Villagers raise more than 1,500 mangrove seedlings
This climate change adaptation measure was implemented by the youth and men of Natutu village.
The mangrove nursery is part WWF-Pacific’s Pacific American Climate Fund (PACAM) climate change project, Strengthening Governance and Building Resiliency of Communities, providing the planting material needed for the implementation of the ‘Sustainable Healthy Rivers for All’ campaign which advocates and promotes best land use practice like buffer zone planting for river bank stabilization along the rivers of Fiji.
“Mangroves are natural buffers and protect coastlines and riverbanks from erosion. This mangrove nursery will continue as part of a rehabilitation plan and we have growing in the nursery coastal plants, native grass which are good soil stabilizers and the native trees with their rooting systems and as source of food in the future for the local communities,” said WWF-Pacific’s climate change support officer, Apolosa Robaigau.
800 mangrove seedlings were also transferred to Nailaga village for transplanting along the village’s eroding riverbank.
The transferred mangrove seedlings were raised last year by the Nailaga district communities and the hard working staff of ANZ Bank Fiji.
“For this mangrove nursery we have a target of 10 hectares along the Ba River to replant. We raised a nursery with around 1,200 seedlings where only about 800 survived and those were transplanted earlier today to Nailaga village. But today we are starting again and are raising around 1,500 seedlings,” revealed Robaigau.
For the men of Natutu, the mangrove nursery was a hands on learning experience.
“I had been part of such mangrove nursery setups a few years ago in Serua and planting of mangroves is very useful and the people here in Natutu will benefit for example here we rely on the mangroves as a source of food for us and planting of more mangroves will safeguard that as well. For the first time most of these men and youth are planting mangroves and it is good because this is all for the benefit of our village,” said Natutu villager, Orisi Maqora.
“This is my first time to be part of this planting of mangrove seedlings in helping my community to stop soil erosion and also such mangroves are a habitat for crabs in which we the villagers rely on as a source of income for us and as a youth am happy to be part of this initiative” highlighted Natutu youth, Rupeni Solo.
Climate change support officer, Apolosa Robaigau added it was great to see the youth and men of Natutu taking ownership of the mangrove nursery and even more encouraging, knowing the seedlings would be transplanted to other villages and communities in Nailaga district.
“We are here as project activity facilitators and the communities need to take ownership of the work , by learning the needed skills and knowledge, that is going to benefit them greatly now and in the future in terms of safeguarding their marine environment, he said.
It takes ten years for a mangrove seedling to be fully grown and well established and serve as erosion controller and an effective natural buffer and a stabilizer for riverbanks.