Participation of Buddhist Community in mangrove conservation and development in Loi Quan Island, Tien Giang Province

 
Discussion

Discussion on Buddhism and environment : For the coastal man ... , Tan Phu Dong District, Tien Giang Province © MFF Vietnam, 2012

Objectives

The project aimed to raise awareness of Buddhists on the importance of coastal mangroves, contributing to conservation and development of mangroves in Phu Dong and Phu Tan Commune, Loi Quan Island, Tan Phu Dong District, Tien Giang province.

Background

Mangroves in the coastal areas of Loi Quan Island, Lien Giang Province are mainly distributed in Phu Dong and Phu Tan communes, Tan Phu Dong District, Lien Giang Province. During the shrimp farming boom in the Mekong River Delta over the last several years, many mangroves were destroyed, resulting in coastal erosion, and saline water intrusion, which threatens the lives and livelihoods of many people. Local households had to leave their houses where they used to practice aquaculture due to rapid erosion and flooding. However, under the recent pressures from economic development, mangroves continued to be cut down for shrimp farming. In this respect, it was urgent to raise awareness of local people about the importance of mangrove ecosystems and for a longer goal of restoring, conserving and developing mangrove forests.

Given Buddhism is the largest religion in this area and following the Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change by Sakyong Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche in 2009, the Tan Phu Dong District's Buddhist Association, with PTP as a focal point, proposed to raise people's awareness and protect mangroves by delivering information to various audiences from different sectors, genders, and ages in order to improve the community's adaptability to climate change as well as scale up the model to all other Buddhist communities in Mekong Delta.

Target beneficiaries

About 600 buddhists in 2 communes (Phu Dong and Phu Tan) of Tan Phu Dong District, Tien Giang province. 

Outputs

- Awareness of mangroves conservation among Buddhist community in Loi Quan Island enhanced through various forms of communication events on the roles of mangroves in the context of climate change. 

- Active participation of Buddist community in conservation and development of mangroves in Loi Quan Island. 

Accomplishments and challenges

  • The project applied a new approach in a conservation project, which was the  involvement of religious communities. Thirteen Buddhist lectures delivered by the pagoda during the project cycle, together with other communication activities, influenced Buddhist communities, helping to raise the awareness of local people about the importance of mangroves and environmental protection.
  • A mangrove  planting event was organized by PTP aimed at raising awareness of the Buddhist communities on mangrove conservation, in which the monk appealed to all the participants to join efforts to conserve nature though practical action, stating each person should plant at least one mangrove . Buddhists were willing to contribute their resources (both financially and in­ kind) to this pagoda event, indicating their commitment towards the protection and restoration of mangroves on the island. This event was widely covered by 6 media organizations  from the province.
  • A small library with books on Buddhism and environment have been widely used by the Buddhists.
  • A drawing competition on mangrove conservation received excellent responses, with more than 600 entries from pupils, as well as much attention by local newspapers, which featured news on the event. 
  • This communication model was highly recommended for replication in other areas of the country at final SGF workshop on 23 July 2013.

Contributions to cross-cutting themes

- Communications

- Gender equality

- Climate change

Lessons Learned

  • Even though Sonneratia were planted, however, most of the mangroves were washed away due to strong sea waves attributed to the lack of prior experience in mangrove planting. Trees were not planted in the right season and Sonneratia was also not a suitable species for a sandy flat in Tan Phu Dong District. How and where to plant mangroves was a good lesson learned from the Buddhist communities project. As an education and outreach exercise, the planting event was successful because the Buddhist group stated that they would replant the mangroves at their own cost, during the appropriate season.
  • This was the first project which integrated religion into  mangrove conservation in the province. Since religion is a very sensitive issue in Vietnam, there were challenges in obtaining permission from local authorities to implement the project. These challenges could have been avoided if the pagoda had previously informed and reported to local authorities about the project activities.
  • After the project's completion, it would be beneficial if the pagoda continued to research more useful materials to enrich knowledge about the relation between the environment and Buddhism. 

Related News

Buddhist community participation in mangrove conservation in Tien Giang Province

Tien Giang Province, Vietnam 19 Jan 2013

Country: Viet Nam

Topic: Community Resilence, Civil Society Engagement, Climate change ...

Love of nature is fundamental to Buddhism and the mutual interaction between humans and ecosystems is enshrined in its teachings. Trees or plants are considered living beings that no Buddhist should cut or damage.    

Project Facts

Country

Location

Loi Quan Island is located in Tan Phu Dong District, Tien Giang Province

Topic

Duration

1st Aug 2012 to 30th Jun 2013

MFF Grant Amount

VND299,900,000

Implementing Partner

Mr. Nguyen Quoc Dat (Project Coordinator)

Phu Thoi Pagoda

Address: Bai Bun Hamlet, Phu Thanh Commune, Tan Phu Dong District, Tien Giang Province

Tel: 84-73-389-0520

E-mail: quocdatmt@yahoo.com

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