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The MAP News, 428th Ed., 28 October 2017

There once was a beautiful tropical island afloat in the pale blue waters of the Caribbean called Bimini, immortalized by Ernest Hemingway in his well-known novel “Islands in the Stream.” Luxuriant coral reefs and mangroves provided safe refuge for bountiful marine life including a myriad of fish, sharks, sea turtles and sea birds. Its quiet beaches and laid-back residents lent Bimini a special flavour of a place where sports fishermen such as Hemingway went to catch marlin and bonefish. Then everything changed as industrial-style tourism had come to Bimini. The island is now replete with five-star hotels, condos, restaurants, golf courses and marinas, all meant to attract the wealthy tourists. Large swaths of mangroves were cleared, shorelines extended by using land fill, threatening corals and sea grasses, marine life and a way of life for the local people.

The MAP News, 427th Ed., 14 October 2017

The world’s tropical forests are so degraded they have become a source rather than a sink of carbon emissions, according to a new study that highlights the urgent need to protect and restore the Amazon and similar regions. Researchers found that forest areas in South America, Africa and Asia – which have until recently played a key role in absorbing greenhouse gases – are now releasing 425 teragrams of carbon annually, which is more than all the traffic in the United States. This is a far greater loss than previously thought and carries extra force because the data emerges from the most detailed examination of the topic ever undertaken. The authors say their findings – published in the journal Science recently – should galvanise policymakers to take remedial action. “This shows that we can’t just sit back. The forest is not doing what we thought it was doing,” said Alessandro Baccini, who is one of the leader authors of the research team from Woods Hole Research Center and Boston University.

Cameroon: release forest defender Nasako Besingi NOW!

Cameroon: release forest defender Nasako Besingi NOW!

In an early-morning raid on September 25, Cameroonian police officers and soldiers arrested environmentalist Nasako Besingi and trashed the office of his NGO. He has not been seen since. Besingi has been opposing palm oil projects for years and has been imprisoned several times. Please demand his immediate release.

The MAP News, 426th Ed., 30 September 2017

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.

The MAP News, 425th Ed., 16 September 2017

 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.

The MAP News, 424th Ed., 02 September 2017

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will try to work out a collaborative sustainable mangrove management in the region amid climate change in a Mangrove Congress September 4-8 in Manila. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (DENR-ERDB) will hold the 2nd ASEAN Congress on Mangrove Research and Development with the theme “Sustainable Management of Mangroves in the course of Climate Change.” “Mangrove habitats represent both a vulnerable resource and a potential deterrent to the effects of climate change. Sea level rise poses a major threat to mangrove ecosystems as it induces erosion and weakening of root structures, increased salinity, and mangrove inundation,” the ERDB said. Mangroves have been recognized to play an important role as a barrier against storm surges as what has been observed during Super typhoon Yolanda in 2013. “Mangroves are also known to attenuate waves by as much as 75 percent through its vast underground root networks and high vegetation structural complexity,” according to Anna McIvor, team leader of the study titled “Storm Surge Reduction by Mangroves.”

The MAP News, 423rd Ed., 19 August 2017

A new effort to mobilize the world to stop mangrove deforestation and to undertake a massive restoration effort is underway. The goal of the Alliance is to expand overall extent of mangrove forests 20 percent by 2030. WWF, Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Wetlands International (and now Mangrove Action Project) have joined together to take up this challenge. And that list is growing. The Global Mangrove Alliance was born of the belief that a renewed effort is needed across multiple sectors and geographies to give mangroves their due, and to massively scale and accelerate conservation and restoration of mangrove ecosystems. The know-how exists; it is the will and interest to act that needs bolstering. The Paris agreement and its focus on developing country-by-country plans to reduce carbon emissions is a new moment that will allow us to both accelerate existing work to protect and restore mangroves while generating and funneling significant new global investment. If we can generate enough momentum to accomplish these ambitious aims, we can improve the well-being of tens of millions of people and revitalize critical coastal ecosystems.

The MAP News, 422nd Ed., 05 August 2017

The Global Mangrove Alliance is a new effort to mobilize the world to stop mangrove deforestation and to undertake a massive restoration effort. The goal of the Alliance is to expand overall extent of mangrove forests 20 percent by 2030. WWF, Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Wetlands International have joined together to take up this challenge. And that list is growing. The Global Mangrove Alliance was born of the belief that a renewed effort is needed across multiple sectors and geographies to give mangroves their due, and to massively scale and accelerate conservation and restoration of mangrove ecosystems. The know-how exists; it is the will and interest to act that needs bolstering. The Paris agreement and its focus on developing country-by-country plans to reduce carbon emissions is a new moment that will allow us to both accelerate existing work to protect and restore mangroves while generating and funneling significant new global investment. If we can generate enough momentum to accomplish these ambitious aims, we can improve the well-being of tens of millions of people and revitalize critical coastal ecosystems.

The MAP News, 421st Ed., 26 July 2017

Mangrove Action Project is proud to celebrate 25 years of working to expand the awareness of mangrove forests and the people who depend upon them. Twenty-five years ago, raising public awareness on mangroves and roles they play in fisheries, human safety, carbon-storage, coral reel protection, migratory bird habitat, and myriads of other benefits and value, seemed nearly insurmountable. Forests were being decimated, and destructive forces seemed unwilling to listen to the small voices of communities and NGO who cried out against them. However, here we are in 2017, 25 years later, celebrating Mangrove Action Day which has been recognized by the United Nations and endorsed by countless communities and organizations, both public and private around the globe. We here at MAP are pleased to join in honoring Mangrove Action Day July 26, 2017 activities. It is now apparent that the entire world has joined us in recognizing the role these vital forest ecosystems play in human life as well as the planet’s life. However, there is still much to be done. Coal fired power plants, dams, overfishing, coastal development and yes, still, unsustainable shrimp farming continue to destroy countless hectares of forest annually. As you remember Mangrove Action Day today, we encourage you to use your small voice to continue to work towards a healthier future; for the planet and for our children. We are here to attest, it works.

The MAP News, 420th Ed., 08 July 2017

Mangrove Action Project (MAP) has been working since 1992 (25 years!) to halt the rampant destruction of the earth’s mangrove forest wetlands that are threatened by unsustainable development. Such industries as charcoal and petroleum production, tourism and urban expansion, golf courses and marinas are all threats to mangrove forests today. Still, the largest threat stems from industrial shrimp aquaculture production, which is the largest contributor to current mangrove loss. In the past 100 years, over half the world’s mangrove forests have been lost to such short-sighted development pressures. Today, only around 15 million ha of the estimated original 36 million ha of mangroves still exist, while much of the remaining mangroves are degraded and in poor health. Mangroves also protect coastal communities from hurricane force winds and wave surges. For these reasons and more, in 2003, MAP joined other organizations from the global South to promote July 26th as Mangrove Action Day. We ask that you and/or your organizations please join us all in a global protest against the ongoing losses of the mangrove forest ecosystems and the local communities that depend upon the mangroves for their lives and livelihoods. Please send MAP your regional or local plans for actions that are meant to commemorate this international Day for the Mangroves! MAP would like to again share your plans and ideas with our global network. We look forward to hearing from you soon in this regard!