July 21, 2017
International Day for the Conservation of Mangrove Ecosystem
July 26, 2017
Guyana will be joining the rest of the world to celebrate International Day of Mangrove Conservation on July 26. The National Agricultural Research & Extension Institute (NAREI) will be organizing a series of activities aimed at raising national awareness about the importance of this unique ecosystem. They include:
Mangrove Community walk on Saturday July 29, 2017 at Better Hope, ECD
Site visits to restoration activities at Devonshire Castle and Walton Hall, Essequibo Coast on 28 July 2017
Mangrove Radio Quiz competition on Jump Start 94.1
UNESCO proclaimed July 26 as International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem. The proclamation of this international day, which was adopted on 6 November 2015 by the General Conference of UNESCO, underlined the importance of mangrove ecosystems as “a unique, special and vulnerable ecosystem, providing by virtue of their existence, biomass and productivity substantial benefits to human beings, providing forestry, fishery goods and services as well as contributing to the protection of the coastline and being particularly relevant in terms of mitigation of the effects of climate change and food security for local communities.”
The mangroves forest is a unique ecosystem that borders between land and sea. They protect coastal communities from storm surges and extreme weather events. Mangroves are considered to be among the most carbon-rich forest.
These unique and highly productive forests provide valuable ecosystem services including shoreline protection and stabilization. They sustain the local fishing industry and support a rich biodiversity. Given Guyana’s vulnerability to the potential impact of climate change on the coastal zone, mangroves are an important part of the Country’s overall Climate Change mitigation and adaptation strategy. This is why the protection of mangrove ecosystems is critical.
NAREI has adopted the restoration and conservation of Guyana coastal mangroves as part of a strategy to protect coastal communities and Guyana’s infrastructure and valuable agriculture industry from the projected impacts of climate change and sea level rise.
To this end, NAREI has been working with local communities and partner agencies to restore degraded coastal mangrove ecosystem. Since the inception of this initiative in 2010, NAREI has conducted restoration initiatives in 16 villages in Regions Two, Four, Five and Six. These restoration initiatives included seedlings plantations and the construction of coastal structures with extensive public awareness and education. They have resulted in the restoration of over 300 hectares of coastal mangroves.
However, significant challenges remain.
Farmers continue to graze their livestock in the mangroves, destroying the young seedlings and restricting the forest from reaching its full potential. Communities dump their garbage in the mangroves, cut mangroves for housing construction, fishing poles and pens, and burnt brick production.
Mangroves are a protected species and it is illegal to destroy this unique forest that supports human wellbeing.