Mangrove lagoons along Sri Lankas coastline  have been severely  depleted  through mismanagement  by the authorities and over extraction for firewood. However these vital ecosystems provide valuable income generation opportunities, habitat for native flora and fauna and vital coastal defenses.

At the present Sri Lanka has lost over 95.5% of its mangrove ecosystems, so urgent restoration is required alongside traditional conservation approaches

In 2008 RRI partnered with UNOPS Sri Lanka to deliver a lagoon restoration program for six lagoon systems in the east of Sri Lanka.

we worked with nine fishery societies, in six communities in Ampara, to restore mangrove ecosystems. The planting and community empowerment programme brings together several stakeholders including community members, government and fisheries officers.

 Alongside the planting we ran six workshops. Initial sessions built up participants knowledge of mangrove ecosystems and team-work skills, and the final ones were used to develop lagoon management plans. These workshops gave each community the skills and structures needed to enable them to nurture and sustainably manage the newly restored area.

 A local nursery was established to propagate trees for planting, as well as utilising two existing nurseries. Following a lagoon survey, mapping and planting design, the community planted 105,000 mangrove plants and trees, and through the management plans, will monitor growth and replant as required.

 

Image: A selection of Sri Lanka's Mangroves- Identification poster. RRI publication.

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