Sri Lanka first nation to promise full protection of mangroves

(Image: Majority World/REX Shutterstock) MANGROVES matter in Sri Lanka. The nation is the first to promise to protect all of its mangroves, as it launches a major replanting programme. Hundreds of coastal communities have been recruited to the effort by the Small Fishers Federation – a local non-governmental organisation – with money from an NGO in California called Seacology. Mangroves grow in brackish swamps and lagoons across the tropics. Sri Lanka has 21 species, making it a hotspot for mangrove biodiversity. “Sri Lankan fishers say the mangroves are the roots of the sea,” says the founder of the Small Fishers Federation, Anuradha Wickramasinghe. Around 80 per cent of fish caught and eaten in the country are from lagoons sustained by these plants. But mangroves have been extensively and often illegally cleared, partly to make way for shrimp ponds. As a result, the Sri Lankan government has now promised to give all mangroves legal protection and provide rangers for coastal patrols, says Seacology’s director Duane Silverstein. The $3.4 million deal will give loans and training to 15,000 women to set up businesses. In return, they will act as the eyes and ears for protecting the 9000 hectares of surviving mangroves. They will also plant 4000 hectares of mangroves in nurseries in 48 coastal lagoons. This article appeared in print under the headline “Sri Lanka to protect mangroves” More on these topics:
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