Two years ago, IUCN, in collaboration with Mangroves for the Future, launched a partnership with Marriott Hotels & Resorts Thailand to support coastal communities and mangrove restoration efforts in Thailand. Mangrove trees were set up in front of the seven Marriott hotels in Bangkok, and each hotel property in Thailand has been raising funds from their guests which have supported mangrove replanting at degraded sites around Thailand.
The partnership has borne fruit – funds raised in Bangkok and other locations in Thailand have been used to plant over 23,000 trees and to assist coastal communities in creating small businesses to supply sustainable seafood and locally-made welcome gifts to the Marriott hotels.
Meanwhile, the trees in Bangkok are growing taller. The mangrove garden at the Renaissance Ratchaprasong Hotel boasts eight mangrove trees representing four species that are commonly found in Thailand: Rhizophora mucronata, Rhizophora apiculata, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, and Ceriops tagal. At the Marriott Sathorn Vista, five mangrove trees in beautiful pots are displayed in front of the hotel. These are of the species Ceriops tagal, Rhizophora mucronata, Rhizophora apiculata, Lumnitzera racemosa, and Sonneratia ovata.
Hotel guests can learn about mangroves, their importance in building coastal resilience and their specific adaptations to the saline environment through different education materials displayed at the hotels. In particular, they can readily observe the characteristic stilt roots of the Rhizophora trees, the “knee roots” of Bruguiera or the pneumatophores (aerial roots) of Sonneratia right at their hotel in Bangkok.
Mangroves are critical in maintaining the health of local fishing industries and in protecting vulnerable coastlines from natural disasters. They provide spawning and nursery areas for fish, food and other products for local livelihoods, and they offer habitat for endangered species including sea turtles and otters as well as nesting sites for birds. Mangrove forests also play a critical role in storing carbon.
Mangroves for the Future (MFF) is a partnership-based initiative promoting investment in coastal ecosystems for sustainable development. Through partnerships with local communities, government agencies and private sector entities such as Marriott Hotels & Resorts in Thailand, MFF aims to enhance coastal resilience by applying an inclusive, ecosystem-based management approach to the rehabilitation and stewardship of coastal resources. By raising awareness on the importance of mangroves and other coastal ecosystems in Thailand, this project can make a meaningful contribution to the conservation of mangroves and related livelihoods of coastal communities.