Throughout the month of July, we asked for and received stunning photos from around the world for our 4th annual global photography exhibition We would like to thank each and every person who contributed to this project! Vote for your favorite photos to decide which will receive the People’s Choice Award. There’s still time to submit your photos! We’ve extended our photo contest until August 15th – send in your photos here. Or use #mangroveactionday to submit photos on Instagram! Donate to Protect MangrovesProtect mangroves and the coastal communities that rely on them. Join MAP by pledging to defend mangrove forests today!
As part of this years Mangrove Action Day we are raising awareness of the connections people have with mangrove forests by creating a global photography exhibition. Throughout the month of July, we have asked for and received incredible photos from around the world. We invite you to send us your best photos for a chance to be part of a special exhibition that will help spread the importance of mangroves. Special prizes this year for our three chosen winners. Scroll down to get inspired by some mangrove themes and find out other ways in which you can get involved!
SRI LANKA : After decades of civil war and struggles between Muslims, Buddhists, Tamils and Singhalese, Sril Lanka is finding healing and reconciliation through the restoration and conservation of mangroves. Sri Lanka NGO Sudeesa and US NGO Seacology have teamed to create a working model based on education, business application and replanting to restore the environment and the social fabric of Sri Lanka. Sudeesa Chairman Anuradha Wickramasinghe explains “I realized that to keep the childrens lives about the environment, the most important person is the mother.” Using educational programs designed to teach women about the importance of mangroves, and to help them achieve a level of sustenance without cutting them, the group has created a series of workshops combined with small business loans to teach the women about about conservation and business, in hopes of protecting the environment. One unexpected benefit has been peaceful cooperation between past enemies. “Sri Lanka society has a very great ethnic diversity,” says Wickramasinghe, “ but when we go to work to conserve the mangroves, no one is concerned about ethnic diversity, they are all concerned about bio-diversity.”
MEXICO – In order to draw attention to the importance of mangroves in Sisal, due to its great ecological wealth, in recent days the painting contest “The importance of mangrove forests in my community” was held, whose winners will participate in a contest in the United States. “Through this contest we seek to raise awareness that we must avoid contamination of the mangroves with garbage, sewage, etc., and also prevent them from being cut down and destroyed,” said Luis Maldonado López, of Cinvestav, one of the organizers. Prior to the contest, a workshop on garbage and the studies they do with drone assistance was given in schools in the port. Emphasis was placed on the environmental services provided by the mangrove forest to the community. The local contest served to select those who are now participating in the international event in the USA. The works that are awarded in the international competition, said López, will be published in a calendar that will be printed by the environmental organization Mangrove Action Project (MAP).
Mangrove forests provide a wide array of valuable ecosystem services and play a critical role in climate change mitigation and adaptation. They sequester vast amounts of carbon from the atmosphere, slow coastal erosion, and form a natural barrier that protects coastal communities from extreme weather. Mangrove ecosystems are a refuge for juvenile fish, a nesting habitat for migratory birds, and a breeding ground for sea turtles. They also provide sustainable economic opportunities for local communities who fish and develop ecotourism initiatives. The most extensive remaining mangrove forest in Central America is located in El Salvador’s Bay of Jiquilisco. Unfortunately, El Salvador has lost sixty percent of its mangrove forest coverage since 1950, and continues to lose mangroves at a rate of 681 hectares (1683 acres) each year. This loss threatens the livelihoods and safety of the communities and wildlife that depend on the health of this ecosystem for their survival.
Taking place in Bak-Klong Beach in Koh Kong province, the Mangrove Youth Camp was a unique three-day event that brought so much awareness on the benefits of the mangrove ecosystem and the challenges the Areng and Prey Lang communities are presently facing. “Kang Khmer” or Khmer Bike, a youth-led organisation, initiated the camp that also highlighted arts and culture, Lakhorn Sbek Toch (storytelling through shadow puppetry) and Long-Vek era costume-wearing. Participants of the camp were supposed to visit Koh Sralao village in Koh Kapi commune. However, some legal documents were not fulfilled and the organisers were not permitted to bring the campers inside the village. Despite the sudden changes, the Mangrove Camp remained as fun and education as expected. San Mala, organiser of the Mangrove Youth Camp, said the Mangrove Festival the group held last year earned about 6,000 USD for the Koh Sralao villagers. The locals also welcomed the young participants in their homes and shared their stories. According to Mot Kimry, the camp is centered on raising awareness on how the mangrove ecosystem affects the community and foster tourism in Koh Kong province. Many people who love the beach often choose to go to Kampot province and Sihanoukville, forgetting that Koh Kong offers as much beauty and splendor. “People love visiting beach on their holiday. But they don’t really know about mangroves. That’s the reason why we are holding the Mangrove Festival and the Mangrove Youth Camp.”
An assessment has shown that the British Virgin Islands’ mangrove population was nearly wiped out by last September’s hurricanes. A week-long assessment was done by Dr Gregg Moore, who is a coastal restoration ecologist. His assessment was to find out the current status of local mangroves and present a report to government and the public. The findings will also assist in identifying restoration and conservation priorities. This recently-concluded assessment done on the mangroves in Jost Van Dyke, Tortola, Frenchman’s Cay, Beef Island, Great Camanoe, Virgin Gorda and the Prickly Pear Islands, was sponsored by regional wildlife organisation, BirdsCaribbean. “The assessment confirms what BVI residents and visitors to the territory could probably already guess: At least 90 percent of all the mature red mangrove trees that form the coastal fringing system have been defoliated and are dead, with very few exceptions,” said a release from the Jost Van Dykes Preservation Society. A serious blow to the ecological system According to the findings, the loss is a serious one to the territory’s ecological system. “The significance of this finding is that not only does it represent a serious ecological blow to the system, but the storm also took with it the flowers and fruits that we’d expect would be the next generation.”
The Pitas development is a government initiative through state subsidiary company Inno Fisheries Sdn in collaboration with Sunlight Seafood (Sabah) Sdn Bhd, is reported to entail a RM1.23 bn (c US $320m) investment and the creation of about 1,500 shrimp ponds. Around 20% of the total funding is from state sources. Yayasan Sabah’s Inno-Fisheries is a government agency whose website states its mission as being “to uplift the quality of life of Malaysians in Sabah”. Sunlight Seafood is one of the leading processors and exporters of frozen seafood products in Malaysia. Local people, however, do not see the benefits. Noridah Samad, a local youth and a member of the G6 collective says: “Seeing our land being destroyed in the name of profit making, impedes us from sustaining our traditional livelihoods and culture. With the destruction of the 2300 ac, many youths will never learn the ways of our grandfathers and traditional knowledge will be lost.” Another local farmer and fisherman, also a member of the G6 collective, says that the shrimp farm developments over 2300 acres have significantly depleted resources and affected the livelihood of subsistence farmers and fishermen in the area. Speaking at a press conference organised by Sabah Environmental Protection Association (SEPA) in 2015, he said: “We now have remaining about 1,000 acres of mangrove land which has a sensitive biosystem and hold our livelihood as well as traditional practises like traditional medicine, building materials and sacred sites. “We are concerned that any further expansion of the farm into this land will permanently and completely destroy our source of income and livelihood on the very ground that we have lived on for eight generations now.”
This March, Mangrove Action Project (MAP) attended the 2nd People and Forests Fair at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. There were 19 non-governmental organizations, community groups and government organizations participating in this event organized by The Center For People and Forests, RECOFTC. This was a large event, with a diverse array of over 500 people, comprised of local villagers and tourists, as well as Bangkok residents and government officials. MAP representatives included nine people from four villages that MAP works with in the field, including Bang Kang Khao village, Trang province, Thung Yor and Nai Nang village, Krabi province and Tha Sanook village, Phang Nga province. This event was organized to provide a learning exchange between different groups, and to link a variety of communities from upstream to the sea through the Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) network. The nine villagers expressed their excitement and hoped to bring their experiences and knowledge from this event back home to apply to their community.
The award-winning Marvellous Mangroves (MM) curriculum educates children on the importance of mangroves and their ecological functions, teaching them about modern challenges and mechanisms for sustainability. MM training is an in-depth, hands-on, sciencebased conservation education program, which has not only been given to primary and secondary school children but also teachers themselves. The curriculum is already used in 15 countries by over 250,000 students and 2,500 teachers. Integrated with local and national curricula it encourages and facilitates students to spend time in mangrove forests, including participation in field studies, research and conservation. The empowering process for both students and teachers helps to create greener and healthier learning environment inside and outside of school.