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Miracle of the mangrove must be protected, awareness created, resort in Seychelles says

Victoria, Seychelles | June 24, 2017, Saturday @ 10:21 in Environment » CONSERVATION | By: Salifa Magnan and Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 2431
Miracle of the mangrove must be protected, awareness created, resort in Seychelles says

The hotel organises planting activities where young mangrove trees are planted to restore degraded areas. (Constance Ephelia Resort)

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(Seychelles News Agency) - More awareness should be created on the importance of mangrove wetlands, the value they hold and how to protect them, a representative of the Constance Ephelia Resort said.

The resort, located at Port Launay, a district on the western side of Mahe, the main island, is a Green Globe certified establishment as it promotes green tourism.

The health, safety and environment project manager of the resort, Markus Ultsch-Unrath, says the resort is working closely with the community, the local not for profit organisation -- Sustainability for Seychelles (S4S)-- and schools all across the country.

Regular visits are organised for the students so they can learn about the mangroves and how the hotel manages them.

it has also been proven that mangrove areas contribute greatly to reducing effects of climate change. (Constance Ephelia Resort) Photo License: CC-BY

“Mangroves are important especially in an age when we are talking more and more about climate change as the mangroves are great carbon sinks,” said Ultsch-Unrath.

Mangroves can bring more benefit to the communities as they act as a nursery for fishes states the environment project manager of Ephelia.

“The small fishes come into the mangroves looking for shelter and once they are big enough, they go back into the deep sea,” said Ultsch-Unrath, explaining that this will result in more fish for the local fishermen. 

All of the seven species of mangroves that grow in Seychelles can naturally be found in the wetland of Port Launay. The wetland was declared a Ramsar Site in 2004, which means it is protected and of international importance. Ramsar is an international convention that preserves wetlands.

Wetlands also prevent coastal erosion and Ultsch-Unrath told SNA that: “The roots of the mangroves acts like a filter that keeps all the sediments on shore so that only the clean water goes into the sea."

For the environment-loving guests, there are guided tours and kayaking organised which offer a nice experience and is almost fully booked every day. (Constance Ephelia Resort) Photo License: CC-BY

According to Ultsch-Unrath during heavy rainfall, rivers become full with mud, silt and soil. Should this go straight into the sea, all these sediments in the water will cover the coral resulting in coral death.

Coastal and beach erosion are occurrences all over the world and mangroves act as a buffer zone better the sea and the land, keeping the coastal areas strong and stable resulting in fewer impacts on the coastal areas. It also ensures healthy growth of corals.

In the past vast coastal areas of Mahe were covered in mangroves but due to the reclamation of land, the building of roads and houses, a lot of these mangrove areas were cut down.

Countless studies have shown that the destruction of these ‘sea forests’ lead to a decrease in the fish population.

Apart from that, it has also been proven that mangrove areas contribute greatly to reducing effects of climate change. A study carried out by Emily Pidgeon shows that coastal wetlands “absorb carbon at rates up to 50 times greater than terrestrial forests.”

An article published in ‘Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment’ goes further to show that “healthy coastal ecosystems continuously accrete carbon in the soil, which allows them to keep pace with sea-level rise; this means that they have a potentially limitless capacity to sequester carbon for long periods of time."

The resort started a wetland nursery in the mangrove forest, where the seeds of the mangroves are placed into planting pots. (Constance Ephelia Resort) Photo License: CC-BY

The hotel which has been built within these mangroves has, from its conception, been committed to preserving the site. To better achieve this, the resort started a wetland nursery in the mangrove forest, where the seeds of the mangroves are placed into planting pots. The environment project manager of the resort explains that this method yields a higher survival rate.

“Mangroves are very sensitive so in this way they are already adjusting to tide movement - during high tides, they are fully under water,” said Ultsch-Unrath.

Planting activities are also organised regularly, where young mangrove trees are planted to restore degraded areas. To ensure that the diversity is maintained, all the different species are planted.

For the environment-loving guests, there are guided tours and kayaking organised which, as stated by Ultsch-Unrath, “offer a nice experience and is almost fully booked every day.”

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Tags: Constance Ephelia Resort, Green Globe certified, Sustainability for Seychelles, Ramsar Site, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment

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