Thailand – Community-based Ecological Mangrove Restoration

Large areas of mangroves have been cleared for aquaculture – particularly shrimp production – in the tropics and sub-tropics. Apart from the loss of valuable ecosystem services – mangroves are important nursery grounds for many commercial fish speciesclearance of mangroves has now left many coastal communities exposed to tropical storms such as cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons, storm surges, tsunami, and salinisation of soils and fresh water supplies, which renders them unfit for human consumption or use.

Shrimp aquaculture is a “boom and bust” industry which has resulted in an estimated 250,000 hectares of shrimp ponds now being abandoned in former mangrove habitats in Asia. As they exist now, they are commercially unproductive and are releasing huge amounts of CO² which were locked up in the mangrove soils. These ponds do, however, have the potential to be returned to functioning ecosystems that could begin once again to act as bio-shields to some of natures vagaries. In time, and through careful management, they could, also  be returned to productive ecosystems, providing important goods and services, one of which would be greater buffer protection to inland communities from storms and flooding.

This project, undertaken by Mangrove Action Project, is located in  Krabi Province, southern Thailand specifically in  Klong Kam Village on Klang Island in the Krabi River Estuary, which is a Ramsar Site. The project builds on former experience that ranges from community-based approaches to ecological restoration and livelihood recovery to successful small-scale mangrove planting schemes.

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Community-based Ecological Mangrove Restoration (CBEMR) will be accomplished using hydrological restoration to  support the natural regeneration of mangroves in former shrimp ponds, through the following activities:

Design of a hydrological restoration plan;
Establishment of a mangrove nursery for small-scale planting in vulnerable areas as well as for awareness raising and environmental education;