|Town/Region||Prapat Bay, Rayong|
|Date||26 Mar 2008|
The project aims to develop an experiential education program involving the local community/estuarine ecosystem stakeholders in directly gathering knowledge and experience in surveying, identifying, propagating, planting, monitoring, and managing a mangrove ecosystem regeneration program located in Prapat Bay Estuary, Ranong Province, Thailand. The community will participate in environmental analyses, create a data base, and regenerate a degraded mangrove habitat with approximately 20 local compatible species of mangroves, encouraging the return of other species that rely on the health of this ecosystem. A goal is to have a living laboratory for local scientists and community members to learn the benefits of bio-diverse mangrove habitats.
For over 50 years, the Royal Thai Department of Forestry have sold concessions of mangrove forest to be cut for timber and charcoal. Following cutting, the practice of replanting with exclusively Ryzophoira sp. has reduced mangrove ecosystem biodiversity in the Prapat Bay estuary, Ranong Province, Thailand. The December 24, 2004 tsunami caused further damage, following this many donors planted more Ryzophora sp. indiscriminately in areas typically dominated by other mangrove species. Other groups, with economic, but not ecological training, also engage in mangrove planting, stocking of fish and shellfish and nature conservation education activities; however, they lack local knowledge needed to recover and regenerate the native mangrove ecosystem. An emerging threat is the expanding aquaculture ponds, and push-net and fine net fishing. For the small, local, fishing communities, this has led to reductions in their livelihoods, reducing finfish and shellfish catches.
Recently, Thai laws mandate the Department of National Parks actively engage people living within resource areas in co-management of natural resources. This program hopes to initiates a model for co-management in a small estuary with the vision of creating a larger network of resource co-management activities along the Andaman Coast.
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