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Retro: Restoring Mangroves

In the aftermath of the December tsunami, we made a point of trying to look at some of the bigger-picture issues that weren't getting substantive mainstream media attention. One such issue was the strong correlation between those parts of South and Southeast Asia that had managed to preserve their mangrove forests and those places that best withstood the ravages of the tsunami. Emily Gertz's Restoring Mangroves was a terrific distillation of the benefits of mangroves in the region, and a look at just what it would take to bring those mangroves back to the regional ecosystem.

Mangrove Action Project documents sustainable management alternatives already in practice in the region that can both protect mangroves and provide solid livelihoods for the people who live near them. Silvofishery combines mangrove reforestation (or retention) with low-input aquaculture techniques. And Yad Fon's Community Forest Project in southwestern Thailand has successfully pioneered techniques for "community-managed forests" that combine grassroots organizing, democratic decision making, local economic development, micro-lending, and, restoration and protection of mangroves and local fish populations. [...]

Preservation of human life as well as biodiversity, restoration of a vital ecosystem, and just economic development - clearly interwoven in the wake of a disaster that defies words.


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