Conservation

Massive mangrove restoration projects aims to speed Bahamas recovery

Hurricane Dorian stalled over the Bahamas in early September of 2019, thrashing the islands of Nice Abaco and Grand Bahama with unrelenting winds, rain and storm surge. The devastation the storm inflicted on each islands—destroying airports, sweeping away motels and fishing lodges, and leveling whole neighborhoods—was catastrophic and absolute. However impacts to the Bahamas from Dorian weren’t restricted to its human toll. The storm additionally induced intensive injury to the pure environments of the toughest hit Bahamian islands. Maybe most notable was the injury accomplished to the ecologically essential mangrove forests that ring the Bahamas’ islands and cays.

“Mangroves are an important a part of the ecosystem that helps bonefish and different flats species,” defined Bonefish Tarpon & Belief President and CEO Jim McDuffie. “They supply habitat for fish and different wildlife, forestall coastal erosion, and assist buffer the communities the place our buddies and companions stay in opposition to storms.”

A latest scientific survey revealed that Dorian broken or destroyed almost 74 % of Grand Bahama’s and 40 % of Abaco’s mangroves. With the intention to fight this injury, and pace restoration, a brand new mangrove restoration undertaking is in search of to transplant as many as 100,000 mangrove seedlings to the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Dorian.

The undertaking is a partnership between Bonefish & Tarpon Belief (BTT), Bahamas Nationwide Belief, Buddies of the Atmosphere, and attire model MANG — whose “Purchase One. Plant One.®” initiative makes mangrove restoration an on a regular basis a part of their enterprise mannequin.

Photograph: Justin Lewis

“An ocean with out mangroves is sort of a world with out air,” mentioned Kyle Rossin, co-founder and CEO of MANG. “Mangroves are the primary carbon sequestration tree on the earth, and supply habitat for as much as 70 % of marine life. As an attire model devoted to planting mangroves for each product we promote, we’re donating over 100,000 mangroves propagules, seeds, and mature vegetation over the following 5 years to assist restore these essential island lands. Our aim is to not solely defend the island and it’s ecosystem by means of community-led planting occasions, but additionally to protect the information fishing economic system and educate different organizations the right way to develop and preserve a mangrove nursery for long-term sustainability.”

Mangrove restoration begins with the gathering of mangrove propagules—which take completely different kinds relying on the kind of mangrove—that are then grown into seedlings earlier than being planted within the wild. The Dorian restoration undertaking kicked off with a propagule assortment marketing campaign that MANG and BTT launched this previous October in Florida. An estimated 20,000 mangrove propagules have been collected. Shifting ahead, the undertaking will prioritize propagules collected within the Bahamas, and choose to make use of Florida-borne mangroves solely when needed.

To assist fund and assist the undertaking, MANG and BTT have launched a slick new apparel collection. As is germane to MANG’s mission, the acquisition of every shirt from the gathering will outcome within the planting of a mangrove seedling on one of many islands impacted by Hurricane Dorian. A portion of the proceeds may also go to assist fund BTT’s work.

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