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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.