Myanmar Mangrove Restoration
Mangroves forests are vital coastal plant communities that sequester carbon, protect coasts from natural disasters (tsunamis, storms and cyclones), provide fish stocks, food sources and firewood for local communities. Despite their crucial importance, over 1 million ha of mangroves have been lost in Myanmar since 1980.
Worldview International Foundation are aiming to bring back 4500ha of degraded lands in the Ayeyarwady Division of Myanmar by planting 11 million mangrove trees with the support of project originators. By using a unique planting technique that returns a 96% success rate for mangrove restoration, the project is tackling the root causes for local mangrove degradation by employing local communities in the mangrove plantations, investing in local education and infrastructure development and by raising awareness about the importance of mangroves amongst communities.
Why this project?
WIF believes that strengthening mangroves and blue carbon ecosystems like seagrasses and tidal marshes is of the utmost important for strengthening nature’s own resilience for climate balance. They have hence been the stalgard of mangrove restoration in Myanmar since 2012 building on years of experience in community conservation. They also offer project visualization through Open Forest satellite imagery where supporters are able to observe their trees via registered polygons.
Great for Earth
Mangroves exist in the interface between land and sea with associated ecosystems like mud flats, seagrass meadows, tidal marshes, coastal upland forests, peatlands, freshwater streams and rivers. Restoring mangroves in the Ayeyarwady delta is not just improving the conditions of the biodiversity, but rather the broader ecology of the region. Furthermore, the project expects improvement in the soil organic contents and mineral nutrition due to proper land management. Mangrove restoration will further increase fish resources by up to 50%, protecting lives and properties from extreme weather, providing cooling effects from mangrove trees and other vital ecosystem services.
However, the most important ecological role is its capacity to store long-term carbon within its soil sediments. Mangroves have the ability to store 3-4 times more carbon than tropical forests.Not surprisingly, this project is expected to sequester 9.4 million tCO2e over a period of 20 years.
Positive for People
Local communities are intrinsically dependent on the sustenance of mangrove forests. Destruction of mangroves directly threatens local livelihood through erosion and salt water intrusion in low lying agricultural land of seawater. At the foremost, mangrove restoration protects coastal communities from such risks, besides creating a substantial increase of sea food resources and livelihood opportunities for small-scale fishermen in the area.
Keeping the focus on social development, this project has a people-centric approach by including local participation in all stages of project development. The revenue generated from sale of credits is invested in basic infrastructure development, creation of scholarships for university studies to girls from poor families and distribution of cookstoves for local families. Additionally, 30% of the total project budget is directed towards public education, social mobilization, livelihood creation, micro-loans, cottage industries, aquaculture, distribution of solar lamps, and women's projects.
Over time, the project aims to employ more people in full-time positions for monitoring and conduction of mangrove plantation drives, besides increasing the focus of the project to include other ecosystems like seagrasses and tidal marshes.