wijarn Meephol, a mangrove expert and the Director of the Center. On arrival everyone was then invited by Dr Wijarn to a viewing platform with incredible panoramic views of the mangrove forest which was followed by a brief presentation about the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Reserve designated in 1997, the Center and mangrove research carried out there.  

The highlight of the trip was undoubtedly the boat trip to visit the primary old growth mangrove site where there are more than 200 Rhizophora apiculate which are approximately 200 years old. Our guests enjoyed the primary mangrove site where there has been no impact from the charcoal concession period (1961-1986) and remains the only undisturbed primary mangrove site left in the country. During the boat trip it was especially exciting to see stop along the way and see a new mangrove species found in Thailand, Bruguiera hainesii, which is category C1 critically endangered under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.   

Visiting the primary mangrove forest in Ranong
On the whole, the field study trip was a great opportunity for MAP to visit community leaders from a number of our CBEMR sites and to disseminate the CBEMR methodology to the Chinese professors who all got to experience mangroves in Thailand for the first time!  I was especially impressed with all the warmth shared by all the professors and our MAP team throughout the trip.  Dr. Jinjun Chen shared at the brief evaluation meeting that he was amazed about the collaboration among the stakeholders to manage coastal resources as well as Dr. Weidong Han and Professor Yuanman Zhou were happy about our well design program and logistic arrangements.  It was a particularly good trip also for all the group’s durian lovers who luckily got to sample the local fruits with frequents stops along the roads.

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