The MAP News
Communities struggle to save Sabah’s shrinking mangroves
MALAYSIA - A development plan establishing shrimp farms and timber plantations begun purportedly to reduce poverty in northern Sabah, Malaysia, has attracted criticism from local communities and NGOs, which say the project is ignoring communities’ land rights. The district of Pitas in the Malaysian state of Sabah is situated on the 40-kilometer Bengkoka peninsula on the island of Borneo, stretching east into the South China sea. This forested, hilly area slopes down to the coast along the Telaga River, through ancient mangrove forest. But since the 1980s, it has been increasingly opened up by government-sanctioned development projects; more recently, in 2013, mangrove clearance has resumed for the commercial farming of shrimp (also referred to as prawns). This resurgence has brought the company Sunlight Inno Seafood Company Sdn Bhd, which is supported by the government, into conflict with local communities that depend on the mangroves for their livelihoods. In response to mangrove clearance, six indigenous Orang Asli communities in the district have come together to form the “Group of Six” (G6) collective Pitas action committee. It aims to save around 1,000 acres of the remaining mangroves and get this area legally designated under their Native Customary Rights (NCR). READ MORE
The last place on Earth': how Sumatra's rainforest is being cleared for palm oil
INDONESIA - A palm oil company is continuing to clear forest in a fast-diminishing elephant habitat in Indonesia’s Leuser ecosystem despite being the subject of two reports into illegal deforestation, according to a prominent environmental organisation. The Rainforest Action Network (RAN) published a study in July accusing plantation owner PT Agra Bumi Niaga (ABN) of growing oil palms on illegally deforested land in the Leuser ecosystem, in Aceh province, northern Sumatra. This was the second time in six months that the company had been accused by RAN of clearing rainforests in one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. The NGO stepped up its focus on ABN’s nearly 2,000 hectare (4,942 acres) concession, which sits within the Leuser ecosystem, after the Aceh government banned forest clearance for palm oil plantations in the area in June 2016. Since the Guardian reported on the investigation, the remaining forest in ABN’s nearly 2,000 hectare concession has been reduced from 420 hectares to just 54 hectares. RAN says its latest evidence from satellite imagery and field reports shows ABN cleared 18 hectares of forest in June and razed another 12 hectares in July, seemingly ignoring concerns from campaigners, government and businesses further down the supply chain. READ MORE
Mumbai techie clears 15 tonnes trash from mangroves in 90 days, shovels sense into civic body
INDIA - For the past three months, citizens walking or jogging along Bandra’s Carter Road promenade have been seeing a man with a shovel in his hand, digging and clearing mangroves of debris and garbage. He was always seen working alone. Toiling as a one-man army against garbage that is choking Mumbai’s mangrove forests, 51-year-old Rehan Merchant, a Bandra resident, has cleared more than 15 tonnes of litter in 90 days. He cleared a 100-foot-wide pool of sewage by creating a channel that allowed the high tide water to wash away muck. He unclogged a decade-old sewage pipe so that plastic would not get stuck to mangrove branches. Inspired by Merchant’s efforts, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) sent 10 clean-up marshals to assist him. In two weeks, the BMC workers have helped him remove more than five tonnes of trash. The heavy downpour on Saturday morning did not interrupt the latest cleaning session. After spending 12 years working in the Middle East, Merchant, a website designer, returned to Mumbai in 2009 and found that the area, where he grew up, was strewn with garbage, mostly plastic. “READ MORE
UN picks La Union boy as Young Earth Ambassador
PHILIPPINES - A 12-year-old boy from a far-flung barangay here has been chosen by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) as its ambassador in telling the whole world the most pressing message at this time: preserve the forest and save Mother Earth. A son of a slash-and-burn upland farmer called in the vernacular as “kainginero,” James Daryll Rey, grade six pupil of Nagyubuyuban Elementary School, now carries the title of “Young Earth Ambassador” conferred by the UNFAO through the Yakap Kalikasan, a UNFAO-sponsored non-government organization, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 1. As UNFAO ambassador, Rey will be sent to address multi-sectoral groups within the country and abroad to narrate how he successfully led the community, even at his young age, to take action for the preservation of forests. READ MORE
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a follow up to a story from 2016 discussing the loss of mangroves and fisheries due to dredging in Cambodia. Although the dredging was reportedly banned in July of 2017, it's a little unclear if it has completely stopped and much damage has already been done
Sand numbers between Taiwan and the government appear to be off by more than 1.5M tonnes
CAMBODIA - More than $30 million in Cambodian sand exports registered by Taiwan appear to be missing from Cambodia’s customs records, according to data from both governments, marking yet another large-scale discrepancy in the Kingdom’s figures on the trade. The huge inconsistency – Cambodian customs data show only 28,900 tonnes of sand sent to Taiwan between 2010 and 2016, while Taiwan registered 1.7 million tonnes in the same period – was highlighted by NGO Mother Nature in a video released on Monday evening. Following the release, two activists for the organisation were yesterday arrested while taking photos of two suspected sand-bearing vessels anchored near Prek Khsach commune in Koh Kong province’s Kiri Sakor district. Mother Nature founder Alex Gonzalez-Davidson said Dem Kundy and Hun Vanak were seized aboard their small boat in open waters near a special economic zone owned by powerful ruling party Senator Ly Yong Phat. READ MORE
Satellite images show Navy station reclaimed 60% mangroves in Mumbai
INDIA - A city-based non-government organisation (NGO) has alleged that illegal reclamation by the Indian Navy Station (INS) Hamla led to a 60% drop in mangrove cover at an area owned by the latter near Nau Sena Bagh, Marwe, Malad (West). The state mangrove cell confirmed there was a violation at the site. NGO Watchdog Foundation filed complaints with the state mangrove cell and the Mumbai suburban collector on Tuesday. The NGO attached satellite images from 2013 and 2017 that show a significant drop in green cover at the patch. “Debris dumping over four years by the Navy has destroyed over one-and-a-half hectare mangrove patch at Marwe. This is against Bombay high court (HC) orders and the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 1991, which provides for the protection of mangroves irrespective of their density,” said Godfrey Pimenta, trustee, Watchdog Foundation. “We demand an enquiry into the matter and the booking of officials responsible for this.” The destruction of mangrove forests across the state and construction within 50m of mangrove areas was banned by the Bombay high court in 2005, after a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed by the NGO Bombay Environment Action Group. READ MORE
Mangrove messiah gets a school, posthumously
INDIA - Mangrove protector and ecologist Kallen Pokkudan in his life time could not realise his dream of setting up a mangrove school for the young generation to know and study mangroves, ecology and sustainable life. Now, after two years of his demise, his sons, relatives and green activists have successfully developed a school at Muttukandy near Payangady in Kannur on the banks of Payangadi river. The students have started visiting the place from across northern Kerala to know the life of Pokkudan and the green lessons he imparted. Yet there are miles to go before a full-fledged school campus as envisaged by Pokkudan can be established. "The mangrove school doesn't mean a building alone. It comprises mangrove, river, the flora and fauna and the life sustenance of all the living beings," says Sreejith Paithalen, son of Kallen Pokkudan, who spearheads the Mangrove Tree Trust which is behind the school.READ MORE
Protection to Mangrove Areas Must Increase
PANAMA - Only 40 percent of the 1,744 square kilometers of mangrove in Panama are included in the national system of protected areas, said the report issued by International Conservation Panama. According to this non-governmental organization, the rest of the areas, if described as special management zones, are still vulnerable to agricultural changes, coastal pollution, shrimp farming and housing, or they are highly damaged by the exploitation of mangrove. Thus, the protection to the mangrove areas is relatively weak and does not envisage the proper way to protect the carbon reserve for a long-term period, said Julio Rodriguez, manager of International Conservation Panama. Nevertheless, the researches highlight the role of mangrove ecosystems in reducing the climate change from the adaptation and mitigation viewpoint, as well as reducing risks and keeping or increasing the carbon reserve. Finally, International Conservation Panama said that the location of future mangrove habitats and its inclusion in the adaptation process will be a key issue to plan the sustainability of human settlements for a long-term period. VIEW SOURCE
The Everglades have always been hit by hurricanes. Irma could be a different matter.
USA As residents of the Southeast are returning home and assessing the damage left by Hurricane Irma, Florida scientists are anxiously waiting to evaluate the storm’s impact on one of the state’s most valuable — and vulnerable — ecosystems: the Everglades. Already threatened by the continuous progression of sea-level rise — which pumps damaging salt water into the habitat, jeopardizing groundwater resources, contributing to erosion and threatening wildlife and vegetation — some scientists worry that the weakened Everglades are becoming less resilient to disruptive events like hurricanes. The issue is a prime example of the way climate change can render ecosystems more vulnerable to even natural disturbances. Indeed, it’s an issue that President Barack Obama chose to highlight two years ago during his last term. On a visit to Everglades National Park in April 2015, timed to coincide with Earth Day, Obama emphasized the growing threat of climate change and pointed to the impact of the rising seas in Florida as an example. READ MORE
Civil Servants Plant Mangroves Along Foreshore In Labasa
FIJI - To make climate change awareness effective, more than 100 civil servants planted 300 mangroves at Vuo Village outside Labasa Town recenty. Northern Division Secretary based at Commissioner Northern’s office Soko Tuima said they chose to plant mangroves in this village as it was directly exposed to the sea. “There was an empty muddy space facing the sea and located in front of the village posing a threat to the villagers,” Mr Tuima said. “During the high tide especially when the sea is rough, the water flows into the nearby houses as this is a low lying area. “The advantage of planting mangroves will greatly help in the long run as it will hold water from pushing its way into the houses. “The civil servants were happy taking their time out for this programme as it acted as a mitigator for climate change effects,” he said. “Moreover, we have carried out more programmes in line with climate change awareness week such as the planting of 70 native trees at the Labasa botanical garden and conducted a clean-up campaign at the back street of Labasa town. READ MORE
Dead mangroves shut down carbon cycle
AUSTRALIA - Mangroves help fight climate change but they’re at serious risk from its effects. That’s one of the findings from a study of a massive mangrove dieback that occurred in late 2015. Local fishermen reported mangroves were dying along hundreds of kilometres along the Gulf of Carpentaria coastline, in northern Australia, an area known for its barramundi fishing and high-value commercial fisheries. This caught the attention of Damien Maher of Southern Cross University in Melbourne, who is interested in the chemistry of mangroves – how they store carbon in their soils, remove planet-warming nitrous oxides from the atmosphere, and neutralise ocean acidification by releasing alkaline chemicals into nearby waters. Maher and his colleagues studied the dead zones, as well as adjacent areas that survived. “The dead areas were emitting carbon dioxide to the atmosphere straight from the soils,” he says. “The carbon cycle had shut down because the trees weren’t locking up carbon anymore.” READ MORE
It is discouraging to hear that the problems (of post-tsunami replanting mangroves) are even worse than ever. The same issues are occurring in coastal wetland restoration efforts in the US, which I know you are familiar with also. It appears that we are investing in coastal restoration ex post - at great cost and waste - as a pancea for not investing in adequate protection or conservation of natural systems that are rapidly disappearing from development. Restoration has become a license for development, and not a remedy for it as intended.
I agree that you and I don't have the power or influence to stop it. But we do have a voice, and we need to keep using it in the hope that someone will listen. As Martin Luther King said, "We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope."
Keep up the good fight. Or, as David Pearce used to tell me, "Keep on laughing and smiling"....
Edward B Barbier
Professor of Economics
Senior Scholar, School of Global Environmental Sustainability
Colorado State University
EPIC REPORT Download the paper ‘Mangrove Restoration: to plant or not to plant’, available in 7 languages.
We invite all school children from tropical and sub-tropical nations, and those who love mangroves, to create art for the 2019 Children's Art Calendar CLICK HERE
Become a volunteer at Gunjur Environmental Protection and Development Group (Gambia) GEPADG, see the photos below on some volunteer activities. http://gepadg.jilankanet.com/our-volunteers/4548872938
Want to learn more about mangroves?
Mangrove Action Project
Friday, September 29, 2017
MAP News Issue 426, Sept 30, 2017
Posted by BlogAdmin at 6:41 AM