Nature Foundation tests planting method for mangrove replenishment

POSTED: 06/7/11 2:13 PM

GREAT BAY – The St. Maarten Nature Foundation tested a new method for planting mangroves within the Simpson Bay Lagoon on Friday June 3. Approximately twelve mangroves were planted off of Little Key in the Simpson Bay Lagoon using the stabilization method.
“During previous Mangrove Planting Activities we have found that the success rate for mangroves planted lies around the 30 to 40% rate, meaning that almost 70% of all mangroves planted died due to them being unsuitably planted. Based on research that we have conducted we have started to test a new way of planting Mangroves which involves using a stabilizer, in this case piping which we disinfected and inserted into the sand and to which the mangroves are attached,” Nature Foundation Marine Park Manager Tadzio Bervoets said.
He added, “Hopefully by using this method the success of replanted Mangroves can increase by 60 to 70%. We will wait two weeks for the mangrove shoots to take hold, after which we will remove the stabilizers and let Nature take its course.”
The planting of the Mangroves involved the use of Kayaks to access suitable areas for planting. The activity was made possible through the generous donation of Kayaking material from Tri-Sport in Simpson Bay and upon the recommendations from various international organizations working with Mangroves throughout the Wider Caribbean Area.
“What we did was load the Mangroves on the Kayak and plant them in areas on Little Key which have seen a relatively significant loss of healthy mangrove habitat. We hope in this way to quickly rehabilitate an area which has lost mangroves by using this new technique,” Bervoets said.
Mangroves are important for the protection and stabilization of low-lying coastal lands and their importance in coastal fishery food chains. Mangrove forests protect from storm winds, waves, and floods. Mangroves also help to prevent erosion by stabilizing shorelines with their specialized root systems. The relationship between mangroves and their associated marine life cannot be overemphasized. Mangroves provide protected nursery areas for fishes, crustaceans, and shellfish, including conch and various snapper species. Up to seventy-five percent of the game fish and ninety percent of the commercial species in the Caribbean are dependent on mangrove ecosystems. They provide food for a multitude of marine species as well as important habitat for various species of bird.
It has been estimated that almost 80% of all mangrove areas within the Simpson Bay Lagoon have been lost during the last three decades due to habitat destruction. More pictures of Mangrove planting activities can be found on the Nature Foundation Face book page. Those interested in assisting with the planting of mangroves can call the Nature Foundation on 544-4267.

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