Community-Based Mangrove Restoration
Mangroves are a source of livelihood and food for thousands of small communities in Sri Lanka. It has been estimated that healthy mangroves provide an average of USD 2,100 per household per year in protective value against coastal floods (in terms of avoided damage to property, livelihood assets, and public infrastructure). Mangroves not only benefit fishing communities, but also help farming communities by stemming erosion and salt water intrusion into productive soils. Conserving Sri Lanka’s mangrove forests will provide a buffer against coastal flooding and will help to prevent deaths, increase food security, and reduce property damage from natural disasters.
Helping the planet
Mangrove forests are found at the confluence of fresh and salt water in the planet’s tropical belt. They play an important ecological role both locally and globally, providing a home for many birds, crustaceans, reptiles, and mammals to thrive at the junction between land and sea. Mangroves strengthen other connected marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs, and serve as a nursery ground for fish. Reef fish often spawn in seagrass beds and, after hatching, the juvenile fish move to the mangroves where there is an abundance of food and shelter from predators. In the absence of mangroves, juvenile fish move directly to the reef where they are exposed to more predation. The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that the livelihoods of 30 million people worldwide are entirely dependent on coral reefs, which are in turn supported by mangroves.
Kitesurfing Lanka promotes and teaches its best practice Mangrove Restoration technique. Involving local stakeholders right from the outset, this process encourages the mitigation of mangrove stressors and the facilitation of natural regeneration where at all possible. By providing the right education to the community, Kitesurfing Lanka ensures the protection of the ecological systems for generations to come. Unlike many planting projects, KSL works with nature and takes into account mangrove ecology and biology to restore degraded mangroves by mimicking natural processes. Natural regeneration has the advantage of not only producing a more biodiverse mangrove, which increases its resilience to climate change, but also potentially more economical as it avoids the costs of nurseries and planting out.
We are all in this together.
At Kitesurfing Lanka, we recognize the importance of mangroves and as part of our Kite Green Initiative, we plant new mangroves, rehabilitate degraded mangroves and ensure their survival for future forest coverage. So once every few months we organize a big mangrove planting day.
Our mission is to protect the earth we live in as much as possible and limit the impact our camp and guests have on the environment. Initiating projects much like the KSL Mangrove Conservation Project allows us to protect the surrounding ecosystems and to restore the habitats of sea life that are in danger due to climate change.
We truly believe that if we all work together, we can make the world a better place and ensure the survival of our shorelines and natural habitats. We have involved our guests in every aspect of this project, from physically planting them to helping fund the programmes, and as always, our guests are delighted to be a part of our initiative.
Whether through an individual, community, or government, efforts to restore mangroves are taking place across the globe. These projects aid the climate crisis, protect biodiversity, and serve as an example to other coastal areas that local progress can lead to worldwide benefits. We are all in this together.