Rebuilding the mangroves in the Lagoon of Ventanilla

Rebuilding the mangroves in the Lagoon of Ventanilla

This month we had a great adventure with our students in Experiencia: we participated in the reconstruction of a mangrove ecosystem! The coordination team and ten volunteers went to the wonderful community of Ventanilla, in the Municipality of Tonameca. We started with a short tour near the entrance of the lagoon, greeted by a baby crocodile 🐊 taking the sun and enjoyed an incredible sunset accompanied by another larger crocodiles. And now we were ready for the next day!

We got up at seven in the morning, we first went to see the cultivation of 50 000 red mangroves by the cooperative “Lagarto Real”. At this time they explained to us that, in 2016, the hurricane “Carlotta” destroyed more than 80% of the red mangroves in the lagoon, and from that moment, a large reconstruction project began. Then we chose two red mangroves each, big enough to survive, and we started the way on the rowing boat managed by the guides. They told us that we were participating in the first reconstruction session of 2019! With a lot of motivation, we arrive at a place where the water level is low enough to start planting our plants. The first team jumped in the water, to plant the first mangroves. It is not easy but little by little we learned the technique, and in the end we planted all our mangroves!

Why is this project so important?

This is very important because the lagoon is a very complex ecosystem that concentrates an incredibly varied diversity on which many animals depend. The lagoon serves as a refuge for many fish, reptiles, mollusks. But it is also very important for the communities that live nearby, for their local heritage and their biological wealth that allows them to do ecological tourism activities, and raise awareness about the importance of this ecosystem. These communities needed a lot of time and effort to get permission to start the reconstruction, and a lot of work to cultivate new mangroves: 130,000 in three years! The mangroves that died are the red ones, which filter the chemical substances, that is why they are indispensable for the good quality of the water.

For all reasons, it is a pleasure for Experiencia and the volunteers to support this type of activities, to show and teach the people the richness of the region. But it is also very important for us to support the work of local communities that make a great effort to rebuild and protect their natural heritage.

Many thanks to all the volunteers for their participation, and to the people of the cooperative “Lagarto Real” for their welcome and their example!

Extra Thanks to Baptiste Etche & Olegario

 

 

 

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