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Description By Murtland HaleyThe Mangrove Forest, which has gained the status of being a protected species in Guyana, is doing much more than protecting the coastline of Guyana but also aids in supporting village economies across Guyana.Restored mangroves at Villages No.6-8, West Coast Berbice.In an interview with Kene Moseley, Head of Department, Mangrove Restoration and Management at the National Agriculture Research Extension Institute (NAREI), it was explained that Mangroves do way more than protect the country¡¯s coast from a probing Atlantic Ocean.This support is given during the procurement process for mangrove seedlings. Moseley said that the department, which is located at Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara, cannot grow all the plants necessary for the various sites, so there is a community management programme.She said that during the initial stages of the project, a nursery to grow seedlings was established at NAREI, however, since the project is now a permanent entity under the Ministry of Agriculture, the department contracts the seedlings from community nurseries.¡°If we have a planting programme, we contract the persons in the community; people whoBamboo Brushwood dam at Walton Hall, Essequibo close to the shoreline, and we train them to grow the seedlings for us. Depending on how many seedlings we need for a particular site, we would split up the amount to persons in the area and we pay them for it.¡±She said that this is the first step of the restoration process. Mangrove seedlings usually reach the required height for planting within three months. After this process is over, persons from the target community are taken to plant the seedlings for the department.To extend the department¡¯s effectiveness and outreach, as part of its work, Village Mangrove Action Committees are established. These are volunteer groups within communities that the department works with to raise public awareness on its behalf.¡°Being here in NAREI and working in Corentyne is not feasible with our limited staff. So we work with them, train them thereafter, having the knowledge.¡±Further, Moseley said that there is a direct link between fisheries and mangrove forests. In areas where there is a healthy mangrove population, juvenile fish use the roots of the trees to hide from predators.¡±She said that the forests would encourage the return of birds such as the Scarlet Ibis toPlanted restored site – Chateau Margot to Felicity, East Coast Demerara.communities,Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic, which enhances local tourism. This particular aspect is being promoted from Cove and John to Golden Grove on the East Coast of Demerara.¡°A part of our educational awareness programme is that we do what we refer to as the mangrove heritage trail tour. Part of that tour is the rich history of those villages, the five villages between Golden Grove to Belfield; Victoria being one of those villages, the first to be bought by free slaves.¡±The Department Head said that the historical aspect is combined with promoting environmental conservation and knowledge about mangroves and the work her team does. The tour guides who facilitate this activity are paid for their work.¡°It is a pretty interesting tour; we would have trained persons from within the communities to be the tour guides. So they earn a living from being tour guides. The funds go directly to the individuals. So the person who is looking to book a tour, what they are paying for goes directly to the tour guide, in terms of tour guide fees and directly to the person driving the horse carriage, even though the carriage is ours.¡±The package also offers a cultural feature, whereby drummers linked to the area can be hired to perform folk music. They too are paid directly. Moseley said that the tour ultimately teaches a rich history about the community and an opportunity to observe the rich bio-diversity of the birds and the forest.The department collaborates with private tour operators who have tourists interested in taking the tour. However, persons who are interested can contact the Mangrove office at NAREI on 220-2843. The Golden Grove site is one of the most interesting locations, since persons can get to see all three species of mangrove.In addition, beekeeping is also conducted at the site. Moseley said that the Mangrove Reserve Co-op society recently was able to acquire a grant from the Ministry of Communities to expand the work being done in terms of getting more persons involved in beekeeping and having more hives.The Department collaborates with that group as part of the tour as well, whereby persons who visit have the opportunity to purchase honey.Before this site could have developed to be what it is today, much work had to be done. According to Moseley, the department works with a number of groups to plant the trees in at-risk areas.She said that volunteer groups are always interested to plant, but Moseley explained that planting is not on a regular basis. It is done when the conditions are correct.One of the important factors which influence mangrove planting is elevation.¡°We can¡¯t simply plant seedlings in an area where you see there are no mangroves. The first thing we do is what you call ecological mangrove restoration.¡±She said that a number of steps are followed and questions asked to understand what is happening on a particular stretch of coastline. ¡°Why there are no mangroves there? What is preventing the mangroves from growing in that area? There could be a number of reasons. One of the main criteria that we look at is the elevation of the foreshore.¡±Having done that baseline analysis of a particular site, Moseley and her team designs a particular intervention. She said that one of the interventions may be planting seedlings. However if the conditions are not right, one of the other solutions is the construction of coastal structures.¡°We have done three types of structures and more recently, within the last two years we have looked at a seed grass which we refer to as Spartina, or Cordgrass, that we use to help stabilize the conditions.¡± She added, ¡°This is what we try to get over to people, that it is not just about planting seedlings. It is the last thing on the list.¡±She said that in some cases the issue is not the absence of mangroves, but rather, a conflict of interest in using the area. According to her, in some communities persons would graze their animals on the foreshore so the animals would eat the young plants.To address this, Moseley said that if this practice can be restricted then there is no need to replant seedlings. Another major challenge to mangrove restoration is the build-up of garbage.Applying the use of coastal structures and Spartina was done in regions two to six. Coastal structures take the form of Brushwood dams which trap sediment coming into the foreshore so as to raise the elevation.The Department¡¯s most recent work has been done in region four and two. In region two, sites are at Anna Regina, Lima, Devonshire Castle and Walton Hall.
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