We at MAP were saddened to hear of the passing of Roy R. “Robin” Lewis III. He made a substantial contribution to the Mangrove Action Project (MAP) over the years as a Board Member then as our technical advisor sharing his knowledge & understanding of mangroves and restoration for the benefit of the planet. Robin was one of MAP’s first board members, and helped shape our efforts. We at MAP owe much to him for his dedicated work and wise counsel over those many years. We thank you! Roy R. “Robin” Lewis III, Professional Wetland Scientist, Ecological Society of America Certified Senior Ecologist, Board Certified Environmental Professional
MAP works in SE Asia providing practical, proven methods of education and training so coastal communities can conserve and restore their own mangrove forests. MAP has been collaborating with Ban Nai Nang to generate new income from beekeeping while restoring their mangrove forests. The village is now producing honey from mangrove flowers, and value-added products such as hand soaps, shampoos and balms. 10% of honey product sales goes into a Conservation Fund that gets put back into restoring mangroves that the area has lost in the past. Now, Nai Nang wants to pass that knowledge on to other communities. Just recently, the GlobalGiving Foundation selected us to participate in its Accelerator, a fundraising opportunity for nonprofit organizations around the world. In order to succeed, we must raise $5,000 from 40 donors by October 2nd. If we meet this threshold, we will be permanently featured on GlobalGiving’s website.
It is hard to imagine that only 14 years ago Sri Lanka was severely devastated by the tsunami, triggered by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake in the Indian Ocean. Its waves submerged the southwestern part of Sri Lanka, killing tens of thousands and destroying the infrastructure. But there is a lesson to be learnt here. Had Sri Lankans realised that through the destruction of a natural form of defence by chopping down the mangroves, it is unlikely they would have taken this course of action. For today, Sri Lankans are resolute about one thing when it comes to the protection of their environment: mangroves have to grow, have to be nurtured and have to be respected to protect this invaluable ecosystem.
This July marked the 20th anniversary of World Mangrove Day, which is recognized by UNESCO as a time to celebrate and appreciate the many benefits that mangrove ecosystems provide, and to make commitments to protect them. To celebrate this important day, the Mangrove Action Project created an annual mangrove photography contest. This year they received stunning images of mangroves from around the world, featuring the special communities and wildlife that depend on them. All photos that were entered are part of a special online exhibition to help raise awareness of these coastal ecosystems. Now, it’s your turn to vote for your favorite photos! Explore the gallery and choose which photo you think should win the People’s Choice Award. Voting ends August 31, and winners will be announced in early September.
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.”