The MAP News
Open letter to the people of The Netherlands, from the environmentally endangered Maldives
MALDIVES - New Year’s greetings from the Maldives. You may have heard about our country: an earthly “paradise” that is home to luxury tourism. That’s the marketed image, representing a “sunny side of life”. We also have several, less sunny stories. This particular one is about the endangered and finite ecosystems of the Maldives that have an unhappy connection to your country, the Netherlands. As the new year breaks in 2023, the news breaking in the Maldives is that two of the most damaging marine contractors from the Netherlands will be actively destroying critical marine ecosystems with unknown losses and damage to communities and people in the Maldives. Van Oord is planning to dredge Addu Atoll Biosphere Reserve, endangering multiple MPAs, marine habitats of mega-fauna such as manta rays and undermining the climate resilience of the entire atoll. Royal Boskalis will be preparing to destroy Gulhifalhu reef and lagoon. These are the untold stories of Maldives on the frontline of the global climate crisis. As we become increasingly conscious of our interconnectedness on earth, it is necessary to tell the story of how one nation’s business enterprise has become another’s destruction and demise.
AFRICAForum On Co-Management of Mangroves for Women Shell-Fishers Held
GAMBIA - Try Oyster' association together with the University of Cape Coast in Ghana; Development Action Association (DAA ); World Agroforestry (ICRAF) and the University of Rhode Island (URI ), recently held a day-long forum at a hotel in Bijilo, on mangrove co-management for women shell fishers and food security projects. During the course of the activity, facilitators in collaboration with partners, shared their findings from a two-year study on mangrove restoration. Coordinators revealed that all the mangrove plantations they visited from Bullock to Tanbi and other national wetlands with an area of 6,000 hectares, are the most affected mangrove wetland which threatens marine biodiversity. A ten year vision was developed with an upgrading strategy and implementation plan for value chain upgrading activities which acknowledges the need to take action to ensure that the mangroves oyster value chain is resilient and meets a growing demand for nutritious, safe and affordable food while maintaining sustainable ecosystems, economies and societies that leaves no one behind.
It’ll take 150 years to map Africa’s biodiversity at the current rate.AFRICA - Africa’s biomes extend from mangroves to deserts, from Mediterranean to tropical forests, from temperate to sub-tropical and montane grasslands and savannas, and even to ice-capped mountains. About a quarter of the world’s species of plants and animals are found on the continent. But biodiversity isn’t just beautiful. We need it to survive. Different species and biomes provide ecosystem services to humans: food, clothing, potable water and the very air we breathe. The disappearance of a seemingly unimportant animal, like a certain species of bee, may result in the extinction of certain plant species. That, in turn, affects humans and other species.Experts have estimated that each country, globally, must protect the biodiversity of 30% of its territory by 2030 to at least mitigate the effects of ongoing environmental damage. But we found in a recent study that huge swathes of Africa remain unstudied and their species undocumented. Why? Because scientists keep returning to areas whose biodiversity has already been mapped, rather than visiting new, unexplored areas.
AMERICANew Teaching Website Launched by Mangrove Education Project
CAYMAN ISLANDS -The Cayman Islands-based environmental education NPO, the Mangrove Education Project (MEP), will be launching a new education website to cover the entire Coastal Lagoon ecosystem later this month.The site has been developed to support the Coastal Lagoon Ecosystem Teachers Guide which provides in-depth teaching resources for Cayman teachers. Its vision is to bring a deep understanding of the of true value of this dynamic ecosystem and our interdependence on it.“The goal is to Introduce students, teachers, parents and their communities to the wonderful world of the tropical lagoon coastline through a curriculum-based, hands-on science program,” explains MEP executive director, Martin Keeley. “It links exciting and fun-filled ecological exploration with a deep understanding of the importance and intricacies of this wonderful ecosystem throughout the Caribbean and world-wide.”
Protecting the Amazon Biodiversity Through ‘Mothers of the Mangrove’
BRAZIL - Mangroves are valuable ecosystems and marine life nurseries essential for artisanal fishing, culture, and community-based tourism. In Pará, Brazil, Extractive Reserves (RESEX) are sustainable use protected areas where only local people have the right to traditional hunting, fishing, and harvesting wild plants. Yet, despite the territory's abundance, families struggle financially, and women are undervalued as nature’s caregivers and holders of traditional wisdom. The role of women in Amazonia must be amplified, and they must be empowered to defend mangroves. This project will support Mothers of the Mangrove, empowering 36 women leaders in the Amazon coastal zone and spreading their conservation skills and sustainable use practices. Partnering with the environmental organization Rare, they will be able to further their protection network of the Amazonian mangroves and expand upon new income-generating businesses that work in harmony with nature. The project aims to help Mothers of the Mangrove reach 900 community members to protect 167,705 hectares of mangrove forest through sustainable use practices, promoting their ancestry and traditional knowledge. This includes the second edition of a book featuring their business, network, and management of the RESEX. It will also create access to savings clubs.
Fishers on Indonesia’s Batam Island suffer as mangrove cover declines
INDONESIA - “There’s no more fish,” says Abdul Ganip, holding up a mostly empty flask containing a few prawns. “It’s a quiet catch.” For decades, the 57-year-old has lived and worked as a fisherman on the Indonesian island of Batam, better known as an industrial hub and special economic zone off the eastern coast of Sumatra. He and other fishermen eked out a profit catching and selling seafood on this 715-square-kilometer (276-square-mile) island, where the mangrove habitat accounted for only 4% of the landmass as of 1990. Similar to Singapore, less than an hour by ferry to the north, the rest of Batam is paved over and even expanded with infill, the reclamation of coastal and brackish areas with sand to create new land for factories, resorts and apartment blocks. In 2015, geographers from Indonesia’s Gadjah Mada University published an analysis of satellite data showing there had been some natural attrition in Batam’s mangrove habitat from 1990 to 2000 due to erosion from “wind, waves and flooding.” However, the overwhelming cause of habitat degradation — 96% — was human development.
Govt to push seagrass, mangrove preservation to boost blue carbo
INDONESIA - The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (KKP) Ministry will step up efforts to conserve seagrass and mangroves as part of the government’s strategy to tackle climate change and improve blue carbon potential. "(The development of) Indonesia's other blue carbon ecosystem (apart from mangroves), namely seagrasses, which has (cover) an estimated area of 1.8 million hectares, has not received much attention so far," director general of sea spatial management of the ministry Victor Gustaaf Manoppo observed. He made the statement during a workshop on the “Blue Carbon Strategy for Achieving Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) Targets and Implementation of Carbon Economic Values (NEK)” on Tuesday. The seagrass ecosystem in Indonesia can absorb up to 790 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), with a projected economic value of US$35 billion, he informed. Meanwhile, Indonesia's mangrove ecosystem, which covers an area of around 3.36 million hectares, is expected to absorb 11 billion tons of CO2 with an estimated economic value of US$66 billion.
The magic of mangrove
NEW-ZEALAND - In the northern part of Aotearoa, mangroves occupy mudflats and river mouths. They’re not always loved – but given our rising sea level, maybe they should be. It took a long time for Mere Kepa (Ngati Raka, Ngati Ira) to learn to love the manawa. She grew up around their forests, glossy green leaves lining the harbour around her father’s kainga. But when she was a child, these mangrove forests weren’t appreciated. “Previous generations treated the mudflats like a rubbish dump,” she says. Kepa, a landowner in Takahiwai near Whangārei, only started paying attention to the mangroves when she was putting together a pest control strategy for her community to reduce the number of feral pigs on their land. That required thinking about the different habitats around her, including the mangrove forests bordering the estuaries. “I became friendlier with the manawa,” she says. “They take up a lot of the sunshine in Whangārei harbour – you can’t miss them.”
This tsunami-blocking coastal city draws inspiration from the shape of mangrove roots
TONGA - The volcanic eruption of Tonga on the 14th of January in 2022 created a major tsunami hazard for the entire pacific rim. The pacific rim is said to be the most prone to tsunamis, given its connection to all four major tectonic plates. It’s only natural for the architecture of the area to evolve to match this unique threat, and that’s what the Tsunami Park Skyscraper aims at doing. This eVolo Skyscraper Award-winning architectural design models itself on the shape and layout of mangrove roots that help break waves and currents by almost instantly slowing down water currents to help distribute their impact. “Mangroves are woody plant communities in the intertidal zone of tropical and subtropical coasts, with developed root systems and staggering growth, which have the best effect on tsunami mitigation”, mention the designers. “Therefore, the skyscraper is inspired by the principle and mechanism of mangrove resistance to tsunamis, and consists of a single unit aggregated to form a vast complex along the coastline. Each cell consists of a bottom pillar and a top multi-level platform. The bottom pillar is made up of thick concrete columns that form a porous structure to dissipate the enormous force of the tsunami, while the upper platforms are of varying sizes, heights, and interconnections to carry people’s lives.
*Articles in this newsletter may mention practices being used and/or show exagerated results being claimed without proof. Stories are presented here in effort to show mangrove related activity around the world and do not necessarily reflect Mangrove Action Project's views or mangrove restoration best-practices.
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Partnering with mangrove forest communities, grassroots NGOs, researchers and local governments to conserve and restore mangrove forests and related coastal ecosystems, MAP's news blog is a recap of news stories about mangroves and mangrove related issued globally. MAP promotes community based efforts to restore hydrology and health of the mangrove ecosystem and surrounding dependent species. Articles in this newsletter aid researchers and others by providing latest news about mangrove issues.
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Saturday, January 28, 2023
MAP ISSUE #564 - Jan 28, 2023
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The community of adults and youth in Cayman Islands has come together recently to release a series of educational videos. Each is geared to...
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MAP News Issue #568 - March 25, 2023
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