Ecological Mangrove Restoration

Published: 24 February 2017
Last edited: 02 March 2017
There are two approaches that have been used for mangrove ecosystem restoration worldwide. The artificial regeneration or planting approach that has been used extensively and the other approach that has been used more recently is the natural regeneration or the Ecological Mangrove Restoration (EMR) approach (http://www.mangroverestoration.com/pdfs/CBEMR-Infosheet-URLs.pdf). Guyana has adopted EMR principles to design and implement its mangrove restoration program. EMR principles purports five critical steps that are necessary to achieve successful mangrove restoration, the sixth step (seedling planting) is only recommended as a last option. Following the guiding principles of EMR, seedling planting was only used to increase recovery time of a site that met the necessary criteria, particularly elevation, to support mangrove restoration. At sites that did not meet restoration criteria, the project implemented sediment traps to aid accretion and planted Spartina grass to support soil consolidation.

Classifications

Category
Technical interventions and infrastructure
Scale of implementation
Local
Phase of solution
Planning phase
Implementation
Monitoring

Enabling factors

Baseline information on the proposed restoration sites must be captured to determine the suitability of the site and guide selection of the most appropriate intervention. Baseline information collected should include physical (elevation, soil conditions, etc.), biological (presence of natural recruitment) and social factors (livestock grazing, harvesting, etc.). Suitable elevation is critical to successful restoration and one of the key criteria in determining the most suitable intervention.

Lessons learned

The restoration of Guyana’s coastal mangroves is possible if planned properly with the collection of detailed baseline data on potential restoration sites. Thorough site analysis should be conducted prior to any intervention and baseline data, such as wave energy, shoreline elevation, anthropogenic activities and hydrology should be collected and analysed before any intervention is undertaken. Implementation of the EMR principles increases success rates significantly and has the potential to reduce restoration cost. Monitoring data under the GMRP indicates that when conducted on accreting sites of the right mud elevation, and soil consolidation, restoration of a protective belt of mangrove forest can be established rapidly.

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