CBEMR A Successful Method of
Mangrove Restoration

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Ban Tha Sanook

Ban Nai Nang

Koh Klang

Ban Laem Makham

Ban Bang Kang Kao

Ban Thung Gor

MAP Community Based Ecological Mangrove Restoration Network members from Andaman Sea Coast visit the Gulf of Thailand’s East Coast

By: Jaruwan (Ning) Enright, MAP Thailand Field Coordinator

 It was so delighted to visit the Pred Nai mangrove community near the Cambodia border as I felt like I had returned home. I first visited Pred Nai while working with RECOFTC (the Regional Community Forest Training Center for Asia and Pacific, now called the Center for People and Forests) before I joined MAP 12 years ago and have since visited Pred Nai many times. As this is the first place I learned about mangrove I am full of good memories when visiting Pred Nai.

Between 23-25 July, 2018 my colleague Em (Mr. Udomsak Pariwatpan) from the MAP Thailand team and I, together with eight CBEMR network representatives from Ranong, Phang Nga, Krabi and Trang Provinces in Thailand celebrated Mangrove Action Day or the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem on the 26th of July by learning and sharing experiences on community-based mangrove conservation and restoration at Pred Nai Community, Trat Province on the eastern coast of Thailand.  Our CBEMR members gained valuable knowledge from the Pred Nai Community who have over 30 years of experience in participatory mangrove management.  The highlight of the trip was visiting the 7.2 hectares of restoration site which the villagers started to restore 9 years ago in abandoned shrimp ponds back to natural forest again. This mangrove restoration project was a concrete example of a conservation group allocating their own community conservation funds to buy the abandoned shrimp ponds and return them back mangroves.  Through their experience, Pred Nai members have become well-equipped in community-based practices and have developed a strong community organization working as a learning center for the region and even at the national and international levels as well.

One outstanding concern made by Uncle Yai (Mr. Amnuay Chumanee), one of the conservation leaders at Pred Nai, concerned how to transfer their conservation awareness to the Pred Nai youths so what they’ve achieved is not lost.  This is clearly an important issue looking forward for the sustainability of the conservation group and the work they carry-out.

Participants from the Andaman CBEMR network were asked to reflect on the key lessons learnt which they will be taking home while at the Kung Krabaen Bay Royal Development Study Center, an excellent mangrove restoration area with boardwalk in Chantaburi Province before returning home.  Most of the members observed and emphasized the importance of the strong community organization at Pred Nai, which is not only a conservation group but also includes collaborating with all the other groups in the community.  The community mangrove forest regulation needs to be practical but not conflict with official law and strictly enforced by the local conservation committee.  Another learning point shared at the meeting was that the learning center management needs to collect high-quality accurate information and be able to be clearly   presented to visitors groups with the participation of local people in all aspects of the process.  As learning center is one of our CBEMR members projects which members plan to develop in their own community so that local people can validate the information and proudly present from their own personal experience.

Besides all the lessons the group learned from this study trip, I think the trip was a great success because the relationship between MAP and the participants have become stronger through the time we spent together.  I am very confident that we will continue working together as a small network and that we will grow strong as we follow the motto “small but strong”.

1MAP staff and Andaman CBEMR network members at Pred Nai mangrove boardwalk, Trat Province, eastern Thailand.

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Photo 2011 of the Pred Nai mangrove restoration site.  The community planted some Rhizophora apiculata propagules and then allowed natural regeneration to occur.

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July 2018 photo: Look at the difference!!  In just 7 years the area is now a thriving healthy mangrove forest.

For more study trip photos please see our FB photo album: https://tinyurl.com/ycgyz4s4

Ban Nai Nang Apiculture Training Workshop

By Kate Knight Office Development & Field Project Assistant (Intern)

On July 1st 2018, Mangrove Action Project and Nai Nang Apiculture Group hosted a “How to do” beekeeping training workshop for new communities interested in this supplementary livelihood. There was a total of 32 participant trainees who came from 3 different villages that MAP currently has a mangrove restoration project in: 12 people from Bang Kang Khao village, Sikao District, Trang; 4 people from Thung Yor village, Klong Thom District, Krabi; and 16 people from Kong Lu village, Muang District, Krabi. The workshop provided a great opportunity for Nai Nang trainers to disseminate some of their valuable knowledge and for other villages to learn about how the group has become so successful with their apiculture enterprise, with the hope of being able to replicate it in their own village. This livelihood training workshop was kindly funded by the LUSH Charity Pot, the corporate social responsibility arm of the Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetic company.

Community to community apiculture training gets underway

Community to community apiculture training gets underway.

The day started with a welcome speech and introduction from Mr Arlee, the secretary of the Nai Nang Apiculture group, the hosts and trainers.  Ning, MAP Thailand’s field officer, then gave a brief talk about the work MAP has done in Nai Nang and the background to the workshop, followed by a brief discussion of how the Nai Nang group was formed given by the president, Mr. Sutee Pankwan.  Nai Nang village was originally a part of a larger conservation group with the neighboring villages called the Khloa Kan Conservation Group, who were responsible for the mangrove forests, peat forest lands and coastal ecosystems in the district. There were many frustrations for the conservation group, such as no budget to carry out large projects but also the time needed to rehabilitate the forest meaning a long wait before the community were able to make a livelihood from the forest. Therefore, Nai Nang decided to start a local enterprise raising bees in order to provide themselves with a supplemental income while at the same time still supporting their important mangrove conservation work.

Trainees, both male and female, were keen listeners & students.

Trainees, both male and female, were keen listeners & students.

The Nai Nang Apiculture group gave a very professional detailed, interesting and fun workshop on the many steps to successful bee keeping. Firstly, they explained how they construct the beehive boxes out of recycled wood removed from old abandoned boats. There was then the opportunity for the participants to get hands-on and construct their own boxes using some wood and tools supplied by Nai Nang. “Learning by doing” was lots of fun for all the trainees while the trainers provide useful tips based on their experience.  After the successful construction exercise, everyone set off to the nearby rubber tree plantation on the edge of a mangrove forest which is the site where it is possible to set-out the boxes so wild bees (apis cerana) can take-up free residency and establish a productive colony. Here we were given another demonstration about how to set up the new bee box and make it an attractive home by rubbing bees wax on the inside and then transport them to the permanent bee yard.

After lunch the a step-by-step demonstration continued with participants being shown how to collect the honeycomb from the active beehive, without getting stung, which is a real skill so everyone paid very close attention. Throughout the workshop, the participants were keen listeners and had many interesting questions for the group. The highlight of the workshop for many trainees was the demonstration of extracting the honey, filtering it, and finally getting a chance to taste the fresh golden liquid.  The profitable honey represented the sweet taste of a successful partnership between the hardworking bee colony and Nai Nang Apiculture group which provides the safe, dry, rent free homes and protecting their mangrove as a source of nectar for the bees.

Materials and tools needed for constructing beehive boxes.

Materials and tools needed for constructing beehive boxes.

Demonstration showing how to extract and filter the honey.

Demonstration showing how to extract and filter the honey.

One of the main points made during the workshop was the importance of mangrove conservation for bee raising. It was stressed how the two projects go hand in hand and it is not possible to raise bees without also working on mangrove conservation. Bees must have enough food sources within five kilometers of the bee hive for them to produce honey so ensuring a healthy forest is a precursor for apiculture.

Just before lunch everyone was treated to a short drive to view the mangrove forests in Nai Nang and MAP’s original Community Based Ecological Mangrove Restoration site. This was a particularly interesting part of the day where each village shared their own experiences with mangrove conservation and discussed the differences between the mangrove sites in Nai Nang and the ones in their own village. Many great stories and advice was shared between the Nai Nang Group and other villagers, and everyone took something new away with them.

Discussion between communities on mangrove conservation & restoration.

Discussion between communities on mangrove conservation & restoration.

The workshop ended with each village coming together to discuss what they had learnt during the workshop. Using flipcharts each village created a quick strategy of what they would do next when they returned to their village in order to start raising bees. These were then shared with the group and then opened up to members of the Nai Nang Apiculture Group for comments and suggestions. It was clear how much each participant had learned from the workshop with the amount of detail that had gone into the plans. It was particularly good to see that each strategy started with improving the health of the mangrove forests and ensuring plentiful food sources for bees as this was one thing that was continually stressed throughout the workshop.

Ban Klong Kum community presented their apiculture plans

Ban Klong Kum community presented their apiculture plans

Please watch our short video (6:33 minutes) on the beekeeping workshop held at Nai Nang https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=On80W7sswJw&t=1s

 

Empowering CBEMR Ambassadors!

May 25th, 2018

Written by Zoë Shribman, MAP Office Development & Field Project Assistant (Intern)

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MAP recently hosted a Facilitation Skills Workshop that was funded by a newly established Lush: Fresh Handmade Cosmetics grant, for MAP’s CBEMR Community Network Capacity Building program.

This workshop, which took place directly adjacent to a beautiful mangrove estuary in the town of Krabi, spanned four days at the beginning of May, 2018. There were 13 participants from five villages within MAP’s Community-Based Ecological Mangrove Restoration (CBEMR) Network throughout four provinces in Southern Thailand: Trang, Krabi, Phang-Nga, and Ranong.

MAP is developing this CBEMR Network, to emphasize building capacity for communities involved in CBEMR. MAP uses this network as a way to connect the many mangrove restoration sites, and for villagers to interact with people from other areas so they can learn from each other. This network provides an incredible framework to promote CBEMR awareness and offers an outlet to discuss what works and what doesn’t.

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Each assigned to different stakeholder positions, participants roleplay a lively community meeting. Sometimes there were intense debates between stakeholders, and in other  moments the entire room would burst into infectious laughter.

MAP conducted this workshop to encourage participants to become effective CBEMR ambassadors. This workshop aimed to provide resources and tools to help local leaders and local conservation advocates strengthen community organization. Through this training, participants learned how to be able to demonstrate the importance of CBEMR as representatives of their own communities and of MAP. Some of the basic facilitation skills MAP focused on included becoming an effective public speaker or presenter, leading community discussions, strategizing decision-making, and organizing successful participatory group meetings within local communities and with the public.

The workshop was structured with activities, group discussions, and roleplays, as well as individual and group presentations.

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The villagers plan and give final presentations on their own experience with CBEMR to the group, using their newfound facilitation skills and public speaking confidence.

Participants reflected as the workshop came to a close, that they were happy to return home to their villages with newly acquired organizational skills and confidence in public speaking. They were eager to exchange contact information with everyone to stay in touch, so they could continue learning from each other in pursuit of CBEMR.

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At the end of the workshop, participants enthusiastically award each other with certificates and share ideas of how they will apply the skills they have learned in the future.

And we’d like to give a big thank you to Lush: Fresh Handmade Cosmetics for their support with this successful and engaging workshop!

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MAP’s mangrove conservation and restoration project at Thung Yor, Thailand

SE_TY_M&T_Study Tour to Lang Da, Nai Nang and Thale Nok Community_2017_03_8-9_083

By: Udomsak Pariwatpan, MAP Field Officer, (9 Jan. 2018)

Thung Yor Ver-3Thung Yor is a small village located in Krabi Province, southern of Thailand. Some of the village area is mangrove forest which is connected to the Andaman Sea by tidal streams. Most of the villager’s main occupation is in agriculture with a supplementary livelihood from coastal small-scale fisheries.  So, due to their dependence on the fishing the villagers have placed a priority on the conservation and restoration of mangroves.

Untitled-1Photos showing abandoned shrimp ponds before hydrological restoration.  Pond #3 above is holding mostly 

rainwater. 


The community joined MAP to undertake a CBEMR project with the objective to restore 2 hectares of abandoned shrimp ponds back to mangroves.  The site consists of 3 ponds as seen in the Google Earth image above with little or no tidal exchange, especially pond #2 and #3 which was were waterlogged with few mangrove seeds entering the ponds and the condition was not suitable for mangrove growth.  Pond #1 remained very wet as the pond drained through the sluice gate and by the time the pond was drained the tidal starting to come back up due the semidurnal tides. ( 2 high & 2 low tides in 24 hr) 

Under CBEMR the priority is to restore normal tidal flushing.  The community wanted to rehabilitate the mangroves but the traditional planting method would not work in this situation due to the disturbed hydrology. MAP introduced the concept of Community-based Ecological Mangrove Restoration (CBEMR) which was a completely new approach for the community but they trusted MAP and are determined to learn.

Untitled-3On 8-9 March 2017 mangrove study tour to learn about CBEMR at Lang Da, Nai Nang and 
Thale Nok villages.



Untitled-2On 19-20 August 2017 a backhoe was used to reconnect the 3 abandoned shrimp ponds together and 


then to a tidal stream according to restoration plan developed.


Some members of Thung Yor took part in a CBEMR training workshop and field study tour (8-9 March 2017) to visit other CBEMR sites to 
learn the theory of this new restoration process. A restoration plan was developed for the site, following a full field survey including measuring the surface strata height of the pond bottoms using an auto-level.  The hydrology improvement started by using a backhoe to make a drainage channel in pond #1 and breaching the earthen dyke for better drainage at the old sluice gate location (lowest point).  The objective is to have rapid drain down of the pond similar to the nearby mangrove. The channel dug within the pond followed the water drainage pattern looking much like a natural winding stream rather a straight canal.  

The result was good tidal exchange which allowed mangrove seeds to enter into the site with each tide. Mother nature facilitates mangrove seeds to be dispersed everywhere in the ponds and the species start growing in the zone which is best suited for them.  Seeds that end up in an in appropriate location do not fair well, die, or are out-competed by more favourable species for that location.  This is a process of natural selection and results in a natural mangrove ecosystem rather than an even aged man-made plantation.

Untitled-4Volunteer seedlings appear on site 2 months after hydrological restoration. No planting needed.

Following just two months of normal hydrology exchange we undertook our first monitoring using time-lapse photos and the results were fantastic with many volunteer seedlings growing on the restoration site. Moreover, there are many different species of seedlings such as Rhizophora apiculata, Xylocarpus sp., Avicennia sp., Acanthus sp., Ceriops sp., Bruguiera sp. etc.

   The chief of village, Mr. Raksa Kohmodkan stated: “We would like to restore the mangrove forest back to its original condition and allow people in this community to use it as a source of livelihood. This site can also be a showcase model for other communities to follow.”

The future of mangrove depends on you so please help nature to regenerate the mangrove.

Note: The Thung Yor CBEMR project supported by Synchronicity Earth and MAP is part of SE’s Regeneration Portfolio.
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CBEMR officially launched in Thung Yor village, Krabi

Ning MAP Project Manager introducing the CBEMR process.

By: David Matyas, MAP volunteer intern

On May 2nd, 2017 we met the community of Thung Yor, Klong Thom District, Krabi province to introduce mangrove restoration project using the CBEMR process in a 3 pond site located near the village. Synchronicity Earth of the UK is funding this new mangrove restoration project which is MAP’s largest to-date, and the first multi-pond site. In addition to the community members, MAP invited three experienced CBEMR community representatives from other sites to share their first-hand experience on mangrove restoration. Other stakeholders such as the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) and MAP’s fisheries advisor were invited to share their mangrove restoration experience and encourage the community.

Thung Yor village setting


Arriving at Thung Yor, there aren’t many mangroves to see as the village is surrounded mostly by oil palm and rubber plantation from which 90 % of the villagers earn their living from. We didn’t see a typical village either as houses are spread amongst the plantations. Despite this Thung Yor’s 450 population utilize the mangrove for supplementary food supply and are indeed protected from storms by the mangrove buffer so they understand its value.

Three abondons shrimp ponds to restore using the CBEMR process

Three abandoned shrimp ponds to restore using the CBEMR process

Thung Yor: MAP’s newest CBEMR member


Just a couple months ago, MAP had learned from the DMCR of three illegal abandoned shrimp ponds which had been taken back by the government and got in contact with the village chief, Mr. Raksa Kohmodkan. He was aware of the situation and showed a great deal of interest to have this site restored back to a healthy mangrove ecosystem.

Multi-stakeholder meeting


To start this first community meeting, Ning, MAP Project Manager introduced the CBEMR process. Then the three community CBEMR experts who were already partnering on mangrove restoration projects with MAP shared their experience, not only in the same local southern dialect but also terminology which was easily understood. The critical role of mangroves in reducing the risk of disaster for coastal communities and slowing erosion was explained. These experienced local practitioners also revealed how their own CBEMR project unfolded along with positive outputs, such as community awareness building, environmental education for school children and supplementary incomes gained from mangrove honey production. A government officer, Mr. Pisit Thongkong, from the Mangrove Development Unit of DMCR emphasize the importance of working together and that the project needs to be integrated with government, the village, and MAP.
More than 30 villagers attending the meeting became eager to join the CBEMR network and carry out their project. The next steps will be to sign an agreement between the DMCR, the village chief, the chief of the district and MAP to officially start the work in the field work by restoring the natural tidal hydrology to the three ponds.

Key message


MAP starts every restoration project through a multi-stakeholder process and it very interesting to realize all the homework which must be done before starting the restoration in the field to prevent problems later. It’s crucial to build awareness about the benefits of mangroves and to explain the project clearly. Another important issue is to be certain about site’s land tenure and how should the site be used in the future.

Every potential restoration site must be evaluated on technical, economic and social bases. If there is not strong community interest and support, MAP will not start, as the long-term protection of the site will largely depend on the local community.

International volunteer students dig-in at Nai Nang, restoration site

All the volunteers of the days

By David Matyas, MAP Volunteer Intern

To start of the month, on May first,  the MAP team paid a visit to Nai Nang village where we met with the local community and the volunteers of Projects Abroad joined by the students of the Canadian International School from India and we joined together for some serious earth moving ecological improvements at one new restoration site, supported by Synchronicity Earth.

Nai Nang involvement in mangrove conservation

For the Nai Nang community, the mangrove is much more than just trees as provide livelihoods and food in the form of fish, shellfish, snails, shrimp and crabs. Meanwhile, it’s also a natural protection against coastal erosion and tropical storm caused disaster. In 2012, the community wisely decided to protect the mangrove forest near their village by establishing an 80 ha protected zone.  In 2014, the plan turned to action as began to restore abandoned shrimp ponds using the CBEMR process introduced by MAP. Soon after they invited wild bees to stay in wooden boxes they built and set out near their houses.  Realizing that the sweet honey production is a sustainable activity providing supplementary incomes and improves mangrove pollination they knew they had found a win-win enterprise. Today the Nai Nang community has around 400-500 beehives and they project to reach 600 in the next couples years.

Morning digging 

 

Volunteer students at work

Volunteer students at work improving the hydrology

Early in the morning, before the scorching tropical sun rose high above our heads and the heavy humidity make physical work impossible for us foreigners, volunteers from Projects Abroad and the students of the Canadian International School were digging and making mounts of muddy soils rise up from the flat bottoms of two shrimp ponds to restore the hydrology of the two sites.  We soon learned that mangrove restoration requires teamwork and is much more than just about planting seedlings or propagules.

 

Why change the topography? 

Both sites were too low compared to normal soil elevation of the natural mangrove zone so at high tide, the water level is too high andinundation is too long even for the colonizing mangrove species to survive. Mangrove just like all other plants does need to breath, which is impossible underwater. Moreover, the current was too strong during the tidal flooding and receding making it hard for the seedling to anchor and root.

 

Mr Sutee Pankwan answering question of volunteers about apiculture in Nai Nang

Mr Sutee Pankwan answering question of volunteers about apiculture in Nai Nang

 

Honey of the sea forest 

In the afternoon, Mr. Sutee Pankwan, as the head of Nai Nang apiculture group, explained to all of us why the mangrove is so important for his village. He described the process of making honey and how the community set empty beehives in the mangrove, hoping for wild queen eventually settle with the whole colony following and become busy bees producing golden honey. At the end of the season, they bring back the beehives to the forest near their home where they work to extract the honey.  The volunteers watched how they took the honey from the beehive and they had the opportunity to taste the freshest, sweetest honey in their lives.

Volunteers tasting the golden honey

The reward for their hard work: Volunteers tasting the golden honey.

Key message …

It was a good day to observe the first field work needed to restore mangrove forests. Not all shrimp ponds are restorable and it’s important to understand why mangrove don’t grow on the site. To improve hydrology is often the first important work to restore mangroves.

Mangrove Meet-up: Sharing ideas, perspectives and experiences

By MAP Volunteer Intern, Emma McDowell

March 9th was another sweltering day in southern Thailand.  The air was almost wet with humidity, the sun beat down from overhead, and the relentless heat hung around like a blanket.  However, the midday temperature did not stop the seven villagers from Ban Thung Yor, Klong Thom, Krabi Province who were exploring the mangrove restoration site at Ban Nai Nang.  This was the second stop on a two-day tour of three villages affiliated with Mangrove Action Project (MAP) and funded through Synchronicity Earth of the UK.  The tour was set up to highlight the experiences of MAPs participants and share ideas of how to successfully restore their own mangrove area.

Earlier that day they had explored the site at Ban Lang Da- a reclaimed shrimp pond area where the abundant green mangroves showed the success of the Community Based Ecological Mangrove Restoration project (CBEMR) started in 2008.  The site was restored back to mangrove forest, after it had been converted into a shrimp pond and then abandoned for more than 10 years.  Village leader Mr. Bandon Mad-osot showed the sites’ foliage and reestablished fish, crab and bird populations to the villagers from Ban Thung Yor.   He spoke of his community’s experience working with MAP and ended his tour by saying, “I don’t have very much more to say.  Just do it!  You will see so many benefits for your community.”  The villagers asked many questions and were excited to see how the area has reestablished the mangroves over time.  “It is beautiful,” spoke the village chief of Thung Yor, “so much green everywhere.”

Our group posing for a picture in front of the bee and rubber garden at Ban Nai Nang. March 8th, 2017.

Our group posing for a picture in front of the bee and rubber garden at Ban Nai Nang. March 8th, 2017

The second stop of the day brought the villagers to the heat of mid-day and to the eco village of Ban Nai Nang.  Villagers got to meet Mr. Sutee Pankwan ­­­­­­­the chairperson of the villages apiculture group, and discussed how the village has many different groups (crab bank, ecotourism, and apiculture product production) and that allwork together and contribute their profits to the conservation group that aids the preservation of the mangroves.  Sutee Pankwan highlighted the need to learn and work together and share knowledge to be successful, and told the group that, “working together is the key to our success.  We all have different groups in the village, but we always make sure that some of the money we make, goes into the conservation fund.  Without natre, our projects would be pointless.”  He also shared that the village was trying to register as a community forest, and that they have plans to work on rehabilitating the mangrove area in the coming month.  After trying some of the delicious honey and touring the mangrove site, the villagers embarked on the final step of their trip.

Two participants showing off their own handmade Batik prints made at Ban Talae Nok. March 9th, 2017.

Two participants showing off their own handmade Batik prints made at Ban Talae Nok. March 9th, 2017.

The tour concluded with an overnight visit to the village of Ban Talae Nok.  Villagers here have worked for years to reestablish their mangrove area, and have divided it into two sections- one left to restore naturally, and another with the addition of the planning of Nypa plants that the villagers use for thatch roofs, cigarette rollers, food, and daily life.  Villagers of Ban Thung Yor were invited to learn to make batik fabric prints and were taken on a tour of the mangrove area, which has grown a considerable amount since the last time it was visited.  “Our biggest problem was hydrology of the site,” spoke Mr. Ekakarat Cheangyang, “once we got the hydrology fixed, the area grew back quite quickly, and is still growing.”  Indeed, the lush green leaves and myriad of crabs, birds, and monkeys are a sure sign of the sites success.

A group “selfie” in the Mangrove Restoration Site at Ban Talae Nok. March 9th, 2017.

A group “selfie” in the Mangrove Restoration Site at Ban Talae Nok. March 9th, 2017.

Upon saying goodbye, and arriving back in Ban Thung Yor, the participants were left with a lot of information and knowledge.  Thung Yor village chief, Mr. Raksa Komodkhan  said, “Thank you so much for taking us on this trip.  We have a lot to think about now and will raise these ideas with our community.”  Hopefully after some reflection, they will decide to join the MAP network and make their site the latest addition to the restoration areas directed by MAP.

 

 

Mangrove Nature Trail and Learning Center Opening!

By Isabel Robinson, MAP-Asia Intern

19th of December of 2016 was a milestone day for the Mangrove Action Project (MAP) staff and the community of Baan Ta Sanook (TSN), located in Phang Nga Province, South Thailand. After months of planning, building and organizing, the Mangrove Nature Trail and the Learning Center was officially opened  at a special ceremony and finally ready to receive visitors!

The mangrove nature trail is a 70-meter walkway which is partly raised concrete so is always dry even at high tide and traverses through a biodiverse mangrove stand allowing you to have a close-up experience with the mangrove ecosystem. It was constructed carefully so not a single mangrove tree had to be cut down.  Mangrove species signs are located along the trail as well as mangrove ecology interpretation sign-boards and ends at a Learning Center, a small wooden shelter built over-top of a pond.  Information about mangrove conservation and ecosystem, are located at the Learning Center which is perfect for environmental education school groups.  This project has been funded by DAIMLER AG, the maker of Mercedes Benz vehicles as a CorporateSocial Responsibility (CSR) project, and is managed by Global Nature Fund (GNF) of Germany.

This project puts together people from different villages creating a place to discuss mangrove conservation and restoration ideas within each other, and most importantly encouraging people to work together and create long-term successful projects. The learning center is a place to support mangrove environmental education of local schools, so kids as the future representatives of these communities are not only learning inside the classroom but also outside in the middle of the real living mangrove nature.

On the grand opening day we had a beautiful sunny morning, with about 120 participants, including people from the official governments in Phang-Nga province like the Deputy Chief Executive of the Provincial Administrative Organization (PAO), representatives from the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR), the Head Master of TSN school. Also it was amazing to have the participation from the different communities where MAP has carried projects and has worked with over the past number of years to help celebrate this special occasion.   Village representatives came  Ban Bang Kang Kao and Ban Leam MaKham in Trang and from Krabi province Ban Klong Lu and Ban Nai Nang. The importance of the nature trail and the Learning Center for the protection of the mangroves was mentioned a number of times during the opening, inviting everyone to be part of this project.

Speakers and villagers gather at the opening ceremony for the Mangrove Nature Trail and Learning Center

Speakers and villagers gather at the opening ceremony for the Mangrove Nature Trail and Learning Center

Students from the area enjoying the new nature trail

Students from the area enjoying the new nature trail

Local students walking on the new paths through the nature trail.

Local students walking on the new paths through the nature trail.

In middle, MAP's Technical Advisor, Mr. Sompoch Nimsantijaroen, explaining the purpose of the learning center to the Government Officials of Phang Nga Province.

In middle, MAP’s Technical Advisor, Mr. Sompoch Nimsantijaroen, explaining the purpose of the learning center to the Government Officials of Phang Nga Province.

MAP hopes the Mangrove Nature Trail and Learning Center is well used and maintained for many years to come inspiring all users to learn and protect this vital ecosystem.

Nai Nang’s honey will “BEE” in the best hotels of Thailand!

By Isabel Robinson, MAP Volunteer Intern

Four years ago the community of Nai Nang in Krabi province, Thailand, started producing honey partly made from the mangroves flowers surrounding the village, but the most challenging part was how to market it. Most of the income and jobs around Nai Nang village are based on palm oil, rubber and fishing. The people asked themselves, “How can we make an income besides farming and fishing?” That’s when the idea of honey bees came along as serveral community members had already set-out bee boxeimg_2603s which had been colonized by the wild bee, Apis cerana. This is not only good for theenvironment, but also a great source of income and excellent for
mangrove pollination.

Mangroves are vital to this project, and MAP has provided technical support helping out with mangrove planting, drainage of the area allowing natural mangrove reproduction.  But most importantly, teaching and educating the community so they can take care of the mangrove and continue with the restoration and conservation of this ecosystem. The mangrove is as vital to community as the community to the mangrove.

img_2677Part of MAP’s help has been providing packaging and marketing support, and thingsare looking good for Nai Nang! The effort of the people and MAP is showing good results, as a couple of weeks ago Nai Nang received a visit from Mr. Sean Panton, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at Marriott Hotels Thailand. He is responsible for the development of internal and external community and environmental programs and initiatives. Sean brought two chefs from Marriott Hotels in Phuket to taste test the honey. They liked it very much for the original salty-sweet taste of it, and their business interest with the community looks promising as they hope to make an agreement to purchase all natural raw Nai Nang honey to supply their hotels here in Thailand, the honey will be in the welcome drinks in Marriott Phuket and during the breakfast buffet in all the other Marriott branches.

img_26712This is great news for MAP and the Nai Nang community! A friendly relationship between the hotel business and conservation is possible, and what better example than this!

MAP-Asia helps to spread gold

Proud Apis cerana

By MAP Intern: Maria Savage & Photography: Jon Baines

The MAP Asia staff packed their bags on July 11th, 2016 and took a visit to Nai Nang Village, Krabi province, Thailand with high hopes for a promising partnership. In 2015 the Marriott Hotel in Thailand teamed up with MAP to undertake a mangrove restoration site assessment in Phang Nga province to ensure successful mangrove planting by Phuket Marriott staff as part of their mangrove Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program through IUCN Thailand. IUCN had invited MAP to visit the Hin Laad mangrove restoration site to ensure the site was effective in regeneration. Since then, the Marriott has raised interest in MAP’s work with the Nai Nang Apiculture group selling honey as an alternative livelihood while protecting and restoring mangroves in their village.

Left to right: Intern, Photographer, Coordinator, Project Manager

Left to right: Intern, Photographer, Coordinator, Project Manager

The meeting was held in close proximity to the bee boxes that the Nai Nang Villagers have built with the support of wood working tools provided by the Mangrove Action Project. The project was funded under Global Nature Fund of Germany and was called “Mangrove Restoration and Reforestation in Asia, a Project for Knowledge Exchange and Action to Protect Climate change, Forest and Biodiversity” as an effort to expand on the few families experimenting with bee keeping in the community. MAP saw the expansion as a gateway to alternative livelihoods for the Nai Nang Village community members. Here is the catch, when villages agree to produce honey, they are no longer allowed to use pesticides on their crops. This is a win-win for all members. The bees can flourish without toxins and chemicals present while the villagers expel the added cost of poisonous products. Some members note a decrease in the number of pests found on their crops and they credit the busy bees!

Apiculture workshops and value-add honey product training seminars were held for the people to produce hand soap, shampoo and conditioner to build capacity and market village produced products. The hives were incredibly successful, and the community sold 276 bottles of honey in 2015! A village Conservation Fund was established with 10% of all honey and honey product sales.

This golden honey is produced as part of the mangrove conservation efforts, it was sure to spark the interest of responsible fair-trade businesses. That’s where Mr. Sean Panton, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Representative for the Marriott Hotel chain Thailand and Ms. Kanokwan Homchaaim (Nok), Marriot Thailand’s Field Coordinator for IUCN come into the picture.

The meeting was planned to establish a partnership between the Nai Nang Village Apiculture Group and the Marriott Hotel CSR program. Sean and Nok recognized the many benefits of conservation group’s honey, and they are sure the customers of the Marriott would agree. The idea is to showcase the honey on the hotel’s breakfast buffets with background information about where it is produced and with details about the Nai Nang Apiculture Group. This marketing strategy will appeal to conscience of people who are looking to support local communities and local conservation efforts.

Exposing the hive

Exposing the hive

We were lucky enough to visit the beehives and see first-hand the honeycomb extraction. The workers looked more like soldiers; dressed head to toe in a camouflage suit and toped with a veil hat. They were well prepared for the vast number of protective bees working on the hive. We were even given a taste of the fresh honey combs direct from the hive. I admit, I have an inexhaustible sweet tooth and am no stranger to toast and honey, but this honey was a real treat. I haven’t tasted anything quite like it! It was fruity and flowerily all at once. Needless to say, I showed my support and bought a bottle.

Sampling the honey

Sean (in black) and Nok (in white) sampling the honey

Key Points:
I am fortunate to have witnessed a partnership that secures the future for this hard working community. Nai Nang Honey should be shared with more people, and they have already begun to do so. In March 2016 the experienced members of Ban Nai Nang offered guidance in an apiculture workshop for Ban Ta-Sanook in Phang Nga province. This opens doors of opportunity for many families and continued mangrove conservation. Marriott Hotel has made a conscientious decision in supporting conservation related supplementary livelihoods while sharing the benefits of this golden treat.

Click for MAP’s Apiculture Information Sheet