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On 9 October, 2015 11 persons including 5 International volunteers from Project Abroad-Thailand on improving the hydrology at our new Community Based Ecological Mangrove Restoration(CBEMR) site at Klong Lu area, village no. 3, Klong Prasong District in Krabi province. The site is actually located on an island, Koh Klang, in the Krabi River Estuary where MAP’s EPIC sites are located. The work involved digging channels into the high middle area of the pond after a backhoe had excavated several channels to re-connect the abandon shrimp pond to the natural water canal.
The pond is owned by a family who also running a Klong Lu Homestay in the village. MAP staff have been staying at the homestay since last year during field work for our EPIC CBEMR sites. The owner was interested in joining the project on Mangrove Conservation and Restoration so we are grateful to be working with them at this new site. This restoration site will be also be developed as a mangrove learning center with a short loop mangrove nature trail for the non-formal students and homestay guests who visit Klong Lu.
On Friday the 12th of June, 2015 Projects Abroad joined forces with MAP staff at EPIC site 2. Projects Abroad arrived with a group of 15 volunteers with all hailing from Europe and Canada. There was a constant drizzle all day and nice cloud cover to keep the weather from becoming too hot, making for good working conditions.
Several objectives were on the list for that day with the first being trash pickup. The constant fluctuation of the tides brings trash that gets caught in the site area including large debris and trash, which is mainly plastic. MAP team member, Bobby, worked on repairing the fishnet fencing to keep goats. The second half of the day was spent repairing and rebuilding one side of the pond wall from erosion.
Removing trash and floating wooden debris that has accrued in the pond do to a damaged net over the water flow entrance.
Removing large debris from the pond will help protect sprouting seedlings from being damaged during tidal fluctuations.
Half way through the day lightning and thunder rolled in forcing us to take a hiatus from our activities. We used this time to discuss mangrove conservation and restoration techniques as well as mangrove ecology.
Stamping down the tidal wall reinforcement mud so that the high tide does not go over the wall and erode it.
Washing and cleaning the equipment makes a great end to the day.
Later in the day once the tide had gone to its lowest point and the trash and large debris had been removed we took a series of time-lapse photos for the site. These photos are important for monitoring site restoration progress and having picture evidence of what techniques have been working and what needs improvement. We have standardized the photos for the site and created reference points by placing pieces of PVC pipe in the ground to take pictures from, so that we may have consistency in our site documentation.
Time Lapse photo showing angle “A”, these photos are an easy, cheap and time efficient method of site monitoring.
Key Messages: Cleaning and maintaining the site of debris and trash not only helps protect the seedlings from the constant tidal fluctuations, soil and water contamination but also kept our time-lapse photos looking presentable and set a good example for the local people that trash in the environment should not be a common sight. By adding another mud layer to the pond retaining wall we were able to combat erosion for the time being and continue to control the water level of the pond. Controling the water level in the pond will encourage mud crab colonize the site and help create a more natural habitat for mangrove regeneration.
The morning of May 22nd MAP met with volunteers from Projects Abroad on Koh Klang to work on the abandoned shrimp farm EPIC site #1 in Ban Klong Kum and start a new project replanting a portion of the beach forest at the same property. At the abandoned shrimp pond, MAP staff led a group of volunteers that continued to transplant sesuvium portulacastrum to the pond wall slope in order to provide a natural “net” to catch mangrove seedlings while at the same time preventing erosion from tidal movement and rain.
Objective: To plant 150 beach forest trees of 5 different species. Mr. Sompoch, MAP’s Technical Adviser, led the group, directing the volunteers on where and how to plant the trees.
In the distance is healthy beach forest. The planting took place left in the grassy area because beach erosion has already occurred.
MAP staff member, Bobby, moving debris away from the base of a planted beach forest tree.
Key Message: Beach forest species are special in their ability to thrive in very sandy, salty, and windy conditions allowing them to grow in areas where other plants including mangroves would not survive. By replanting the damaged beach forest we can help protect the ecosystems behind and the community inland from storm damage and help slow beach erosion.
Test Planting Sesuvium Portulacastrum & Seedlings in EPIC Site
On Friday the 24th of April, Projects Abroad helped MAP staff test transplanting Sesuvium portulacastrum along the pond bank of one EPIC site to help stabilise the bank slope and trap mangrove seeds. MAP has conducted a new experiment on what conditions of ground surface that will allow the establishment of the volunteer seedlings inside the pond by creating 6mx6m fixed quadrat of 4 different applications. MAP staff led the group of Projects Abroad volunteers to loosen the soil in the 1st plot, transplanting the sesuvirum portulacastrum in the 2nd plot, doing nothing in 3rd plot (control) and planting Rhizophora aciculate propagules in the 4th test plot.
Objective: To test transplant Sesuvium portulacastrum to reduce erosion of the site’s pond slopes and carry our an experiment on test planting on the pond bottom surface to understand what conditions of soil surface will help facilitate the establishment of volunteer mangrove seedlings. It is important for us to better understand how different conditions affect the speed and success of restoration.
Trash clean up crew hard work helping to set a good example amongst locals.
Test planting Rhizophora apiculata propagules along the pond channel under the instruction of conservation leader Mr. Bang Non.
Transplanting sesuvium to stabilise the soil on pond bank slope.
Making soil surface rough to test to see if this will assist natural recruitment.
Let’s improve the hydrology
key message: We have noticed that mangrove propagules have established in grass and Sesuvium portulacastrum areas of the pond but there are no volunteer propagules / seedlings establishing in the muddy surface areas. Some areas have not had any vegetation for nearly 30 years now. We would like to find out why so that is why we’re conducting this test planting experiment.
On April 10th, fourteen volunteers from Project Abroad arrived at EPIC Site #1 on Koh Klang to help local villagers with the digging of several new small canals to improve hydrology. Volunteers came from a range of different countries including France, Spain, Germany, USA and Denmark.
Objective: Teach the new Project Abroad volunteers about the importance of mangroves and get more local people involved in the restoration of this site. The overall aim of this day was to to dig new canals in order to improve the hydrology at EPIC Site #1, allowing more water to spread across the site at high tide and enabling water to easily leave the site at low tide. A group of volunteers cleared a stretch of beach where there is the potential for a new beach forest planting to take place to help reestablish the bio-shield from tropical storms.
The volunteers made their way down to the site to be introduced, by Jim and Ning, to the local people that they would be working with.
Those collecting litter worked quickly and soon had collected this much trash from the beach area of site 1. They were then joined the rest of the group on the site to assist with the hand digging of channels.
Work began on site, we were lucky with the weather in the morning as a cool breeze helped to keep everyone from getting too hot.
Work progressed well and the channels were becoming visible, with great teamwork by all!
By the afternoon, the weather had changed making it very hot and the work much more difficult. Everyone carried on and soon the work was completed.
By the end of the day volunteers were tired buy happy that they had successfully completed the work!
Key Message: When digging channels on site it’s important to carry the spoil away from the channel so it doesn’t quickly erode back blocking water flow. The channels are also “snake like” imitating natural creeks, wider at the connection, narrowing as they slope upgrade. The spoil is dumped in piles creating islands but not too high so seedlings could colonize these islets. It is great to have the involvement of local people as they are able to take ownership of the project and the future protection of the site is important.
Project Abroad volunteers visit EPIC sites on Koh Klang
On 13th March 2015, a group of international volunteers from Project Abroad gave up their time to help with some EPIC site restoration work. The main objective of the day was to do some hydrological improvement on EPIC Site #1, clear the litter from EPIC Site #2 and install the monitoring plots at the sites which will be used over the next few years to monitor the progress of the restorations.
The group was split into two with one half working on the hydrological improvement at Site 1 and the other half worked on litter pick-up. MAP decided to reward the volunteers by taking them on a boat trip through the mangroves channels of Koh Klang so they could appreciate what a health mangrove ecosystem looks like. Our boatsman was Bang Non, a local conservation leader, who is very much involved in the EPIC project and a member of the project’s Advisory Committee.
Key Message: Hand digging channels to improve hydrology is very hard labour work which often needs on-going adjustments due to erosion or channels are not constructed deep and wide enough.
EPIC project is back at Koh Klang village with Projects Abroad volunteers
On February 13th, 2015, 12 volunteers and 2 staff members from Projects Abroad together with 1 project manager from IUCN, 3 staff from MAP-Asia and 6 villagers from the Klong Prasong district were back in Koh Klang village to work at EPIC-CBEMR site # 2. The volunteers were very international coming from Denmark, Germany, UK, France, Switzerland, Argentina, USA, Canada and China.
The objectives of this one-day field visit was to make a goat-proof fence around the pond and to reinforce an area of the pond bank.
After Jim Enright (MAP-Asia) briefed Projects Abroad volunteers on the site and on mangrove ecology, the imam of Koh Klang village, who is also the manager of the EPIC-CBEMR site # 2, greeted the group with the kind help of Ning Enright (MAP-Asia) as a translator.
There was a lot of work on that day! In the morning, while some were busy consolidating the bank,…
… others carried…
… then sharpened an end of the fence poles, …
… for another group still who actively “planted” them around the pond. It looked like a new form of pole dancing! :-)
In the afternoon, while many finished the consolidation work (red arrow shows the final result, high enough to stop the highest spring tides from overflowing the embankment).
… another small group fought the hard, dry soil to dig a trench between the poles that would solidly seal the fishernet in the earth.
Indeed, the little culprits – the “mangrove-seedling-browsing goats” – were soon to be seen in the vicinity again!
Grazing livestock often makes mangrove restoration difficult where animals are free roaming, due to browsing and trampling. In such cases, site protection by excluding grazers is required so natural recovery can occur. We were forced to fence the site as a last resort as we tried to use a deeper outer water channel initially that proved inefficient with goats in our case. In some locations of the world green fencing may be possible to protect mangroves.
EPIC project continues at Koh Klang village with Projects Abroad volunteers
On January 16th, 2015, 8 volunteers and 2 staff members from Projects Abroad together with 14 villagers from the Klong Prasong district were back in Koh Klang village to work at EPIC-CBEMR site # 2.
The objective of this one-day field work was to provide a short ecology training to the volunteers, survey the mangrove species and fix the sluice gate.
Jim Enright, MAP Asia Coordinator, gave an overview of the EPIC project and pointed the potential EPIC restoration sites on the map of abandon shrimp ponds.
Projects Abroad volunteers surveyed the ponds in the morning. One group counted the crab holes in a 50-cm quadrat as an indicator of fauna colonising the site. Crabs are important for aeration of the soil burrowing leaf litter.
Meanwhile, a second group surveyed seedlings, known as volunteers, naturally regenerating on site. In a 10-m square area 6 mangrove species were observed indicating healthy biodiversity.
Before lunch break some volunteers collected garbage around the pond. This time 2 bags were collected.
In the afternoon, Projects Abroad volunteers joined the villagers to fix the pond’s sluice gate… working in the mud!
The work progressed rapidly on that day thanks to the good weather and the enthusiasm of the Projects Abroad volunteers. The visit was a good mixture of helping fix some issues in the pond, such as fixing the sluice gate, and teaching the Projects Abroad volunteers about the ecology of mangroves and ecology field survey methods.
On December 15th, MAP spent the day with international volunteers from Project Abroad, an international volunteer overseas program with a marine and coastal project based in Krabi.
On Koh Klang, Krabi the volunteers helped with the restoration of an abandoned shrimp farm so it will one day become a mangrove forest.
The group of volunteers didn’t have to wait long until the locals led them into the muddy pond, showing them the best way to use the digging equipment.
There was also a lot of trash – 25 bags of waste and 4 bags of recyclables – collected from around the pond.
Thanks to the group from Projects Abroad and the good weather, work continued rapidly that day.
Work Continues on the CBEMR site at Klong Kum village on Klang Island, Krabi
With the help from Project Abroad, an international volunteer overseas program with a marine and coastal project based in Krabi, and more than a few local community members, work continued on the hydrology restoration of an abandoned pond on Klang Island in the Krabi River estuary. The combined efforts of the multi-national team using shovels and broad hoes effectively continued the work of digging canals through the center of the pond for tidal water access without the use of heavy machinery.
Jim Enright, MAP Asia Coordinator, spent some time with our friends at Projects Abroad showing them around the site, introducing them to mangroves and wetland ecology. He explained the mangrove restoration demonstration site is part of an international project called Ecosystems Projecting Infrastructure and Communities (EPIC) supported by the German Government’s International Climate Initiative (ICI) which is promoting Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) or Eco Disaster Risk Reduction (Eco-DRR). This was actually MAP’s first time to work in partnership with Project Abroad in the field and the newcomers took no time at all jumping right into the work, plenty willing to get their hands dirty. In addition to the hydrology restoration, the volunteers combed the site, making sure to collect trash to be taken off island.
With the sheer number of workers combined with their enthusiasm, the work progressed more swiftly than anticipated and clear skies, atypical for this time of year, made sure there were no interruptions. An entire canal running from one edge of the site, through the center, to the other edge was just about completed and careful attention was made that it would meet the goals of the hydrology plan. This canal was specifically designed to maximize mangrove growth. This means that specific consideration was paid to the elevation and width to make sure tidal waters would efficiently flow through and recede as to ensure the mangroves would enjoy the proper ecological environment.
The next steps to be taken on Klang Island will be to build another canal for the site. This one will be wider and deeper to support tidal flushing, good drainage and support silvofisheries for local harvesting and sustainable economic development. Another task will be grading the slopes of the pond banks to increase the area of mangrove habitat.