A recent article published by Thomson Reuters Foundation highlights how the introduction of organic shrimp production in Thailand thanks to the Mangroves and Markets (MAM) project, a spin-off of the MFF programme, is stemming mangrove degradation and protecting delicate ecosystems. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). An excerpt from the article can be found below, including a link to the full article on the Thomson Reuters Foundation website.
Surakit Laeaddee walks along the narrow banks of earth dividing his organic shrimp and fish ponds, rests under the shade of a tree he recently planted, and points to the lush mangroves marking out his plot.
Too many trees invite birds that prey on his seafood stock. But planting just enough, on a fifth of his 10 hectares (24 acres), cools the ponds and improves soil and water quality, boosting the health, reproduction and survival of his shrimp and fish.
"I hope the community will become more conscious about the importance of planting trees and looking after the ecosystem in order to raise seafood sustainably and prevent coastal erosion," he said, looking toward the Gulf of Thailand, which has gnawed away at the shore, bringing the sea ever closer to his home.
Since the 1980s, a boom in shrimp farming has decimated mangroves around the world.
The trend has destroyed a key ecosystem for carbon storage, added to emissions of planet-warming carbon dioxide, and exposed shorelines and communities to storm surges and erosion.
Now, growing consumer demand for organic and sustainable foods has spurred interest in shrimp farms like Surakit's that may stem mangrove loss and encourage planting in areas long devoid of trees.
"A shift from intensive farming to more natural farming is more sustainable in the long run," said Supranee Kampongsun, mangroves and markets project coordinator for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
"It gives marine species natural spawning grounds and improves the mangrove ecosystem. If individual farmers consider having trees on their land, it will contribute to a growth in overall coverage in the area."
Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation Author: Alisa Tang