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.
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Cuba’s Mangroves Dying of Thirst
CUBA - In the 1960s, the Cuban government declared that storage of fresh water for times of drought or hurricanes was a matter of national security, and it began to dam up the country’s rivers. But that policy has claimed an unforeseen victim: mangroves. The sea swallowed up the old road connecting Batabanó and Mayabeque beaches, in southwest Cuba. In the last 50 years, more than 100 metres of coastline have been lost in that area to the south of Havana. The weakened mangroves, which now receive hardly any fresh water, were unable to prevent it from happening. “The mangroves deteriorated so much that in 2008, Hurricane Ike pushed the sea a metre and a half inland, and it never went back out. Since then, it has continued to advance inland,” Flora Yau, who lives in Surgidero de Batabanó, told IPS. People in this town in the municipality of Batabanó in the province of Mayabeque, some 70 km south of Havana, are tired of the flooding that now happens every time strong winds blow from the south. The worst thing is the loss of land to erosion. In some places, nearly two metres a year of coastline have been lost, and some areas are completely submerged now, like Bujamey Point. The mangroves have been weakened, first and foremost, by the fact that they are not getting as much fresh water as they used to, because of the dams built inland, biologist Leda Menéndez said. “The dams cut the natural circulation of the water.” Mangroves, which make up 20 percent of the forests in this Caribbean island nation and cover 4.8 percent of the territory, need a constant flow of a mixture of fresh and saltwater, the researcher explained. READ MORE
Dugong under threat in Gulf of Mannar
INDIA - Dugong, the sea-grass eating marine mammal found in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay, is under threat from increased human activity. The Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park proposes to undertake a study to assess the population of these sea creatures, according to Deepak S.Bilgi, Wild Life Warden. The study, to be conducted by Tuticorin based Suganthi Devadason Marine Research Institute, would be completed during this financial year, after which an action plan and measures for Dugong conservation would be launched, he told The Hindu. As Dugongs feed on sea grass, the sea grass beds in the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar region will also be assessed. The study will be conducted through the Tamil Nadu Bio-Diversity conservation and Greening Project (TBGP), and is aimed at determining the distribution, population and migratory pattern of Dugong. “We will launch the study shortly and complete it by the end of this financial year,” Mr Bilgi said, adding a study conducted in 2007 had revealed that the region had over 150 Dugong. “The Dugong population is the highest in the Gulf of Mannar region compared to other parts of the country,” he said. READ MORE
Mighty mangroves shield Indian village from cyclone’s wrath
INDIA – Sometimes the best way of being protected from nature is by protecting nature itself — and a small coastal village in India is proof of it. As Cyclone Phailin rose from the Bay of Bengal over the weekend, bringing gales and floods to India that killed 27, residents of Praharajpur did the sensible thing and got the hell out of dodge. As the villagers returned home, they discovered that a restored mangrove plantation helped shelter their vulnerable village from the storm’s wrath. About 40 of the village’s 200 homes were damaged, but residents told Down to Earth that it would have been worse without the mangrove. “In the nearby Sundrikhal and Pentha village, most of the houses have been washed away,” villager Ravindra Behera told the Indian environmental magazine. “We are better off because the forest has taken the initial brunt of the storm.” “Our elders had made an embankment along the coast to prevent soil erosion in 1975. They randomly planted mangrove trees on the embankment. Gradually, this plantation converted into a mangrove forest. However, it was during the 1982 cyclone that we realized that mangrove can also prevent the storm from reaching us,” said Balram Biswal, another resident. Thereafter, the villagers aggressively started planting mangroves on the island and also made provisions in the village to protect the forests. “We constituted a 15-member forest protection committee from among the villagers. The body penalised anyone who damaged the forests in any possible way and a night guard was appointed and paid Rs 100 per night to protect the mangrove,” said Behera. READ MORE
Clean and green, Karnataka's mangroves drawing tourists by the dozen
INDIA – Ever since the Karnataka forest department started growing mangroves (kandla) along the coastal delta areas as Kerala, Goa and Maharashtra have done, a new breed of tourists have begun visiting the coastal areas in the state. Mangrove tourists, as they are known, are enthusiasts who like to hang around as close to the mangrove forests or even take boat rides into them just to see the bustling marine and avian life inside. The spots most popular are Karwar and Ullal. Mangrove forests in the estuaries of coastal Karnataka, particularly in Karwar and Ullal, have started coming up in a big way after the forest department started growing them in 2008 under the ‘green wall’ project. According to forest department statistics, more than 800 hectares in the estuarine area has been brought under mangrove plantations that are now full-fledged forests, that can be developed into eco-tourist spots. Dr Keshavnath, who has conducted path-breaking research in zooplankton and phytoplankton, recommends planting of mangroves in more areas. READ MORE
Mangroves - Reserved forest status likely
INDIA - The state forest department is likely to change the reservation of mangroves from ‘Protected Forest’ to ‘Reserved Forest’. The new status will cover around 12,000 hectares of mangroves in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane and will enable the state to take stringent action against offenders. The Indian Forest Act provides for two kinds of forests – Protected and Reserved. The former offers people the right to reside, do business, cut woods, etc. These activities are not allowed under the latter category. Speaking to dna, N Vasudevan, chief conservator of forest, mangrove cell, said, “We have already notified the mangroves in Mumbai region. We will notify the Thane and Raigad areas later. ” The process for changing the classification from ‘Protected’ to ‘reserved’ started in August this year. In fact, the the Bombay HC, in October 2005, had accorded the status of ‘protected forests’ to mangroves on government land, whereas those on private land were classified ‘forests’. Despite the protection provided by the high court, destruction of mangroves continued unabated in the last eight years. Mumbai and its surrounding areas account for almost half the mangrove cover in the state. “In Maharashtra, there are 25,000 to 30,000 hectares of land under the mangrove cover,” said Vasudevan. READ MORE
Lessons learnt on managing mangroves sustainably
INDONESIA - Indonesia`s mangrove swamp is the largest in the world, covering some 3.2 million hectares, or 22 percent of the total area of mangroves in the world, with a high level of biodiversity. Despite their many benefits, these coastal trees are in a vulnerable state. Over the last 20 years, the area has been reduced by 1.1 million hectares, mostly due to conversion to other land uses. In the 1980s alone, mangroves covered 4.2 million hectares of land in Indonesia, but by the end of the 1990s, more than half of that coverage had been lost to agricultural expansion. Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago of 17,504 islands with a total coastline of 95,181 kilometers, is extremely vulnerable to a rise in sea levels, storm surges, or intense tropical storms linked to global warming. Most of its population lives along the coast and in the downstream areas of watersheds, which empty into the main ocean. In his speech to mark the opening of the seminar on 25 years of Mangrove Forest Management, held by PT Bintuni Utama Murni Wood Industries (BUMWI) in Bogor recently, Dr Harry Santoso, senior expert for the Ministry of Forestry for the Development of Watershed Management, remarked that the economic potential of coastal areas is generally quite high. READ MORE
Kyauktan shrimp farmers consider quitting
MYANMAR - It's hard to see where it has gone all gone wrong: 7000 acres of prime aquaculture farmland only 30 miles or (48 kilometres), from the country’s biggest city and market, Yangon, but nearly half of the zone’s farmers are giving up. The zone, at Mayan Zwebar village in Kyauktan township in Yangon Region, includes nearly 50 farmers, but 22 say they must soon stop working because they are not making money. The Myanmar Fisheries Federation (MFF) says it will do what it can to provide technology and attract foreign investment, said the body’s vice president, U Kyee Ngwe. “This is a good place for farming because we can farm prawn and marine fish species such as long-finned eel [ngalin ban], giant seabass (ka ka tit) and crab,” he said. “All of those species can fetch good prices locally and internationally. But to do so we need good infrastructure and some capital.”
Post-Phailin floods cause shrimp farmers' huge loss
INDIA – After the devastation caused by the cyclone Phailin, the state of Odisha is now having to fight heavy floods which have caused serious financial loss to the local shrimp industry. As a consequence of this natural disaster, shrimp farmers have estimated a loss amounting to INR 3.5 billion (USD 57.1 million), the Business Standard reported. "The overall loss in farming due to inundation of farm lands is in the range of 300-350 crore rupees," vice president, Odisha Shrimp Farmers' Association, Manoranjan Panda stated. A heavy cyclone-induced downpour which caused rivers Budhabalunga, Subarnarekha, Baitarani, Rushikulya and Bansadhara to overflow, has seriously affected the regions of Keonjhar, Balasore, Ganjam, Mayurbhanj, Jajpur and Nayagarh, threatening the lives of millions of locals in south-central and northern Odisha. Panda pointed out that farm lands near Subarnarekha, Budhabalanga and Jalaka rivers were the most seriously devastated. Revenue & Disaster Management Minister, S. N. Patro, pointed out, following a special review meeting, that: "Though the cyclone has stepped out of the state, four blocks in Balasore are in the grip of a massive flood. Teams of National Disaster Response Force, Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force and Army personnel have been deployed to the affected areas to carry out relief and rescue work." READ MORE
IGAD’s workshop on “Illegal Unregulated and Unreported Fisheries”
SOMALIA - A recent Illegal Unregulated and Unreported [IUU] Fisheries workshop held in Djibouti by the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development [IGAD] for East Africa and facilitated by the Fish I Africa Organisation and the African Maritime Safety and Security Agency finalised in an unanimous decision from the high level delegates to formalise the development of a task force focused on the advancement of sustainable fisheries for the Horn of Africa sub regions; the delegates were representative of the Somalia Federal Government, Somaliland, Puntland and Djibouti. The workshop, which focused on International Law, (led by Shannon Cosentino-Roush), IUU Fisheries (led by Pierre Malan) and Maritime Safety and Security (led by Karen Sumser-Lupson) provided the selected delegates with a background of factual material which they considered during focused breakout sessions. READ MORE
New Science: Mangrove Forests as Incredible Carbon Stores
USA - Mark Spalding is a senior marine scientist at The Nature Conservancy. My colleagues and I have just published a study in Conservation Letters in which we work out how much carbon there is in the world’s mangrove forests, give or take a bit. And we mapped it. And here’s why these findings are tremendously important: They quantify what some of us in marine conservation have been saying for a decade or more: That mangrove forests are among the most carbon-rich habitats on the planet. That, although they occupy just a fraction of the world’s surface, they pack a punch. Anyone concerned about preserving nature’s value — carbon sequestration and all the other benefits mangroves provide us — needs to think hard about this. READ MORE
Mapping Mangroves for Our Carbon Future
USA - A new study of 35 countries maps out the amount of carbon stored by mangrove ecosystems in various parts of the world in hopes of learning from the mangrove’s elusive carbon-storing system courtesy of Mother Nature. Mapping these mangrove hotspots is critical to our energy future, scientists say, because understanding how they store carbon could The new model used by the researchers enabled them to map the variations among the world’s mangrove forests and pinpoint those areas with the most carbon. All mangroves are important for storing carbon, but some that ranked particularly high in the study include forests in Sumatra, Borneo and New Guinea, on the Pacific coast of Colombia, and in Northern Ecuador. READ MORE
BBC explains the important role mangroves play
UK – If mangroves and their tropical coastal ecosystems are new to you, watch this short educational vieo presented by the BBC. Mangrove forests grow on tropical coasts with soft soils and are flooded twice daily by the tide. They are important nursery areas for many species of fish. Mangroves and coral reefs have a symbiotic relationship – the reef protects the coast where the mangroves grow from being eroded by the sea, and the forest traps sediment washed from the land that would otherwise smother the reef. VIEW VIDEO
What? No Last word? Write to us with your comments!
~ WE WELOCME YOUR LETTERS - If you’d like to have the last word on this or any other mangrove related topic, please send us your submission for upcoming newsletters. We’ll choose one per issue to have “the last word”. While we can’t promise to publish everyone’s letter, we do encourage anyone to post comments on our Blog at www. mangroveactionproject.blogspot.com
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|Mangrove Action Project|
Saturday, October 26, 2013
MAP News Issue 326, Oct. 26, 2013
Posted by BlogAdmin at 11:25 AM