Story | 29 Sep, 2016

Restoring mangroves to boost coastal resilience

Over the past three years, IUCN has been working with Marriott Hotels & Resorts in Thailand to restore around nine hectares of mangroves. More than 50,000 mangrove trees have been planted in Thailand as a result of the project, which also works with local communities to take care of the replanted areas. 

Ka Long – The need for mangroves for coastal defense

Ka Long, Samut Sakhon, is on the Upper Gulf of Thailand, where the most severe erosion has occurred due to climate change and degradation from clearing for shrimp farming. However, it is not too late; mangrove restoration is known for effective of coastal resilience. With the contribution from Marriott’s guests under the IUCN-Marriott partnership, a mangrove planting event is happening once every three months around Thailand’s coastline.

The national planting day for Marriott hotels was held on 16 September 2016. With the support of local government authorities, the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR), mangrove conservation network and experts from universities, 84 voluntary staff from seven Marriott properties in Bangkok participated in the event at the Ka Long coastal area.

Aiming to raise awareness of younger generations and to enhance local participation, local primary school students and village members were invited to take part of planting event led by the village head and IUCN coordinator. In all 1,200 balls of clay-covered Avicennia seed were sown on the mud plain, plus 1,500 of both propagules and saplings of Avicennia and Rhizophora sp. The short-term challenge is ensuring their survival through the coming monsoons.

The IUCN-Marriott partnership is working towards holistic coastal development on the basis of ecosystem and livelihood. Hoping to create a new recreation site for Kalong communities and neighbours, walkway reparation at the mangrove restoration area is ongoing with in-kind efforts of Marriott staff. By the time the trees grow the walkway will be available for coastal tourism purposes.


Tub Pla– Revived mangrove from shrimp ponds and palm oil plantation

Since the early 1970s, the public mangrove area of Tub Pla village, Phang Nga was encroached on, with 43 rais (6.88 ha) converted into shrimp aquaculture ponds to raise tiger prawns. In 2010 the land was again converted into palm oil plantation. In 2015, DMCR Station 19 regained the land and started clearing the site of oil palms.  

In November 2015, the IUCN-Marriott Partnership Project started by building a bridge to access the site, since then there have been five mangrove planting events organized. The Tub Pla village chief is active in supporting restoration of the mangrove area together with DMCR Station 19. The planting has been undertaken by DMCR with support from the IUCN-Marriott Partnership Project, public groups and schools.

At the third-quarter national mangrove planting on 23 September 2016, 4,000 R. apiculata saplings were planted. A total of 100 volunteers including Marriott associates from five southern hotels, guests, and students from a school nearby participated. Planting methodology mixed between straight row grid and random planted. The riverbank was more densely planted to help stabilise the soils and help reduce erosion. The ridges and channels from the palm oil still remained, but hydrology-based solutions such as digging and widening of the channels by Marriott associates allowed better water flow and drainage of stagnant water. To date approximately 75% of the site has been planted.

Villagers are aware of the mangroves’ importance, especially for local food security. Mangroves provide nurseries for aquatic life, boosting the fishery opportunities for local villagers. Mangrove restoration will ensure the villagers of TubPla and the next generation can rely on the fish, crab, shrimp and shellfish that the healthy mangroves provide.