Mangrove planting | SITA


Mangroves form an essential part of the ecosystem and protection from the sea on the  Borneo coastline.

Hundreds of acres of mangroves have been torn up to make way for fish farms, leaving the land open and having a negative effect on biodiversity. We're funding the collection, growing and planting of 25,000 mangrove seedlings to replenish those that have been lost as part of our carbon offset program.

Replanting the mangroves

Mangroves are an essential part of the coastal ecosystem in Borneo. In fact, mangrove forests are one of the most useful ecosystems on Earth, storing up to ten times more carbon than tropical forests, making mangroves a critical solution in the fight against climate change. The thick, impenetrable tangle that their above-and below-water roots create are vital to shoreline communities as natural buffers against storm surges, an increasing threat in a changing global climate with rising sea levels. Rather than being one species, they are a number of different varieties. A mix is usually found in densely planted areas, with each playing a slightly different role.

The problem with fish farming

Unfortunately, many hectares of mangroves have been destroyed and replaced with fish farms. Once a mangrove is cut down they do not recover, and the land where mangroves have been removed becomes a boggy wasteland. Biodiversity is greatly reduced. Sadly the fish farms that they were cut down for often only operate for a limited time and the land is left depleted.

The planting that we're supporting will deliver 25,000 mangroves covering an area of 5 hectares. To give it context, a fish farm is around  4 hectares. The mangrove seeds are collected by villagers who then cultivate and tend the seedlings. They're paid for this work so that it provides useful additional income. The seedlings are then planted again. This is paid work on a spacing of  2 x 2m.  This allows the mangroves to grow across the space, and two varieties will be used. The Environment Agency is also supporting this program, encouraging schools, communities and businesses to get involved. It's muddy wet work, but essential.

We took the opportunity to visit a program of previous planting at Siamuk Beach on the Java Sea coastline. Planting took place here across 3 hectares in 2016 and the mangroves have established well. They are not a fast growing plant so it takes time to  rebuild the environment.

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