What is a mangrove forest and why are they so important?
Mangrove trees have adapted to growing in salt water and hosts a wide variety of wild life. The mangroves are extremely important for the reproduction of fish, shrimps, reptiles, sea turtles and birds.
Mangrove forests are one of the world’s most threatened tropical ecosystems. More than 35% of the world’s mangroves are already gone. The figure is as high as 50% in countries such as India, the Philippines, and Vietnam, while in the Americas they are being cleared at a rate faster than tropical rain forests.(WWF)
The main threats to the mangrove forest in Nicaragua is the huge areas that are cut down to make space for shrimp aquaculture and salt farms. In addition to this, people cut down wood to sell it and use it as wood for cooking and for construction.
Growing evidence also suggests that mangroves, as well as other natural barriers, are critical components in the overall resilience of coastal areas to natural threats and disasters. Planting mangrove seeds does therefore not only protect the animals and environment in the nature reserve, but also the people living around the area.
What are we doing?
In Isla Juan Venado Nature Reserve, between Las Peñitas and Salinas Grande, there are 22 km of mangrove forest. You will see several open spots in the nature reserve, and these spots needs to be reforested again.We hope that with a growing mangrove forest, more animals will inhabit the area, and ecotourism can provide an income for the local people.
While taking long walks at the beach we pass by plenty of mangrove seeds washed up by the sea. The seeds we find are red mangrove. If you want to help, please pick up the healthy mangrove seeds you find on the beach and leave them in Rigo’s Guest House at Las Peñitas. We plant them in pots so they grow roots and then we bring them to our guided trips to the nature reserve so that you can plant the trees yourself and contribute to reforestation in the nature reserve.
We also have a similar project in our family beach house
in Salinas Grandes. This way we can do reforestation in the nature reserve and involve the local community from both ends of Isal Juan Venado.
Every year we try to plant around 3000 trees with the help of volunteers, other businesses and local initiatives.
Trees ready to be planted
Mangrove plants in Salinas Grandes
Rigo and Antonio explaining how to plant the trees
Our mangrove plantation in Rigo’s Guest House
Thanks to the students that helped us plant over one hundred trees!
Photos: Marthe Kalleklev