Building grey & green infrastructure to combine cattle raising and hydrological fluxes

Published: 20 March 2019
Last edited: 04 July 2019

"Without a good water flow, no mangrove system can sustain itself" - said a local NGO field expert. Hence it is important not only to open channels to restore water flows, but also of keeping alive the dynamics of these flows in the long term. One of the activities that most affects wetlands is livestock. The farmers, seeking to provide firm ground for their cows, cover the channels and drain water bodies. In doing so, cattle farming has been affecting marshes and mangroves directly or indirectly. On way to reduce the impact of this activity is to combine the productive interests of the multiple farmers in the area, with the protection of water flows, by building three elevated bridges in piles for the passage of livestock in strategic sites. Also, "living fences" were established around the reforestation areas to keep the area safe. For these fences, plants and trees of economic use were used for the benefit of the communities.

 

Classifications

Category
Communication, outreach and awareness building
Sustainable livelihoods
Technical interventions and infrastructure
Scale of implementation
Local
Phase of solution
Implementation

Enabling factors

  • Awareness-raising about the importance of maintaining the hydrological flux while continuing to raise cattle in the rehabilitated area;
  • Innovation-friendly local producers who are willing to be the first ones to modify their practices

Lessons learned

  • Creating and maintaining channels within the mangrove system for facilitating natural flows between salt- and freshwater sources is a key component for reducing salinization problems, as well as making sure that a healthy mangrove is maintained;
  • Conservation and livelihoods are two sides of a same coin. For those ecosystems in which communities live, you cannot have one without the other.  
  • It is better to be realistic and keep in mind that productive activities will not disappear from the area, so it is better to combine impact activities such as livestock with restoration activities and maintenance of hydrological flows. Being flexible can bring many more benefits.