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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.
Last week, Ning Enright and the new MAP volunteer, Lena Donald, met the members of the village #1 working on the EPIC site #2 on Koh Klang.
While at the pond, Ning led a discussion with the women’s group about community based projects. She gave them a review about about the overall EPIC (Ecosystems Protecting Infrastructure and Communities) project objective, such as promoting healthy ecosystems and disaster reduction.
The women respond that they understand their work is essential for food security.
At the same time, their activity creates jobs and the income is being gained by local communities.
Knowing that this work is being done in several countries worldwide, the community feels that their effort is deeply beneficial.
On October 7th, MAP staff member, Jaruwan Enright (Ning), visited the CBEMR site #1 at Village No. 3, Klong Gam in Krabi.
The eight villagers from Klong Prasong’s village number 1 and another six helpers from village number 2 on Koh Klang were working together with Mr. Somphot Nimsuntijaroen, a fishery adviser for MAP.
Working in the mud
The group was grading the slope along the bank of the pond so the mangrove seedlings would have more space to settle and grow. Additionally, they worked on fixing the sluice gate to make sure that the hydrology inside the pond would flow naturally.
Grading the slope
Physical Work on CBEMR site on Klang Island, Krabi is Finally Underway
After almost six months waiting for a backhoe to undertake the hydrological restoration work in an abandoned pond in Klong Kum village on Klang Island in Krabi it all finally began on July, 17. There were many reasons for the delays, enough to fill a chapter of a book, so we will not go into them here other than to say it has been much more complicated then MAP had ever foreseen. The inner pond was too wet and soft, as we’re in the midst of the monsoon season, so the heavy equipment could not enter the pond itself for fear of getting bogged down in the muck. As a result only about 70% of the work could be completed after 3 days of the backhoe operating from the pond bun. Lessons have been learnt, but most issues were beyond our control so obtaining heavy equipment to do excavation work when and where we need it for Community-based Ecological Mangrove Restoration (CBEMR) remains a huge challenge.
This CBEMR project involves developing a silvofisheries system within the abandoned pond to provide livelihood support while allowing mangroves to naturally recolonize much of the pond area. This involved digging a deeper channel about 3 meters wide and a meter deep, which circles the outer edge of the pond, where fish can take refuge at low tide. The present concept involves no stocking and will operate naturally without feeding. Fish harvested within the pond will be recorded to evaluate the productivity and economic return from silvofisheries. The site will receive regular tidal exchange twice a day and which will bring mangrove seeds into the system.
Backhoe excavating silvofishers channel in pond where fish can take refuge at low tide.
After the system flushes for about a month and stabilizes the soil and pH adjusts, Sesuvium portulacastrum will be planted to help to stabilize the dykes and reduce erosion. Also some experimental planting of mangrove seeds will be carried out to test the soil conditions. If conditions are good broadcasting mangrove seeds on an incoming Spring tide may be used to kick-start the natural regeneration.
MAP and Bang Non discuss the new CBEMR site with Imam, the pond owner.
This CBEMR project is taking place under the Ecosystems Protecting Infrastructure and Communities (EPIC) project which emphasizes Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) to reduce nature disasters, particularly tropical storms in this case. EPIC is funded by the Germany Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety’s International Climate Initiative (BMU-ICI). If the mangrove bio-shield can be restored in sheltered abandoned shrimp ponds along the coast of Thailand and other countries in Asia this will be a win-win-win situation for Disaster Risk Reduction, improved fisheries, local food security, plus climate change protection by making sure carbon in the soils is re-locked up and sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere by the recovering mangrove forest.
MAP staff members, Jim Enright and Niyom Thongmean (Nick), on June 30 started to undertake a baseline data survey of a second CBEMR demonstration site on Klong Island in the Krabi River Estuary. The abandoned shrimp pond site is located in Klong Prasong Village and will be restored under MAP’s Ecosystem Protecting Infrastructure and Communities (EPIC) project http://www.epicproject.net/?page_id=15 which has a focus on using Ecosystem based Adaptation (EbA) for Disaster Risk Reduce (DRR). Restoring mangroves in abandoned ponds in coastal areas will help rebuild the natural bio-shield which healthly mangroves can provide. The survey work included recording the present mangrove trees species and mangrove saplings growing in the pond, mainly along the dyke walls and measuring the pond bottom strata elevation using an auto-level. The next step will be to develop the mangrove restoration plan with a focus on encouraging mud crabs within the pond in order to support local livelihoods based on restored mangroves.
Field visit to discuss restoration plan
Meeting with the mosque Iman, the site owner at Klong Prasong village
Using the auto-level to measure the pond level strata elevation