Mangroves are arguably the most diverse and important habitats on the planet. They are a nursery ground for most reef fish, creatures, and corals, and provide essential support to other near by marine ecosystems. They are also one of the best ‘Carbon Sinks’! In essence, mangroves are nature answer to climate change and contribute towards the global reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
1/5th of the world’s mangrove population disappeared over the last decade. The primary threats to mangrove destruction are coastal development, their use as a rubbish dump, and overexploitation. Protecting these vital ecosystems has become more important than ever.
Our interns regularly go out to collect mangrove propagules (seeds) along the coastline of Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan. These seedlings are brought back to headquarters, cleaned, and planted in a salted soil compost mixture and kept in our mangrove nursery for optima growth.
With daily watering from our recycled wash bins, the propagules are ready for transplanting after 3-6 months along predetermined locations in Nusa Penida. Once that have been transplanted, their growth and success rate is monitored with weekly visits to the replantation zone.
All guests diving with Reeflex Divers can ‘Adopt A Mangrove’ by donating 20,000 IDR ($1.50 USD) after a dive to their care and upkeep. With a simple equation we can determine a diver’s carbon footprint versus the amount of mangroves needed to make their dive trip carbon neutral!
In addition to our mangrove nursery project in Nusa Penida our research team preforms carbon stock assessments of the mongroves surrounding the project areas. With the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere as a result of human activity, specialty the burning of fossil fuels, the importance of mangroves in the fight again global warming is crucial. Through photosynthesis, they are able to take carbon from the atmosphere and use it to produce their own food in order to grow, thus keeping it stocked as part of them. This is what is known as Blue Carbon: “the carbon stored in mangroves, tidal salt marshes and seagrass meadows within the soil, the living biomass above ground (leaves, branches, stems), the biomass below ground (roots), and the non-living biomass (litter and dead wood)”.
Equipped with line, a slate and a pencil, interns measure a square plot, covering an area of 400m2, and mesuared the diameter and breast height of all Sonneratia alba trees (the dominant species found in this region). With this data in hand we use a model allometric equation, wood density reference and carbon conversion factor for this species (taken from Howard et al. 2014) to estimate the trees biomass and the amount of carbon storied in them. The result is extrapolated to estimate the carbon stock of the total areas covered by mangroves.
Locations: Penida, Bira, Bunaken.