2 August, 2018, 10:38 am
THERE is no other intention of villagers of Nacula on Yasawa but to plant as much mangroves so their future generation get to enjoy the sea delicacies they are enjoying.
And useful initiatives such as mangrove planting are something villagers never take for granted because it is not just for their benefit. They believe they are doing something which will help restore the slow-dying ecosystem given the sudden trend of climate change effects.
With various consultations being held across the country on the effects of climate change, these villagers are leaving no stone unturned and are taking every single useful initiative seriously because they do not want to lose the beauty of their environment nor do they want their future generation to suffer in years to come.
Last week, villagers with representatives from the Worldwide Fund for Nature-Pacific (WWF-Pacific) took part in a massive mangrove planting program to mark the International Day for the Conservation of Mangrove Ecosystems.
The community planted more than 180 mangrove seedlings, a move that was led by the young men of Nacula.
Nacula Village women’s representative said it was encouraging to see that the mangrove seedlings they raised a few months ago had grown really well.
She highlighted that if they continued carrying out such important initiative; they would not only protect their coastline but bring back the fish and marine life that thrive in the mangrove ecosystems.
“We are grateful to be part of this mangrove planting today even though we planted a small number this morning (last week), if we continue to do more planting, it will all add up,” village headman Kemueli Naibilavou said
“The challenge now is that we need to plant more mangroves and the community is ready to do that.
“Whatever it takes to help protect and further prevent our coastline from further erosion. The men of the village are actually taking ownership and are leading villagers in this mangrove planting initiative. It is because they want their future generation to benefit from the actions their elders are actually carrying out today.
The mangrove raising seedling initiative is also one of the rehabilitation efforts — WWF-Pacific has and continues to undertake with communities in the district of Nacula over the next three years through its “Living with Change: Resilient Mangroves, Fisheries and People of Fiji and PNG” project that is funded by the German Government.
“The mangrove nursery setup is aimed to encourage sedimentation along the coastline to mitigate the issue of coastal erosion and once these mangroves become well established, it will provide a lot of ecosystem services to the community,” said WWF-Pacific’s IKU Project climate change officer Dr Rusila Savou-Wara.
Nacula Village’s mangrove nursery, which lies on a certain section of the village’s eroding coastline, has now more than 1000 mangrove seedlings.
Through the IKU Project, WWF-Pacific plans to establish 10 hectares of mangroves in the district of Nacula. The mangrove nursery setup here in Nacula Village is a step in the right direction.
“Setting up mangrove plots is not an easy task but it is encouraging to see the community to take he lead and add on to their nursery. It is a testimony of their commitment to bring the fish back, to bring the sand back, to bring life and security back to their families now and into the future.
“These community reps are definitely agents of change for the sustainable development of their communities,” said Dr Savou-Wara.
WWF is part of the Global Mangrove Alliance partnership that was formed at the World Ocean Summit in 2017.
The Global Mangrove Alliance is an initiative to increase mangrove habitats by 20 per cent by 2030.
According to a wetlands report carried out in 2008, mangroves in the Pacific cover an area of about 597,000 hectares. Fiji has about 42,000 hactares of mangrove forest.
The Global Mangrove Alliance target of 20 per cent restoration means Fiji has to plant an additional 8520 hectare of mangroves by 2030.