Mangroves are an important coastal ecosystem which is essential for the prevention of soil erosion, as their dense root networks hold the consolidated soil in place. They provide an important habitat for many of the lagoons small marine life. Their roots provide protection in the form of nurseries for juvenile prawns and fish, by offering shelter from larger predators.
Mangrove forests in Sri Lanka is disappearing due to many reasons such as land clearing for constructions of houses, hotels, factories, boat landing areas, over exploitation by coastal communities for fuel wood, stains for nets and sails, timber for building and fencing and etc., aqua centralists and land developers.
Therefore, The TCP Mangrove Rehabilitation Programme wishes to conserve and manage mangrove resources through community participation. With the involvement of the community, it can be helped preserve the coastal habitats for the importance of sea turtles, thus providing alternative income to community members. Due to the heavy exploitation by the anthropogenic activities, many mangrove habitats are no longer exist in large quantities in many localities. In realizing that immediate conservation and management actions are essential to preserve this vital ecosystem, the TCP has undertaken the mangrove re-plantation programme involving the community participation to ensure the better delivery of forest services and goods for local community members and to conserve local biodiversity.
- Rehabilitation of Mangroves in Rekawa
A mangrove rehabilitation programme was launched in Rekawa lagoon area in 1999, which involved the cultivation and planting of native mangrove plants into the Rekawa lagoon. These are extensively harvested to be sold and provide income to many of the Rekawa families. The success of the newly planted mangroves were regularly monitored, subsequently in 2002 TCP recognized the need for more growth. This was mainly due to Rekawa’s location on in a semi – arid climate belt, where rainfall is scarce, resulting the death of many of the plants.
In November 2002, more mangrove plants were planted in the Rekawa lagoon and the new plants are regularly monitored.
- Rehabilitation of Mangroves in Puttlam Lagoon
The mangrove rehabilitation programme was launched in Puttalam lagoon (2001), which being involved in introducing about 150,000 of native mangrove plants into the Puttlam lagoon. The underlying objective of this project is to increase the extent of tropical mangrove forests and local biodiversity in the Puttlam lagoon while providing forest goods and services to the local community members in sustainable manner with long-term conservation and management of the mangrove ecosystem.