Sunday, April 28, 2013

Vietnamese Updates: Restoring mangrove forest - a blue wall in coastal area (22 Apr 2013)

Restoring mangrove forest - a blue wall in coastal area

Thứ hai, ngày 22 tháng 04 năm 2013 cập nhật lúc 04:02

Mangrove forest which is so-called a blue wall in coastal area is able to store carbon higher than the rainforest, creating healthy living environments for coastal residents and reducing the height of the tidal waves. Anywhere doing good planting and protection of mangrove forest, the sea dykes built from clay are still strong against high tide and waves. In contrast, several dikes built from concrete or stonework are broken when the mangrove forests have been destroyed. So, the existence of mangrove forests help decline the devastation of sea waves.
80% of the mangrove forests have been lost

The great effect of mangrove forest is obvious while climate change is becoming a threat to the livelihoods and the environment in Vietnam. According to the researchers, the mangrove forests in coastal area seem to be a shield to cope with climate change. The mangrove trees have become home of many species when facing the adverse weather and rising tide. Also, it provides rich food source for the recovery and development of the species after disasters.

However, in fact, the blue walls in coastal areas have increasingly narrowed. Assoc. Prof, Dr. Mai Sy Tuan, Head of Department of Biology, Director of the Mangrove Research Center, University of Pedagogy, Hanoi said: In the period 1943 - 1945, we had ​​430 thousand hectares, now there are more than 160 thousand hectares left. It means that we lost 80% of forest area. In particular, from 1980 to 1995 Mekong Delta provinces lost nearly 5 thousand hectares of mangroves every year.

"During the war, a major part of forest had been destroyed, but after the war, the resilience of mangroves was pretty good. Now, the main reason for the disappearance of mangroves in Vietnam is the conflict between economic development and conservation. Moreover, improper management and insufficient awareness of the value of mangroves have made people destroy mangrove forest in order to do aquaculture ", said Tuan.

Action for mangrove forest for the future 
Realizing the importance of mangroves to the environment and socio- economic development, the government has focused on investing in mangrove plantation projects to restore and extend area of mangroves. The government has approved the National program to Restore and Develop Coastal Mangrove Forest for the period 2008 – 2015 with a total investment up to VND 2,690 trillion. The government's efforts have attracted the attention of international organizations such as the Danish Red Cross, Japanese Red Cross, Save the Children UK, British Quaker, for the sake of helping Vietnam restore “green wall” against waves.

Up to now, the mangrove plantation and regeneration have brought out practical results. 1500 hectares of forest in Ba Lat , Nam Dinh estuaries have gradually become green. Mangrove forests in four provinces of Ben Tre, Soc Trang, Tra Vinh, Ca Mau in the Mekong Delta have been improved. More than 40,000 hectares of forest in Can Gio is growing strongly. In the coming time, the researchers intend to develop mangrove ecosystem in central Vietnam in Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri provinces where always suffer seriously from natural disasters.

According to Prof. Phan Nguyen Hong in Mangrove Forest Research Center, to protect and develop of mangrove forests, it is necessary to take into accounts three factors: economic, poverty reduction and environmental protection. It is also the foundation of the "Mangroves for the Future" (MFF) initiative that Vietnam has been recognized as an official member. With a message of mangroves restoration and plantation depend on people and for the people, this initiative does not only create environmental benefits and solve livelihood problems, but also contribute to the household connection and local communities.

To this end, to maintain and develop mangrove ecosystems in Vietnam, Dr. Le Anh Tuan - Lecturer in Can Tho University suggested a proposal that Vietnam National Assembly should formulate laws on mangrove forest protection in the fight against climate change in order to encourage people and authorities at grassroot levels to participate in this activity.


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