A $200,000 funded project aimed at raising 200,000 mangrove seedlings to be replanted in degraded sites within the Greater Amanzule Wetland complex in the Western region has kick-started.
Dubbed the “AFR100 TerraMatch project,” the project which would raise red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle), white mangroves (Laguncularia racemose) and Black mangroves (Avicennia germinans), is being spearheaded by Hen Mpoano, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) that provides support to coastal communities to promote and sustain integrated management of coastal and marine ecosystems.
With funding from the TerraMatch AFR100 fund, the project which began in June, this year and is expected to last for five years would see the planting of the mangrove seedlings in the first two years and monitoring in the remaining three years.
Speaking at the Anyanzili and Ampain Nursery Site in the Ellembelle district in the Western region on Thursday, the Project Manager – Coastal Landscapes and Aquatic System Dynamics, Daniel Doku Nii Nortey explained that the project was a spin-off of the Bonn challenge where African leaders pledged to restore degraded landscapes in Africa and the country had signed on.
“So, there was a call for organisations to apply and Hen Mpoana applied, was shortlisted and we have the funds to start the implementation,” he added.
He stated that it was dollar for a seedling, thus the $200,000.
Mr Nortey noted that they had established three nurseries where they would raise 80,000 mangrove seedlings this year.
“Here at Anyanzili, we are raising 30,000 seedlings. For this year we are raising only red mangroves here and the other nurseries are raising both the red and white mangroves,” he added.
Stating that those degraded sites were cleared for charcoal production, Mr Nortey said that they established mangrove conservation committees and three permanent sampling in the replanted mangrove sites to estimate growth rate and assess mangrove ecosystem health.
He said they provided training and sensitised the communities on sustainable mangrove harvesting, uses and conservation.
Mrs Dorcas Kakuchie, Manager of the nursery who affirmed that the restored sites were degraded for charcoal production stressed that they were now aware of the implications of human activities on landscape resources.
Understanding the importance of mangroves and gaining from its benefits, she said, had strengthened the community’s protection of the sites.
“We have restored the carbon dioxide generation due to the mangroves. The trees also serve as defence against strong wind and some of us here- we the women and youth have gained a livelihood from the shell fishes gathered from the sites,” Mrs Kakuchie added.
At the mouth of the Ankobra river, Paul Nato Cudjoe, Organiser, Ankobra-Sanwoma Nursery said Hen Mpoano took some of them to the Volta region to learn on the uses, conservation and importance of mangroves, adding that “so we agreed to help to replace the Mangroves to restore its benefits.”
He said there was a great change now as it was helping them in their fisheries, adding that “they also taught us the organic ways in farming and we now use local herbs in spraying.”