“Protege tu Mangle”: We are a student based grassroots initiative from the University of Cologne, Germany, founded in 2014 to develop sustainable strategies on how to protect the vulnerable ecosystem of the mangroves.
Our pilot project was carried out in Corinto, a harbor city on the pacific coastline of Nicaragua in Central America. Being surrounded by mangrove trees, its local population uses the natural resource both as firewood and as construction material.
Due to the vastly growing population and the increase in wood demand, massive deforestation has turned great areas into degraded land. The mangroves have lost their function of being a natural coastline protection against hurricanes and tsunamis, for which Corinto has already experienced some severe inundations.
Working in close cooperation with all involved stakeholders, we agreed on three major targets in order to tackle the existing problems in Corinto: The first one aims to achieve a considerable reduction of wood consumption in the area of Corinto.
The second one focuses on raising awareness about human impact and its consequences for the mangrove ecosystem and the third one aims to initiate long term reforestation projects.
In order to achieve all three targets, we based our concept on four main pillars:
I.) Supplying students of local schools of all ages with education material on the mangroves (film, mangrove game, “a mangrove information package”, interactive exercises, etc.);
II.) Visiting different groups and institutions, and organizing open discussions to give further information about the endangered mangroves, offering solutions for a sustainable and efficient daily use of its wood;
III.) Giving access to locally produced wood saving cooking stoves through financing plans, demonstrating its financial, ecological and health benefits;
IV.) Establishing a structure for future reforestation initiatives, developing necessary processes, appointing accountable process holders and setting up funding plans.
After our first successful project, we are now looking for further communities, organizations and individuals, interested in the protection of the mangroves. We strive to replicate our initiative in other contexts, in other countries, facing new challenges and gaining new partners. Our future vision is a globally connected network of mangrove communities, supporting each other on the protection of this essential ecosystem.
With the Ted Speech and the participation at the World Forestry Congress we want to raise global awareness for this endangered ecosystem, find partners and establish alliances, so that future generations will still be able to – Protect their Mangroves -.
Text, photo and video are submitted by Edgar André Lampenscherf (Germany) – edgar.lampenscherf(at)googlemail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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