It is imperative for the project to include livelihood creation as a vital part of the combined restoration efforts. The ongoing mangrove research project has identified several options in adapting food production with new type of saline resistant plants and methods in harvesting the nypa palm and other species with potential to withstand changes in sea level rise and other climate change problems.
Nypa is the oldest known palm in the world with a 70 million year’s history. It is a mangrove palm with trunk growing horizontal in the ground with the branches and leaves above. The fact that its trunk is protected in the ground makes it a perfect tree for survival in the climate change age. Moreover, its sap is 50% sweeter than the sap of sugar cane, containing healthy inverted sugar, high content of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and other health benefit.
The value of nypa sap production was documented by Worldview’s pilot project completed in 2014. Ten villages were engaged in nypa sap tapping for production of healthy sweetener syrup in a cottage industry facility. The project provided valuable income to the tappers and production staff, with production of 1000 liter readymade syrup of high quality packed in handy 300 ml bottles as a result.
Traditionally the palm’s leaves are harvested for roofing material and therefore represents economic values. But the benefits of the sap is much more significant. Unfortunately, the old practice of tapping the sap as a sweetener lost most of its market in competition with less healthy white sugar, in spite of the fact that thousands of hectares of nypa palm forests represents a large potential in sustainable livelihoods for the rural poor in coastal areas.
An improved version of the production facility with vacuum cookers fuel by green bio energy will be launched as a co-operative project in the 10 villages, with a small production unit in each village. This is the first step towards utilizing the large potential in livelihood creation for poor communities as alternative to mangrove destruction.
Bee honey production in mangrove forests is another promising activity (Australia’s best bee honey comes from mangrove forests). As the fungicide use in agriculture areas have been identified with Bee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) mangroves provide bee populations with a toxin free flowering forest environment.
Especially women have expressed interest in these activities, and the mangrove parks will follow up with practical training and facilitating support to women groups as alternative income. These efforts could generate income opportunities for thousands of poor in vulnerable coastal areas as well as reduce pressure on destruction of mangrove forests for survival.
Most of the beneficiaries of Worldview’s ongoing mangrove project are women.
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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.