If you have been living on the island for a while, chances are you are aware of the controversy surrounding the cutting down of mangroves and dredging along coastal areas during large development projects. Often times, it’s because these developments prefer white, clean, sandy beaches or they choose to replace the mangroves with concrete retaining walls. There is one organization on Ambergris Caye that is pushing for a change in this mentality by promoting the planting of mangroves. A little over a year ago Coral Reef Alliance embarked on a mangrove restoration project using the Riley Encased Methodology approach to see if it can be adopted to restore red mangrove on the eastern coast of the island.

According to Valentine Rosado of the Coral Reef Alliance, in December of 2010, they established three pilot sites using Riley’s method. According to Rosado, in one of the three places, all their mangrove propagules have been uprooted from the encasement, but in the other two sites the rate of survival is between 90 to 95percent. “The whole idea is to effectively show how to use Riley’s method and to change people’s perception. We want to get the local residents to integrate mangrove as part of their coast and even as part of their development. One of the important parts of it however is to educate people that it actually works and establish good examples,” explained Rosado.

Anyone interested in having their beachfront restored with mangrove as part of the program can contact Guadalupe Rosado at Coral Reef Alliance.

Black Mangrove propagules available

Black Mangrove, scientifically known as Avicennia Germinans, is common to Belize. On Ambergris Caye the presence of the black mangrove is no exception, only that it is cleared in abundance to give way to new costal developments.

According to Jan Brown, about two months ago, the black mangroves along the water line of the Marco Gonzalez Archaeological Reserve dropped its’ annual seeds. The seeds have now turned to hundreds of propagules that are about six to eight inches.

Brown is encouraging anyone who has an interest in planting black mangrove as part of their landscape to get in contact with her.

Interested individuals can call Jan Brown, 662-2725/226-2059 for more information.

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