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Mangrove Reforestation In Belize #421869
11/13/11 09:24 AM
11/13/11 09:24 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 82,847
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

CORAL’s (Coral Reef Alliance) mangrove reforestation project in San Pedro, Belize is thriving. Recent monitoring reports reveal that ninety percent of the mangroves planted by the local community have survived—a true testament to the effectiveness of the CORAL reforestation method.

The method used is the Riley Encased Methodology (REM), an innovative planting technique that dramatically increases seedling success. It was developed by Bob Riley of REM has radically transformed the ability to mitigate ecological degradation and increase the biodiversity as-well-as resilience of coastal ecosystems. Given the success of the project so far, CORAL is preparing to plant additional mangrove seedlings in Boca del Rio Park this winter. Part of these successful efforts have included organizing educational summer camps for children in order to prepare the younger generations to be aware of the environment and to learn how to protect it.

Mangroves act as feeding and nursery grounds for approximately 74 species of fish and 178 bird species. They also provide habitat for many species of amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. Belize is home to 4 different species of mangrove: the red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), the black mangrove (Avicennia germinans), the white mangrove (Laguncalaria racemosa), and the buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus). The red mangrove is most often found along the water on cayes and waterways and is easily identified by the long prop roots that support the plant. The black mangrove is usually found farther away from the water’s edge and can be recognized by the small protrusions called pneumatophores that encircle the base of the tree on the ground. These pneumatophores help to facilitate gas exchange as do the long prop roots found on the red mangroves. The white mangrove and buttonwood species are generally located even further away from the edge of the water.

See the original article for more information. Also of interest, from the Belize Mangrove Conservation Network, slides from a recent presentation about mangrove cover change across Belize between 1980-2010.

Previously on Green Antilles: Mangrove vulnerability and resilience in Belize and Mangrove habitat creation in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Belize mangrove cover change, 1980-2010

Re: Mangrove Reforestation In Belize [Re: Marty] #499295
12/23/14 12:24 PM
12/23/14 12:24 PM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 82,847
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Mangrove Reforestation Initiative starts to show success

After nearly four years into the Mangrove Reforestation Initiative, one of the three original pilot sites is seeing great success. The initiative began back in December 2010, when Valentine Rosado of Coral Reef Alliance, along with other volunteers, established three areas where Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) propagates (seedlings) were planted using the Riley encasement method. The method encompasses the propagules being encased in a PVC pipe and then securely planted into the area chosen to be reforested. The original areas where the mangroves were planted included a beach property in South Ambergris Caye, along the Boca del Rio beach and in a beach property on Northern Ambergris Caye.

While mangroves act as a natural sea wall protecting beaches from erosion, developers often remove them in the effort to create a white sandy beach. However, the deforestation of mangroves only leads to increased coastal erosion, and developers are often obliged to construct temporary concrete cement walls. With the issue of coastal erosion, the best solution seems to be simply reforesting the area with mangroves, but that is no easy feat.

Out of the three areas, the highest success rate has been identified in the beach property located in Northern Ambergris Caye. The property belongs to Bob and Helen McClain, who have been trying for years to reforest their beach front. Since the McClains originally purchased the property, they have been dealing with erosion problems along the beach due to the fact that the area had no mangroves. When they heard of the initiative, they eagerly asked to be part of it and have mangrove propagules planted in the beach front of their property. “I have dealt with the erosion and I know what a problem it can be. I think the mangrove is a wonderful and viable solution,” said McClain. Up to date, several propagules have furnished into saplings that are breaking out of their casing. “We are happy to see the green leaves of the mangrove trees coming out of the PVC pipe. We just hope that they reach maturity. Hopefully the mangroves will soon provide habitats for the area’s marine life,” said McClain.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun

Re: Mangrove Reforestation In Belize [Re: Marty] #499412
12/30/14 03:51 AM
12/30/14 03:51 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 82,847
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

The Issues of Transplanting Mangroves

I have been asked several times on my recommendations for transplanting mangroves but I don't think folks really like to hear the answer. If good methods exist to reforest mangroves and allow them to adapt in their natural habitat with very little human assistance, we want to avoid transplants as much as possible. There are many successful transplant initiatives in the region and any attempts of such should really consider the lessons learnt to avoid situations like this picture. Healthy young mangroves were chosen for this transplant exercise in an area north of Ambergris Caye. The mangroves were still very much alive for many months after the transplantation, as can be noted from the healthy green leaves. However, the mangroves may undergo a period of shock from which they may not recover, especially if the substrate and salinity conditions vary considerably from their initial environment. This would result in poor foliage and root structure and dwarfed trees. Such trees would not be able to provide the intended or desired functions; coastal resiliency, nursery habitat etc. In my opinion the greatest loss of examples such as these is the great effort invested in the approach

Good messaging for keeping mangroves close to home when they are planted, and yes in general it's best to let natural processes dictate what grows where. Unfortunately, on the front side of San Pedro, those natural processes are most off the table. Mangrove can grow there, but removal has been substantial. Interesting that whoever planted these managed to get them to survive at all with tertiary roots and branching already underway. Larger trees normally experience greater shock when they are moved. It's the small seedlings that normally survive.

The original picture above was taken in January 2012 but we are unsure when the mangroves were actually transplanted. We did a site visit last week and find the mangroves still alive but there doesn't seem to be much growth progress in the past 2 years. My assumption is that the transplants were taken from a high nutrient, low-energy environment. The fact that they are still alive in this windward side of Ambergris Caye emphasizes the reliency of the mangroves but the substrate and hydrology difference is too great. Will the mangroves overcome this shock or will they remain stunted?

You can see a patch of mature mangroves on the top left of the picture. Mangroves are patchy in this area as natural recruitment is very slow and unpredictable. When they do take, their growth can be affected by yearly storm surges and other factors. Elbert's description sounds similar to a couple natural recruits we have been observing at the REM sites. Although they are located in nutrient-rich and protected seagrass shoals, they seem to be very slow growing . The foliage blooms nicely once they get a reasonable network of secondary prop roots going. Given that the REM mangroves we put in 4 years ago didn't seem to have the problem, we assume it's because of the occasional storm surges. The REM site is located about 10 minutes south of this site.

I've been watching one at my dock for 11 years and it has only a few more leaves than it did when I first noticed it. It's growing in a turtle grass bed beach side. My best guess is not enough nutrients as it would get in the back lagoon.

Belizean Mangrove Conservation Network

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