Founding of the Mangrove Action Project (MAP)
Witnessing firsthand the rapid devastation of the world’s mangrove forest wetlands and their associated coastal ecosystems, the founders of the Mangrove Action Project (MAP) decided in 1992 that it was time to form a global network to save the mangroves.


From the beginning, we focused on problems affecting both coastal ecology and local communities. We became whistleblowers against the shrimp aquaculture industry, spotlighting its destructive expansion, responsible for hundreds of thousands of hectares of mangrove loss and ruin of valuable coastal zones.

Beyond shrimp farming

MAP has expanded its conservation work since its founding by addressing other serious problems affecting mangrove forests and coastal communities, including:

  • Petroleum Exploration
  • Fisheries
  • Hurricanes & Tsunamis
  • Food Security
  • Endangered Species

Our international networking efforts are bearing good results and today a more widespread awareness exists as to the importance of mangrove forests and the seriousness of their loss.

No longer is it a commonly held view that mangrove forests are smelly, mosquito infested wastelands, as more and more people are calling for effective conservation and restoration measures.

Viable, long-term, equitable solutions

In recent years, MAP has transformed from a network- and advocacy-focused organization into one still involved in advocacy, but with programs and activities on the ground.

We focus on viable, long-term, equitable solutions that place the local community at center stage. MAP supports the bottom-up approach in the search for more effective and lasting change.

The MAP News

Since 1998 we have published our important biweekly e-bulletin, the MAP News (formerly called the Late Friday News), which reaches more than 3,000 subscribers worldwide.


Founding of the Mangrove Action Project (MAP)

Witnessing firsthand the rapid devastation of the world’s mangrove forest wetlands and their associated coastal ecosystems, the founders of the Mangrove Action Project (MAP) decided in 1992 that it was time to form a global network to save the mangroves.

1993 to 1995:

MAP partnered with Indian NGO Orissa Krushak Mahasangh in a hard-fought campaign of media publicity and letter writing to the government of India to block powerful industrial conglomerate TATA’s plans to extend shrimp farming into Chilika Lake. The Indian courts, on the basis of evidence provided by MAP, ruled to block the shrimp farm development.


The World Bank offered the government of Cambodia a $100 million loan to subsidize shrimp farm development. MAP Executive Director Alfredo Quarto, in collaboration with the Thai NGO Yadfon Association, intervened directly with the Cambodian Minister of Fisheries, presenting such convincing evidence that he canceled the loan and thus saved possibly thousands of hectares of mangrove forest.


MAP teamed with Ecuadoran NGO Acción Ecológica and the women’s shellfish cooperative of the village of Santa Rosa, Cooperativa Concheras de Santa Rosa, to save from shrimp farm development a 10 hectare expanse of mangroves that contains some of world’s tallest mangroves.

1998 to 2000:

MAP partnered with Tanzanian NGOs LEAT and JET to oppose the proposed development of 10,000 hectares of shrimp farms that would have decimated the mangrove wetlands of the Rufiji Delta in Tanzania. An intensive letter writing and public relations campaign mobilized sufficient world and Tanzanian opposition to halt the development.


The Marvelous Mangroves curriculum was originally developed in the Cayman Islands.


30 fisherfolk from Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Thailand attended an In the Hands of Fishers (IHOF) workshop in Trang, Thailand. Returning home, they applied their new confidence and skills in actions that included confronting destructive trawling and developing community-use rules for their mangrove forests. The participants from Indonesia returned and started their own Indonesian off-shoot of MAP, MAP-Indonesia, which has since conserved and restored hundreds of hectares of Indonesian mangroves and helped Indonesian communities secure mangrove co-management rights from the Indonesian government.


The Marvelous Mangroves curriculum was adapted for Sri Lanka with the help of the Small Fisheries Federation of Sri Lanka (SFFL). 40 teachers from 30 schools were trained, and university biology professors developed a mangrove unit for the Sri Lankan school-leaving examinations, firmly embedding the curriculum content in the Sri Lankan educational system.


22 fisherfolk from Cameroon, Senegal, Nigeria, and Benin participated in the first African IHOF workshop in Cameroon, where 75% of mangrove loss is attributed to burning mangrove wood to smoke fish. Noting the fuel-efficiency of the Native American fish smokehouses in the Pacific Northwest where he lives, MAP Executive Director Alfredo Quarto suggested this model to the Cameroon Wildlife Conservation Society (CWCS), who adapted the design to Africa and trained the workshop participants in its use. Soon after the workshop the participants formed the African Mangrove Network (AMN), which CWCS utilized to disseminate the new smokehouse design throughout West Africa.


The IHOF Workshop in Koh Kong, Cambodia was funded by the Open Society Institute and implemented in partnership with the Cambodian government’s Participatory Management of Coastal Resources (PMCR) program. 52 fisherfolk from Cambodia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar shared their lessons learned on community-based resource management with the others in attendance. Attendees also learned about mangrove and seagrass ecology and mangrove restoration. Cambodian IHOF participants later formed the “Community Federation” of 4 Cambodian coastal villages, who together established the Chuoy Pros Seagrass Conservation Area. The workshop launched a continuing partnership with PMCR leading in 2005 to a project funded by the McKnight Foundation that restored 130 ha of Cambodian mangroves, established community mangrove nurseries, and implemented community solid waste management systems, the news of which rapidly disseminated when neighboring villages saw the results and requested help to implement their own systems


A truly seminal CBEMR workshop united 19 representatives of NGOS involved with mangrove restoration in India, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar at the second CBEMR workshop, held in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India. The two participants from Myanmar, from the Burmese NGO Mangrove Service Network (MSN), returned home and secured funding from MAP-Asia for a project that worked with villagers in the Ayeyarwady Delta to restore 25 hectares of degraded mangroves. Indian workshop participants from the NGO OMCAR returned to Tamil Nadu, India and with funding from the Lighthouse Foundation and MAP-Asia, worked with the villagers of Palk Bay to restore 2.5 ha of mangroves where a government restoration attempt had already failed.


MAP started work with the Instituto Bioma Brasil, the Brazilian Ministries of the Environment and of Education, Centro Escola Mangue, and Sao Carlos Federal University to adapt the curriculum to Brazil and train 70 teachers from 26 schools in Espirito Santo and 55 teachers from 19 schools in Cariacica.


MAP began its partnership with Andaman Discoveries and Naucrates to support the Phra Thong Island Community Conservation Center in Ban Lion, Thailand. The Center serves as the headquarters for a thriving eco-tourism/homestay enterprise, through which Andaman Discoveries steers eco-tourists to the Ban Lion homestay project, with villagers trained as guides who will soon be offering bird-watching and kayak tours through the local mangrove forests. A Women’s Tie-Dye Cooperative has been established to generate sustainable alternative income, and the Center serves as a seagrass and mangrove ecology research site, hosts a steady stream of students and volunteers, and has recently hosted the Youth International Volunteers Program and the North Andaman Youth Seminar.


The Question Your Shrimp Campaign was launched, gathering over a thousand signatures of people pledging not to eat imported shrimp, and signing up 20 Seattle-area restaurants and two retailers in Seattle to not buy or serve imported shrimp.
June 2009 a national workshop attended by education and ecology specialists and teachers from throughout Brazil led to the adoption of the curriculum in a total of five Brazilian states plus another dozen cities. Work is underway with the federal Ministry of Education to formally incorporate Maravilhosos Manguezais into the national education curriculum.


MAP began its CBEMR training and restoration work in Thailand, where we have worked diligently to perfect this methodology. With funding from the German government and IUCN, 35 villagers from Ranong Province were trained in two CBEMR workshops. Then, under the technical direction of MAP Asia Coordinator Jim Enright, they restored 2.5 ha of abandoned shrimp ponds and established a demonstration site at Ban Talae Nok which hosts study groups and students, serves to train other CBEMR practitioners and helps support the Ban Talae Nok village homestay project to generate alternative livelihoods.


The Marvelous Mangroves curriculum was introduced into the world’s most populous nation, China. In communities near the Zhanjiang Mangrove Nature Reserve, in Xiamen in Fujian Province, and in Gaoquiao in Guangdong Province, 76 teachers have learned to implement the curriculum, newly translated and adapted for China.


MAP brought CBEMR to Latin America, training 30 persons from environmental NGOs and government ministries from El Salvador and Honduras at a workshop in Cuidad Romero, El Salvador, on Jiquilisco Bay. Subsequently, MAP’s project partners Asociación Mangle and EcoViva secured funding to lead a restoration of the El Llorón site. The CBEMR training was so successful that authorities at the National Ministry of the Environment of El Salvador (MARN), including the Minister of the Environment himself, decided to incorporate key components of CBEMR into the permitting process for mangrove restoration, setting a precedent for all coastal ecosystem restoration throughout El Salvador.


  • MAP turns 20!
  • MAP begins to rent a space in the International District of Seattle in order to strengthen and expand the Question Your Shrimp campaign.
    September 2012: 5 adults and 15 youth from the village of Tae Pae Yoi, both boys and girls, received an intensive 2-day training in kayak eco-tourism, led by facilitators from MAP-Asia, John Gray’s Sea Canoe, and Andaman Discoveries. They learned kayak operation, safety, and navigation, and then had ample time to practice their new skills navigating through the local mangroves. Leaders and community members of Ta Pae Yoi are now actively planning how to move forward with the eco-tourism program, which will involve tourists doing homestays at the two bungalows already ready for use (with plans for four more). Activities planned include kayak tours, fishing trips, cooking lessons, bicycle touring, bird watching and traditional dancing. This homestay program will enable the villagers to derive sustainable livelihoods from their mangroves, while providing an opportunity for the villagers to learn more about their own environment.
  • MAP-Asia launches new mangrove restoration and sustainable livelihood projects in the coastal Trang Province, Thailand.
  • MAP’s Marvelous Mangroves curriculum was introduced to Australia in the summer and to Belize in October. Marvelous Mangroves will be incorporated into the national curriculum in Australia, following in the footsteps of Brazil.
  • MAP joined Global Washington (GW) as a way to further our outreach and consortium building objectives.

> Back to About Us