The main aim is to restore 1800 acres degraded mangrove forest by char coal production, timber and firewood harvest, prawn and crab farms. The restoration process is to make an ecological model for national restoration, in line with governmental policy. According to estimate, 1 million Ha of mangrove forests have been lost in Myanmar since 1980. A great part of this can be restored. It is in this large-scale context that the importance of a Gene Bank of Mangrove species shouldn be established as part of the Climate Park proposal. This will preserve Myanmar’s 45 species of mangroves, in addition to 20 hybrid varieties, as a valuable bio-resource for future development.
An additional important goal of the Climate Park concept is sustainable community development benefitting the coastal population in adaptation to Global Warming, and mitigation. In order to keep the present amount of carbon in the soil in the planting area from oxidation, there is a need for new plants to make a natural cover. This will maintain the large amount of carbon in the soil. Restoration on this land will capture additional carbon by planting, as well as securing the carbon in the ground, with a potential to secure up to 3,000 tons per Ha after replanting. This is a general estimate by the Scientific Basis Contribution of Working Group to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (Donatus et al. (2011)) and CIFOR reports, with substantially higher efficiency in capture and storing than rain forest trees.
The proposed climate parks are located close to Patehin University’s Aquaculture Training and Research Center which is a north-campus of Pathein University in Ayarawaddy Division, in the West of the country (See detail in area map).
Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park at Pathein University’s dedicated planting area can be reached by car from Yangon (estimated 5 hours by car) and is 8 miles up north of Chaung-Thar beach. This area was densely covered with mangrove forest four decades ago. Due to production of charcoal and other activities, no trees have been left unaffected by human activity. Patches of remaining trees of 1 to 2 meters high are sprouts from old roots. Bare-lands dominate the environment due to heavy destruction by human activities. This can only be restored by large scale planting to bring the forest back to its original status. The heavily damaged vegetation will be given a chance to recover due to protection within the dedicated climate park area and thereby increase the effectiveness in CO2 mitigation, including mangrove benefits for vulnerable coastal communities.
SUPPORT FROM CENTRAL AND REGIONAL GOVERNMENT
The Prime Minister of Ayeyarwady Region have initially transferred 1800 acres land area for a climate park in April 2014 to Pathein University with potential for more land if required. His Excellency, Regional Prime Minister U Thein Aung is highly interested in this pilot project which leads to sustainable community development with adaptation to Global Warming in Ayeyarwady Region. Development of the mangrove park is also recognized by Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry in the MOU with Worldview International Foundation, as part of a large scale national plan to be developed as this first university climate park in Myanmar as a model for further development.
MANGROVE RESEARCH TEAM
Field research has during the last two years been carried out by Myeik University and Pathein University. The research teams have been based on cross disciplinary approach, organized with researchers from different departments of the universities, with the main contribution from marine scientists and 32 students supported by research grants from Worldview. Three professors from Pathein University and Myeik University have been in charge of the research, guided by Worldview’s Senior International Scientist Dr. Ranil Senanayake and visiting scholars.
Area survey has been carried out for species diversity index, species richness, species evenness, and physico-chemical parameters of the environment. The two last surveys in April and May was to identify bare-land areas of pilot scale mangrove re-plantation for 42,000 mangrove saplings as the first step towards a full scale restoration process of the Pathein University park. Planting of the saplings was successfully concluded in July. Measurement of carbon in the ground is ongoing and will be concluded in early 2015.
BRIEF HISTORY OF STUDY AREA
Marine Science Department, Pathein University started the research works in this area in 2005. Biodiversity of the area have been studied since then. Environmental parameters data, more precisely, water quality and heavy metals concentrations, had already been investigated since 2007, followed up by extensive research since 2012.
PROCEDURE AND METHODOLOGY
The Procedure and Methodology was shared with Worldview and the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry. Details will be given on request. Species diversity index is based on random sampling method (see map area).
INTERACTIVE BASE MAPS
The determination of Nitrate-Nitrogen (NO3-N) which is important for most plants and the interactive base-map (run by genuine GIS software) are the own contribution of Mangrove Research Team, Pathein University in cooperation with Worldview.
It is based on three research trips to north-campus of Pathein University where Climate Park is to be located.
24.5.2014) Table 1.Detail Parameters of Station 1 (Single Quadrate Line, 4 plots)
Summary of results of test planting July-August 2014.
The status of the first 55,000 plants in the mangrove park by September 2014, is encouraging.
The plants are setting roots with a healthy appearance in their new environment.
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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.