The unique ecosystem is under threat from human activities and extreme weather events
Mangrove forests sequester up to five times more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than other types of forest. Nevertheless, they are among the world's most vulnerable subtropical and tropical habitats. With global losses already in excess of 50%, mangroves are being lost more rapidly than tropical rainforests.
Losses of mangroves also release large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, arising from the destruction of their biomass and the release of the large carbon stocks held in their soils.
Deforestation in Sri Lanka
Many thousands of acres of mangrove forest in Sri Lanka have been destroyed to make way for rice paddies, rubber trees, and palm oil plantations.
More than 50 % of the Sri Lanka mangrove forests have been destroyed irrecoverably in the past 30 years through deforestation, abuse, and exploitation – with negative impacts on fishery and the protection against catastrophic flooding events. Current rates of mangrove destruction are estimated at around 150,000 hectares per year (about 1%), according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
Mangroves in Sri Lanka provide wood and timber for housing, firewood, and charcoal to coastal households. Almost 75% of the coastal population extracts firewood from mangrove forests.
Rising infrastructure and development increase demand for mangrove resources and drive mangrove loss.
With the intensity of climate change and natural perils rising, more and more mangroves are destroyed and the time needed for recovery gets extended. They are threatened by natural disasters while functioning as a buffer and protecting the coast. During the 2004 Tsunami, most of the mangroves along the Southern belt were destroyed.
The project aims to restore 500 hectares of severely degraded mangroves in Batticaloa and Puttalam regions of Sri Lanka during 2021-2023, with continuing support for forest protection for decades to come.
To achieve this, Vlinder is partnering with VNV Advisory, an impact project management company with over 10 years of experience in leading programs on climate change across South Asia that covered 6 million rural households and 1 million ha, and Sri Lanka Turtle Conservation Project, an NGO that has been facilitating the implementation of sustainable marine ecosystem conservation for 25 years.
To ensure the project's long-term sustainability, Vlinder promotes a community-based model to provide skills and jobs for the locals which supports families and gender equality.
By conducting continuous plantation maintenance, protection, and monitoring for the entire project period of 10 years, Vlinder contributes to making the lives of thousands of people residing in the project area more resilient to extreme weather events.
Mangrove ecosystems serve as nurseries for fish, marine life and coral reefs, tropical birds, crocodiles and white elephants
Mangrove forests are biodiverse habitats of great ecological significance.
Mangrove roots act as a filtration system and capture silt preventing siltation in seagrass meadows and on coral reefs
The project location is a hotspot for turtle conservation and with the help of the local community the turtles
The project introduces income generating activities and reduces poverty among the country's vulnerable coastal communities:
Value-added livelihoods and new revenue streams
Community education and upskilling
Support to women: They make up the majority of the project's local staff
Protecting people in the project area from extreme weather events like tsunamis and floods
50% of the project's carbon credits are shared with the local impact partners each year to support conservation activities
"Bursting with biodiversity, mangrove forests are one of the most resilient ecosystems, serving as an important coastal defence, that provides invaluable benefits both ecologically as well as socio-economically. A future for mangroves translates directly to a future for some of our most significant marine species, here in Sri Lanka, the magnificent turtles!"
Project Leader, Sri Lanka Turtle Conservation Project
Photos from the site
500 ha are prepared for planting in the 2021/2022 season
Preparation of nurseries
Sri Lanka Blue Carbon
Help restore degraded mangrove areas, improve lives of vulnerable communities and get verified carbon credits.
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Risks disclosure: Robust legal frameworks and safeguarding measures have been put in place both by Worldview International Foundation and Vlinder to minimise the risks. The detailed risk assessment has been carried out and approved by Verra. Vlinder risk matrix is available upon request.
Sovereign: land tenure uncertainty, corruption, change of power. Social: local community unrest, military conflict. Natural: predation by crabs, pests and extreme weather events. Financial: carbon price fluctuation. Technological: risks associated with blockchain uptake.