Project Update: Belize Mangrove Seedlings Are Healthy and Growing
|This beautiful sign was generously donated by
local artist Pablo Guerrero
Mangroves are essential not only for maintaining robust coral reefs, but also for protecting coastlines from erosion and storm damage. Unfortunately, mangroves are being destroyed at an alarming rate, often to be replaced with seawalls or other man-made structures that provide no habitat and often fail to prevent coastal erosion.
Last December, CORAL sponsored a mangrove reforestation workshop to help combat the loss of mangroves in Belize. Using the Riley Encased Methodology (REM), an innovative planting technique that dramatically increases seedling success, workshop participants planted mangroves at three pilot restoration sites in San Pedro. You can learn more about the project in CORAL Current (PDF).
We've been working with a local volunteer to monitor the seedlings, and as you can see from the photos of mangrove "AB04" below, they are taking root beautifully. At their six-month checkup, almost all of our seedlings are healthy and growing!
|February 20||April 18||June 25|
While these seedlings are maturing, we are educating the general community about the importance of mangroves and the benefits of using REM for restoration. In collaboration with the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Coral Ed-Ventures, and the San Pedro Town Council, CORAL demonstrated REM mangrove planting techniques to students who are participating in an educational summer camp. The kids then planted mangroves at Boca del Rio Park and also decorated the encasements and supporting structures to help prevent vandalism.
The student involvement, as well as new signs (like the one shown above), will help to ensure community buy-in for mangrove reforestation at this highly vulnerable public park. If the seedlings grow well, we will establish this area as a full restoration project site later this year.
Read more in Ambergris Today »
Thanks to our partners Mangrove.org, WWF, Hol Chan Marine Reserve, and the San Pedro Tour Guide Association.
Photos by John Romero and Valentine Rosado