The 1,800 acre Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park is ready to bloom in Myanmar, literally and figuratively. Rarely does a project offer so many potential simultaneous and synergistic benefits by planting of 700,000 mangrove trees with long term protection including securing the life of 600,000 young plants in healthy growth. The target is mitigation of 1.5 million tons of CO2, including protection of carbon in the ground from the lost forest due to human activities.
It is well known that the mangrove is almost a miracle tree.
For the human communities that depend on fishing, mangroves serve the vital purpose of nurseries for fish species and the detritus cycle on which fisheries depend for food. They are the vital foundation for a complex marine food chain and the detrital food cycle, sustaining fisheries and many forms of bird and wildlife, and in Myanmar it is estimated that 75% of the game fish and 90% of the commercial species in certain areas in Myanmar rely on mangrove systems.
Mangroves are also coastal physical barriers that can absorb shocks of extreme weather, storms and oceanic surges and without them, human lives are imperilled, as occurred in 2008 when hurricane Nargis hit coastal areas where there was no longer any mangrove protection and thousands of people were killed and displaced.
Mangroves preserve water quality and reduce pollution, filtering suspended material, assimilating dissolved nutrients in protection of coral reefs, and provide a substantial cooling effect. Moreover, mangroves have the ability to mitigate up to five times more CO2 than rainforest trees.
On the other hand, despite these known ecological benefits, mangroves have also become the target of various coastal projects that require the destruction of the mangroves, including the production of charcoal by extremely poor local families who suffer nomadic and unreliable existences.
In Myanmar, only 20% of original mangrove cover remains in the vulnerable areas, and absent any intervention, it is projected that most if not all the remaining mangrove cover will be gone by 2020.
To help avert this disastrous ecological outcome and reverse the trend, and to provide significant economic human benefits, Worldview Myanmar proposes “ready to bloom,” an ambitious but viable project which has numerous synergistic components, including the fact that most of the beneficiaries of the ongoing project work thus far are women in disadvantaged communities.
Establishment of the Mangrove parks as the first step in national restoration of mangroves with the following key benefits:
- Reverse devastating effects of Myanmar’s destructed natural mangrove forests
- Provide up to 50% more sea food with better and secured breeding environments
- Mitigate up to five times more CO2 than rainforest trees and reduce escalations of global warming
- Generate cooling effect from planted trees with 60,000 BTU per tree
- Create high value-added livelihood opportunities to disadvantaged coastal communities by reducing poverty, especially women, including in raising orchids, developing nypa sap, bee honey and other new sources of revenue
- Save lives and improve quality of the environment for millions of people in adaptation to climate change
- Contribute to social and economic development of a peace building process in a new democracy.
- Research facilities.
- Observation and education facilities.
- Tissue culture lab for mass production of selected plants with high genetic value.
- Experimental planting methods and other practical scientific activities.
- Buildings for administration, mangrove museum and exhibition.
- Demonstration in sustainable forest management for maximum economic benefit.
- Livelihood creation in local communities by utilization of nypa mangrove palm.
- Recreation/resting facilities and other service for students and visitors.
- Gene bank for preservation of all mangrove species.
- Nurseries and planting of up to 1.
- 2 million mangrove trees as a national genetic resource with the highest CO2 mitigation and photosynthesis cooling capacity.
- Day care centers where needed in involved communities and villages.
The proposed project will be called Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park, in honor of the well known Norwegian author, scientist, environmentalist and explorer Thor Heyerdahl. He was among the first in the world to raise awareness on climate change and campaigned strongly for reduction of green house gases. Thor Heyerdahl was a founding member of Worldview International Foundation and served as its Vice President for many years.
His son Bjørn Heyerdahl shares his father’s commitment and is engaged in Worldview’s mangrove research project in Myanmar in cooperation with leading universities. He has proposed the first mangrove park of this kind in Myanmar as a pilot project with the name “Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park” in honour of his father during the 100 years anniversary of Thor Heyerdahl to promote awareness and commitment for urgent action on Climate Change.
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- Mangroves mitigating 3-5 times more CO2 than rainforest trees
- Protecting lives and properties from extreme weather
- Increasing sea food production with up to 50%
- Filtering and cleaning water
- Providing cooling effect and other vital eco services for life on Earth
- Helping disadvantaged in vulnerable coastal communities with sustainable development to overcome poverty
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Mangrove tree(s) in Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park in Myanmar mitigating1 ton per tree documented in the soil and in the biomass.