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A visitor from one of MAP’s funders, Synchronicity Earth, based in London UK, came to Thailand to see and learn first-hand about mangrove restoration!
From March 29th to 31st MAP Asia had the great pleasure to receive Jim Pettiward, communications strategist, at Synchronicity Earth a funder and collaborator of MAP since 2014. This is the first time MAP Asia has received a visitor from Synchronicity Earth. “It’s much more interesting and valuable to see and experience projects on the ground rather than just read reports, if you want to really understand the issues” stated Jim.
MAP Asia staff had the occasion to show Jim Pettiward around six mangrove restoration sites utilizing the Community-based Ecological Mangrove Restoration (CBEMR) method within the provinces of Krabi and Phang Nga, Southern Thailand. The local community representatives at different sites were available allowing us to exchange information and ask questions directly to the villagers concerned with the mangrove restoration projects.
On the first evening after welcoming Jim to Krabi Town with a taste of the delicious Thai food, a powerpoint summary presentation was given on the 4 year “Mangrove Restoration and Reforestation in Asia, a Project for Knowledge Exchange and Action to Reduce Climate Change, and Protect Forest Biodiversity” project. This regional project was administered by the Global Nature Fund (GNF) of Germany and MAP’s projects were co-funded by Synchronicity Earth.
On the second day, we visited four of MAP’s mangrove restoration sites in Krabi Province: one site at Ban Lang Da started in 2009 and three other sites on Klang Island.
The Klong Lu homestay, a GNF project partner, was used as our base on the island and a longtail boat driven by the owner, Bang Bao and his 10 year-old son transported us from the mainland and toured us through the mangroves on route to the family bungalow operation. While motoring along the Krabi River we were welcomed by a playful pod of Indo Pacific hump-backed dolphins which did a great job of putting on a show for Jim’s birthday! The Klong Lu homestay is involved in eco-tourism and with MAP’s support, has developed a short interpretative mangrove nature trail around the mangrove restoration site which was initiated just 6 month ago. The small loop walkway will be a great tool to educate visitors of the Klong Lu Homestay, daytrip visitors to the island, along with school kids from the local area.
Jim Pettiward (green shirt) and MAP staff on the longtail boat to Klang Island
The final day, was highlighted by a visit to the Nai Nang’s apiculture group, in Krabi Province. This community has been successfully producing honey partly from mangrove flowers and are, now, also creating value added products such as honey hand soap, shampoo and conditioner with the support of MAP. During our time there, community conservation leaders showed us how they harvest the honey from the hand-made bee boxes. We even got a taste of the freshly collected honey, YUMMY!
Freshly harvested honey tasting at Nai Nang village
After wild honey tasting we headed north to the restoration site in Ta-Sanook village, Phang Nga province where the village chief and some members of the conservation group showed us the ongoing construction of their new mangrove nature trail which plans to be completed by May 2016. It will allow local school kids to learn about mangrove ecosystems first-hand without getting their feet wet.
Visiting Ta-Sanook CBEMR restoration site with the village chief and community leaders
The field trip was a great way to showcase some of MAP’s mangrove restoration project with full involvement of local communities who are pursuing supplementary livelihoods supported by the project. It also allowed us all to exchange ideas and get valuable advice and impressions from Jim Pettiward of Synchronicity Earth and key community leaders.
Leo Thom, MAP vizual communication consultant, & Tim Plowden, a professional photograther based in Singapore join MAP-Asia staff, Jim & Ning in the field early December for 6 days in Krabi capturing film and photos for the production of an EPIC “short” video. The IUCN Ecosystems Protecting Infrastructure Communities (EPIC) project taking place in 6 countries are producing short videos to spread the message that healthy ecosystems are critical to reducing the impacts of future disasters, known as Ecosystem Based Disaster Risk Reduction or Eco-DRR for short. Nature based solutions are an important strategy to deal with climate change intensified disasters. Mangroves are act as critical coastal bio shields which are able to self-repair following tropical storms, unlike man-made hard infrastructure. They also slow the process of coastal erosion which is accelerated by sea-level rise.
A morning view from Klong Lu homestay our base from which we explored the Muslim island in Krabi Province
Small scale, coastal fishing is the livelihood of most of Koh Klang’s inhabitants. A typical site of sun-drying fresh fish
The team shot video of the two EPIC mangrove restoration demonstration sites on Klang Island in the Krabi River estuary, as well as the project advisory committee meeting, site monitoring, hydrological improvement work, Project Abroad volunteers engaged in restoration site maintenance and interviewed key project stakeholders. Healthy mangroves ecosystems were filmed to illustrate the many goods & services obtained from mangroves, especially fishery based livelihoods.
Tim and Leo capturing footage of a healthy mangrove ecosystem on Koh Klang
Video scheduled to be complete in early March!
EPIC site #2 Clean Up and Pond Wall Reinforcement With Projects Abroad
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.
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.
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.