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GNF: The Global Nature Fund (GNF) is the project holder of a 4-year initiative (ending in Dec 2015) implemented in 4 Asian countries, including Thailand called Mangrove Restoration and Reforestation in Asia, a Project for Knowledge Exchange and Action to Reduce Climate Change, and Protect Forest and Biodiversity. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Foundation Ursula Merz, and Synchronicity Earth. More information
EPIC: The Ecosystems Protecting Infrastructure and Communities (EPIC) project is a 5-year initiative launched in 2012 and coordinated by IUCN. The EPIC project investigates the role that healthy ecosystems play in reducing disaster risk and supporting community-based adaptation to climate change implementing field demonstration field projects in East Asia, Europe, South America and West Africa. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety’s International Climate Initiative (BMU-ICI). More information
Daimler : Daimler AG, is the German automobile manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz. The project entitled "Mangrove Conservation in Asia" is funded through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program and runs Jan. 2014 - Dec. 2016, supporting the five Global Nature Fund (GNF) partners. The GNF administers the project and in Thailand and funding is supporting environmental education and alternative livelihoods in Tha Sanook Village, Tabput District, Phang Nga province. The construction of a mangrove educational nature trail and teaching of environmental education in the local school are being carried out. Honey bee raising and the production of shampoo, conditioner and bar hand soap using honey are being developed as supplementary livelihoods.
The Body Shop Foundation (TBSF), a charitable trust of the British cosmetics and skin care company of the same name which supports several volunteering and community-based projects around the worldwide. A new CBEMR project in an abandoned shrimp pond on Klang Island, Krabi is now underway with TBSF funding. MAP already has 3 restoration sites on Klang Island, so this is the 4th site and is being referred to as TBSF site. It officially started in Jan. 2017
Synchronicity Earth (SE), a UK registered charity, is funding MAP's largest to-date mangrove restoration site in Thung Yor Village, Klong Thom District, Krabi. SE's aim is to provide a framework for enlightened environmental giving, globally. SE's is engaging people from all backgrounds in co-creating the solutions to our ecological crisis. This project to restore a 3 abandonned shrimp pond site using CBEMR is taking place under SE's regeneration portfolio which supports local organisations to restore severely degraded forest, wetland, riverine and coastal ecosystems. The Thung Yor (TY) site started in Jan. 2017.
This blog's goal is to share field implementation experience on two projects which MAP Asia is undertaking in Thailand using Community Based Ecological Mangrove Restoration (CBEMR) which we feel is the most effective way to restore the full biodiversity to degraded or destroyed mangrove. The CBEMR method put emphasis on full community participation, fixing the problem(s) which caused mangrove loss in the first place, and ensuring the tidal hydrology is restored to support optimal natural regeneration. MAP has been teaching and promoting CBEMR since 2005, so the blog is another tool which we hope supports the theory through illustrating practical work on the ground. Most of the demonstration sites underway in Thailand are in abandoned shrimp ponds, which were formerly mangrove habitat. There are now large areas on disused shrimp ponds in Asia which could be restored back to healthy mangroves using CBEMR. We hope mangrove practitioners, partners, donors, NGOs and government agencies find this blog useful and please send comments and suggestions here.
May 19th, 20th and 21st MAP worked with Tha Sa Nook villagers under the Global Nature Fund (GNF) project in Phang Nga Province.
The objectives are to help improve the hydrology of the abandoned shrimp pond using CBEMR methods and techniques by working with the villagers to improve the land conditions for mangrove to regnerate. When the hydrology is improved adequately mangrove volunteers will start to seed and repopulate the pond. By repopulating the abandoned shrimp farm with mangroves we can create more habitat for fish, improving the catch of local village fishermen and rebuild the ecosystem.
MAP staff Khun Chay discussing hydrology strategy with local village workers
MAP Staff member, Ning, educates the villagers who will work on the project about how improving the hydrology of the pond will lead to mangrove regeneration.
Villagers and MAP intern work on creating a channel to help the water drain properly from the abandoned shrimp pond.
Key Message: A common problem with restoring many abandoned shrimp ponds is the bottom is often low, so poorly drained, remaining wet too long which is a stress for mangrove seedlings. Mangroves prefer to be dry (no standing water) for approximately two-thirds of the time which facilitates good oxygen exchange. The easiest way to partly overcome this problem is to ensure the tidal connection(s) to the pond are wide enough so water can enter and exist at a similar rate to the natural mangrove outside the pond. Smaller hand dug channels, imitating tidal creeks, can help water drain from the site as the bottoms are flat, while the natural mangrove has rolling elevations to facilitate drainage.
Involving the local community is extremely important in the longevity and sustainability of the project. When the local people have a stake in the quality of the ecosystem they will take personal initiative and responsibility for its conservation and restoration. Through awareness building we can help the local people develop conservation techniques and skills to better help them restore and protect their mangrove.
On Thursday the 23rd of April, scientific monitoring began on the two EPIC sties on Koh Klang. Four members of MAP staff carried out the monitoring, learning new techniques to ensure that they could get as much information from each site as possible. There are 9 3mx3m fixed quadrats established on each site and these will be monitored over the next five years. This first monitoring is known as ‘Time 0’ which is on completion of the physical hydrological correction and future monitoring will occur at Time 0, 3, 6 , 12, 18, 24, 36, 48 and 60 months.
Objective: The monitoring will allow MAP to understand how mangroves restore and what conditions allow the establishment of the most volunteer seedlings. It is important for us to understand how different conditions affect the speed and success of restoration.
A number of things were are looked at inside of the plots, including the percent cover of grass species and mud…..
Species identification is also key…..
The main observation will be of volunteer recruitment of mangroves and associates within the permanent plots. The height of any seedlings present in each plot was recorded.
Key Message: Learning how to monitor and using a consistent method is very important to allow any information that is collected to be accurate and reliable. Over the next few years, MAP will hopefully have enough information to be able to inform future restoration techniques used by other wishing to covert abandoned ponds back to mangroves.
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.
World Earth Day: Environmental Education and Community Development Camp, Bang Kang Khao School
In celebration of World Earth Day on the 22nd of April 2015, MAP Asia held a two and a half day environmental education and community development camp in Bang Kang Kao community, Trang province one of the GNF (Global Nature Fund) sites between the 20th and 22nd of April. This camp involved around 20 facilitators including staff from MAP, members of the community, and student volunteers from Surat Thani Rajabhat University and staff from the Bang Kang Kao School.
The objective of this camp was two fold; provide the Bang Kang Khao School with mangrove awareness display exhibits and expand the environmental education knowledge of of 21 students in years four and five, with a focus on mangrove ecosystems. The main learning goal was for for students to understand the benefits that mangroves provide by learning from facilitator experts and local community people who have direct first-hand experience.
The first day started with some ‘ice-breaker’ activities as the group got to know each other. Soon, the group was split in to two and the first tasks started…..
One group was sent to paint the shower rooms to give them an environmental conservation theme….
Surat Thani Rajaphat University students started to build the foundations for a new environmental exhibition centre on the school grounds.
some discussions in the evening and a nights rest, the next days started with some exercises to wake everyone up…..
The group was then split into five teams where there would learn about different topics with local experts. The topics included: Waste Management, Mangrove Species, The Ecological Mangrove Restoration technique, Mangrove Fauna, Herb Harvesting from Mangroves……
Groups were then given some time to prepare a performance which they would give to everyone to try and teach them what they had learnt.
The next day was the closing ceremony where everyone who took part was given a certificate, presented to them by the Chief Primary Education Officer of Trang…..
The Chief Primary Education Officer, alongside MAP-Asia staff, was then able to carry out the official opening of the exhibition centre……
Finally, school children and university students took part in some practical conservation work as they a planted a few mangrove propagules in the local EMR site.
Key Message: Overall, it is hoped that these important mangrove conservation and environmental messages are able to reach the younger generation as they become the major force in conservation and restoration of mangroves in their own community in the future. The three days have been a truly memorable experience with a brilliant range of activities which hopefully can be repeated in the future.
GNF Project helps communities learn to make products from honey
On April 8th and 9th, 2015, 3 MAP-Asia staff co-organised a workshop under the Global Nature Fund (GNF) project support with 5 trainers from the “Office of Extension and Training on Economic Based on Insect-derived Products of Chumphon Province” (ศูนย์ส่งเสริมเทคโนโลยีการเกษตรด้านแมลงเศรษฐกิจ จังหวัดชุมพร), a branch of the Department of Agricultural Extension of Thailand. The workshop focused on products made with honey and bee wax and trained about 35 participants of the bee-raising livelihood group of Ban Nai Nang, Krabi province. The training workshop was held through the courtesy of one of the members of the Bee Keeping Livelihood group who kindly provided her home as a venue for the meeting.
The objectives of the 1.5-day workshop were to show participants how to make shampoo, conditioner, soap bar, body liquid soap, and medicinal balms that used natural plants mixed with honey or bee wax. Participants made the products themselves during the training session. Ultimately, the aim of the workshop was to help the community economically by allowing them to save on household expenditure and/or have an additional source of income by making their own products.
Community members were shown how to make the products by actually producing them. Here, they were busy helping in the cooking phase which involved a lot of stirring.
One of the workshop stations was on packaging the products from the previous day…
… proudly displaying the products produced which were distributed to the participants for their personal use.
And surprise! Surprise! The governor of the Province of Krabi payed a visit! He commented that in the future all the communities of Krabi that have a bee group should come together to exchange their experience and knowledge on bee raising and how to make a livelihood from honey and wax products.
Bung Tee, chief of the bee raising group and member of the conservation group, said that they started the bee raising group in their community because they realised the benefit of bees as pollinators for mangroves. They wanted to restore the mangrove in Ban Nai Nang and to generate additional income from selling honey. The bee raising group originated with a few members from the conservation group but now it has grown to 39 members with 187 beehives in Ban Nai Nang.
In addition, Bung Harim, another member of the bee raising group and conservation group, noticed that the more bees in his rice paddy, the less pests he had. He said that he thinks that it’s the bees that help keep the pests away and pollinate the rice. The quality of his rice has improved and he does not need to spend money on pesticides.
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.
MAP Asia hosts CBEMR field visits for DMCR and IUCN
On Wednesday the 8th and Thursday the 9th of April, MAP Asia, with assistance from Raks Thai (CARE Thailand) Foundation, hosted a visit for members of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), DMCR (Department of Marine and Coastal Resources) and people from the local communities. Representative included Mr Chakri Roadfai (Director of Mangrove Resources Conservation Office, DMCR) and Dr Chamniern (Country Representative, IUCN Thailand). The representatives would be visiting five sites over two days as a key component of MAP’s Ecosystems Protection Infrastructure and Communities (EPIC) project.
Objectives: The main objectives of this visit was to show real examples of restoration projects and help to increase the understanding of their failings or successes, hoping that lessons can be learned and integrated into future restoration, management and policy. Raising awareness of the CBEMR (Community Based Ecological Mangrove Restoration) technique was also very important.
The first meeting point was at Ban Lang Da where Ning and Jim explained how the site here was worked on by Wetlands International in 2009 with MAP as a partner helping to implement the CBEMR technique.
Representatives were shown the site, there was particular interest in the number of volunteer seedlings present and how well the mangrove trees had established. (Photo Credit: Donnapat Tamornsuwan, Raks Thai)
The site was clearly doing very well! (Photo Credit: Donnapat Tamornsuwan, Raks Thai)
The next visit was to Klong Yang where members of the community were able to talk to the group about the important work that had been taking place in collaboration with the Raiks Thai Foundation after the planting that took place previously by DMCR.
There was keen interest in this site as some areas were successfully regenerating but other areas around had failed. Jim Enright, MAP Asia Co-ordinator, was able to highlight just how important the hydrology of the site is in allowing for regeneration.
After a nights rest, it was time to make our way to Koh Klang. EPIC Site #1 was visited first. The group as able to notice the clear difference between it and the surrounding abandoned shrimp ponds.
Secondly, a mangrove site of 13 ha which had been illegally cut 2 years ago was visited. Everyone was shocked by what had happened and there were discussions on how to take this issue forward. The DMCR were particularly interested in getting involved further.
The final site to be visited was EPIC Site #2. The fisheries aspect that was integrated into this site interested many of the group as they could see the clear benefit for the land leasee.
Finally, everyone sat to discuss what they had learnt from the two day visit and what the next steps were to ensure that these findings could feed into future work with mangrove forest restoration.
Key Message: It is really important to ensure that we learn from the work that we and others do and we are able to show this to the important decision makes in the ‘world of mangroves’. Making a difference where policy and management is concerned across Thailand would be a big achievement for MAP. Already this meeting has brought up many questions which will hopefully encourage further involvement with these brilliant sites, along with the potential for further funding to continue CBEMR at other sites on Klang Island and elsewhere. There has already been discussions about further collaboration between the representatives that attended the meetings, as well as the potential for further funding for project sites. Keep a look out for future blog posts and Facebook updates to hear about the continued progress with this work.
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.
GNF project holds a workshop and study tour in Trang
On February 4th-5th, 2015, MAP and the Raks Thai Foundation(Care Thailand) gathered 20 community members from four villages that take part in the GNF project, namely Ban Bang Kang Kao and Ban Laem Makham in Trang province, Ban Nai Nang in Krabi province, and Ban Ta Sa Nook in Phang Nga province.
The objective of the workshop and study tour was to discuss livelihoods and exchange experiences on the practice of CBEMR.
This was the first time for all communities under the “Mangrove Restoration and Reforestation in Asia, a Project for Knowledge Exchange and Action to Reduce Climate Change, and Protect Forest Biodiversity” that is supported by Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Germany, Foundation Ursula Merz, Global Nature Fund and Synchronicity Earth to come together and share experience. This idea came from the project participants themselves and MAP staff facilitated by organising this two-day workshop and field study trip.
exchanged about their respective experiences on setting up livelihood groups (examples: fish raising group, apiculture group, soap making group) and about the types of benefits and drawbacks these groups provided. They highlighted how livelihood groups were a source of additional income and created a sense of unity among the group members. Often, however, group members lacked the skills to market their products. A solution mentioned to alleviate this situation was to get guidance from a relevant NGO.
In the afternoon, everyone went out in the field to visit the CBEMR restoration sites in Bang Kang Kao village and in Laem Makham village. On this photo, the small nursery in on of the sites of Bang Kang Kao village is visible in the background.
Community members in charge of the sites were particularly eager on discussing the rehabilitation process and exchanging ideas on how to improve the hydrology of certain areas. A contact person from Laem Ma Kham highlighted how despite the particularly slow tree regeneration in his site (a former rice paddle field), the hydrological restoration had already brought back crabs and fish that the community had started harvesting again.
MAP facilitators taught the CBEMR practitionners from the communities how to perform time lapse photos to monitor restoration progress on the sites.
In the morning, everyone departed for a half-day visit of the mangrove and sea grass restoration site organised by BorHin farm stay further illustrated how connections could be made between sustainable livelihoods, the wise use and management of natural resources and biodiversity conservation. MAP facilitators of this event were Mr. Chanaphat Suntonkitjaporn and Mr. Rueangborom Petcharat.
The manager of BorHin farm stay explains how seagrass is restored with the help of voluntary tourists planting seedlings at low tide.
It was interesting to note how the experience from setting up the apiculture group by the community members in Nai Nang village was particularly successfull at making obvious the connection between the sustainable management of the mangrove and the benefits people could derive from it for their livelihoods. Nai Nang community members highlighted how restoring the mangrove would benefit them by improving their harvest of honey, but also, reciprocally, how their activity of raising bees was beneficial for the restoration of the mangrove since it supported plant pollination. This experience was appealing to the other communities who expressed their interest in also setting apiculture groups in their villages.