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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.