Mangrove Reforestation Project

Melanie Aleman

Cardno Latin America is currently collaborating with and supervising a Mangrove Reforestation Project, led by the CALISUR Foundation, in the Island of Puná, in the Guayas province of the Ecuadorian coastal region. The Reforestation Project consists of the vegetation of 65 hectares of mud embankments, suitable for the growth of mangroves, in which more than 100,000 red mangrove (Rhizophora sp.) seedlings will be planted by the year 2020.

What is the a mangrove ecosystem?

Mangroves are tropical shrubs or small trees that have complex root systems that are adapted to salt water immersion, waterlogged mud conditions, low oxygen environments, and are resistant to wave and tidal changes. Mangrove ecosystems are primarily located in areas bordering the coast, mainly in river mouths, lagoons, and muddy terrains that are partially flooded by relatively calm waters inside estuaries, islands or islets. The ecosystems provide great ecological benefits and services to humans and the environment, as they protect the coastal zone from tides, waves and wind, provide flood control, are home to aquatic species, including those of great commercial interest, are a source of carbon capture and provide oxygen, sustain vulnerable and endangered species, regulate eutrophication and water pollution, and are of tourist and cultural interest.


Area of reforestation, island of Puná – Ecuador

What is required for mangrove reforestation?

The most difficult part of mangrove forestation, or reforestation, is finding the adequate environmental conditions for the seedlings to survive. As mangroves require particular conditions of soil, tides, and water salinity, among other things, finding the right area for planting can be difficult. Many analysis must be made previous to site selection.

Additionally, the reforestation activities require mangrove seeds, which are then planted in a red mangrove nursery under the appropriate conditions for its growth and survival. In this project, the nursery is located in the parish of Balao, Guayas province, managed by people of the area.


Collection of mangrove seedlings in the nursery, Balao, Guayas, Ecuador



Loading the mangrove plants for transport to the island, Balao, Ecuador

 

Loading the plants into the boats, Balao, Guayas, Ecuador

Once the seedlings meet the necessary conditions (size, thickness, etc.), these are transported to the island of Puná.


Transporting mangrove plants to the island of Puná

From there, seedlings are planted by hand at the established sites. These planting activities are currently being carried out by community members from the island of Puná.

Unloading plants in the island of Puná

Transporting plants to the reforestation site, Puná, Guayas, Ecaudor

Due to the importance and ecological functionality of mangrove ecosystems, their conservation and recovery has become a great challenge and commitment for Ecuador and the whole world. Through its social and environmental specialists and work, Cardno Latin America collaborates with its clients and partners in projects that favor the conservation and restoration of threatened ecosystems, such as the mangroves.


Forestation in process, Puná, Guayas, Ecuador