Mangrove Conservation & Restoration
Working alongside mangrove ecologists, local NGOs, and communities, MAP promotes the ‘ecological – hydrological’ mangrove restoration (EMR) methodology, an economical and efficient way to mangrove restoration that follows basic natural processes. This well-considered model directly engages local community participation, and has proven extremely successful. Reaching far beyond mere hand planting of one species, as is sadly typical of mangrove restoration projects, EMR greatly increases the effective restoration of biodiversity to ecosystem-wide degraded mangrove forests. Natural restoration and/or manual planting of mangroves utilizing the EMR model is an important tool for international relief organizations to implement in order to restore mangroves in a cost effective manner to counter increased storm surges and rising seas MAP has actively rehabilitated mangroves in Thailand and Indonesia, as part of post-tsunami recovery, while being involved in consulting on shoreline and mangrove restoration projects elsewhere. MAP completed EMR training workshops in Cambodia, El Salvador, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand, and plans additional workshops where there is interest. . MAP also facilitates an EMR e-group with over 130 members worldwide sharing information and experience on more effective ways to rehabilitate mangroves. Through all of its work, MAP also raises awareness among those participating as to the importance of mangrove forests, whether participants are policy makers, local citizens, or NGOs.
Importance of Mangrove Restoration – CBD poster 2011 small
The winning poster (pictured right) from the Fifteenth Meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) discusses the importance of Mangrove Restoration for endangered species and humans.
This winning poster was created by
MAP’s Holistic Approach to Mangrove Restoration
- based on ecological mangrove principles;
- involving local stakeholders in planning, implementation, and monitoring;
- working with (not against) nature by encouraging natural regeneration; and
- planting mangroves only for very specified reasons where natural propagules are not available.
MAP’s Ecological Mangrove Restoration (EMR) Method
Since the December 2004 tsunami there has been a mounting call for re-establishing protective greenbelts along coastlines. Although the jury is still out on the extent to which mangroves mediate tsunami damage, mangrove forests are proven effective barriers against tropical storms and strong wave action.
How effective mangroves are depends on a number of factors, such as:
- density, width, height, and species composition of the mangrove forest;
- height of the tsunami
- bathymetry of the coastline; and
- other oceanographic factors.
Why do so many mangrove restoration projects fail?
Much of the post-tsunami effort to restore coastal greenbelts involved simple planting of mangrove seedlings and propagules.
There have been numerous failures, already, due to planting of inappropriate species, and in inappropriate locations.
Failure occurs, in general, due to a lack of understanding of the restoration site itself:
- What was its history?
- What mangrove species grew there?
- Where did they grow?
- What caused the destruction or degradation of the mangroves?
- What were their hydrological requirements?
- How deep was the substrate in which they grew?
- What were the fresh water inputs to the area?
- Where did exchange of tidal and sea water take place?
Contrary to popular belief, mangroves require some freshwater to grow well, and they are submerged only around one third of the time.
Planting mangroves along an exposed coastline, in too-deep water without fresh water input, is a recipe for failure.
Much money was spent after the tsunami in developing mangrove seedling nurseries, while little money or time was put into determining the site-specific needs of mangroves at each restoration location.
The resulting failure of many restoration projects is discouraging to all parties involved, not least the local communities which need positive encouragement to restore and protect mangroves, rather than discouragement over project failure.
For information on Mangrove Restoration of Abandoned Shrimp Farms, please click here
For Selected Mangrove Restoration Papers & References please click here
To see who is implementing the EMR methods click here