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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.
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.