New Projects Approved By Seacology Board
The following projects were approved by Seacology’s Board of Directors at their June 1, 2012 meeting:
Grenada – Viewing towers, picnic tables and interpretive signage for the 3,088-acre Grand Etang Forest Reserve, St. Andrew’s Parish.
The 3,088-acre Grand Etang Forest Reserve, established in 1906, is the oldest and largest protected area in Grenada. Grand Etang's varied elevation and terrain maintain several different ecological subsystems, culminating in elfin woodlands high up the slopes of the reserve's central mountains. The focal point of the forest reserve is the 36-acre Grand Etang Lake, which fills the crater of one of the island's extinct volcanoes. The rainforest around the lake holds a rich diversity of flora and fauna such as colorful tropical birds, tiny frogs, lizards, and rare orchids, as well as towering mahogany and giant gommier trees, a multitude of ferns, tropical flowers, and other indigenous plants. Grand Etang is the most popular inland attraction on the island, visited by tens of thousands of people annually. Grand Etang Forest Reserve suffered great devastation from both Hurricanes Ivan and Emily, in 2004 and 2005 respectively. Seacology is funding the construction of three viewing towers, three picnic tables and interpretative signage for the reserve. The towers and signage will be placed at three strategic locations within the reserve, while the tables will be situated in a designated picnic area on the shores of Grand Etang Lake.
Indonesia - Solar power for a junior high school and construction of a community patrolled guard-post/lookout tower in exchange for support of two-newly created “no-take” marine areas totaling 58,000 hectares (143,321 acres) for a minimum duration of 25 years, Saukabu Village and Saupapir Village, Fam Besar Island; and Pam Village, Fam Island; Fam Island Group, Raja Ampat, West Papua.
The Fam Island Group covers approximately 1,500 square kilometres (579 square miles) and lies at the western entrance of Raja Ampat’s Dampier Strait. There are 13 main islands, a number of smaller islands, rocky outcrops and patch reefs. The area is known for its exceptional marine biodiversity and low human population density. It is also a target for illegal and destructive fishing, including bomb fishing, by outsiders. There are only three villages located in the Fam Island Group. The largest village of Pam is located on Fam Island. Two smaller villages of Saukabu and Saupapir are located on nearby Fam Besar Island. In 2011 the traditional owners of the Fam Island Group signed a marine conservation agreement to set aside a “no-take” zone totalling 58,000 hectares (143,321 acres) of pristine islands, reef, sea mounts and ocean in two separate locations for 25 years. The Penemu “no-take” area comprises 8,000 hectares (19,768 acres), and the Bambu “no-take” area comprises 50,000 hectares (123,553 acres). The agreement is with Sea Sanctuaries Trust (www.seasanctuaries.org), a UK-based conservation organization committed solely to the protection of this area. Seacology is funding solar power for the junior high school (which is used by students from all three villages), as well as the construction of a guard/lookout tower for monitoring and enforcement in exchange for the support of these newly-created “no-take” marine areas. *
Jamaica – Establishing a furnished field office and providing equipment for the enforcement of the 625.8-acre Galleon Fish Sanctuary.
Along Jamaica’s South Coast is a small fishing community known as Long Acre, located six miles west of Black River, St. Elizabeth. A friendly and peaceful community with a population of 2,000, Long Acre is known primarily for its fishing industry and the beautiful Galleon Beach – which is fast becoming a tourist stop. In 2009, Galleon Fish Sanctuary was declared a no-fishing zone in perpetuity by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MoA&F). With an area of 625.8 acres, Galleon Fish Sanctuary encompasses mangroves, sea grass beds, and coral reef. This diverse habitat has created a significant breeding and feeding ground for many young fish, endangered juvenile turtles, marine mammals such as manatees and dolphins, and a variety of seabirds. The Breds Treasure Beach Foundation (Breds) is responsible for the management of the sanctuary, working alongside Long Acre fishermen who have been trained as Conservation Officers and are now patrolling and protecting the sanctuary. Administration of the sanctuary is currently run out the Breds office in Treasure Beach, some 20-plus miles away. Seacology is funding construction of a new on-site building for management of the sanctuary, to be divided into an educational showroom for the public, an administrative office and a storage area for equipment. The building will be constructed from shipping containers, similar to the Seacology-funded projects in Oracabessa and Portland Bight, Jamaica.
Madagascar – Construction of two primary school classrooms and a restroom block in exchange for protection of 250 hectares (618 acres) of threatened primary semi-humid forest for a duration of 15 years, Ambolobozo Community, Sahamalaza – Radama Islands National Park.
Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, has been recognized as one of the world’s top five biodiversity hotspots. 80% of Madagascar’s plants and animals are endemic. Unfortunately, more than 90% of Madagascar's original forest cover has been lost since the time of human arrival, only 2,300 years ago. Sahamalaza - Radama Islands National Park (SRINP), located in Madagascar’s northwest, is among the youngest, least developed, and most unique national parks in the country. The terrestrial ecosystem consists of semi-humid low altitude forest. Blue-eyed black lemurs are the flagship species and considered Critically Endangered. Also present are Sahamalaza sportive lemurs and Northern giant mouse lemurs, and the fat-tailed dwarf lemur. There are also several rare species of reptiles, amphibians and birds. Eight species of mangroves comprise much of the coastal ecosystem. Several rare birds such as the Madagascar sacred ibis and Madagascar fish eagle are found in the mangroves. The marine ecosystem is less well known but contains remarkable corals, sea turtles, dugong, and sometimes whales. The Association Européenne pour l'Étude et la Conservation des Lémuriens (AEECL) has been working with the Volamaitso Community Association in Ambolobozo, one of the most influential and largest villages bordering the park, on a variety of local environmental projects. Local people have explained that the dilapidated condition of their primary school is one of their biggest problems. Seacology is funding a new school and restroom block for the communities in exchange for an agreement to cease all habitat disturbances in the 250-hectare (618-acre) Ankarafa forest within the park for 15 years. The Ankarafa forest is an isolated parcel of primary forest under heavy threat from slash-and-burn agriculture, illegal logging, hunting and trapping. All parties agree that a new school will be a powerful motivator for renewed conservation of this area. *
Philippines - Construction of an 800-meter (875-yard) boardwalk in support of the protection of 56.25 hectares (139 acres) of mangrove forest for 12 years, Barangay San Vicente, Municipality of Maribojoc, Bohol Island.
Barangay San Vicente, in Maribojoc, Bohol, has a rich 56.25-hectare (139-acre) mangrove forest with 25 different species of mangrove trees. After a university study indicated that the increasing number of fish traps and indiscriminate cutting within the mangrove forest was adversely affecting the fish stocks of nearby traditional fishing grounds, the community decided to take steps to preserve it. The village formed the San Vicente Mangrove Forest Association, and began a 25-year Community-based Forest Management Agreement from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in 1999. With the assistance of a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer and modest funds from the Department of Labor and Employment, the village was able to construct a 500-meter (547-yard) bamboo boardwalk and eco-tourism information center, which then became their alternative source of income and was crucial for the mangrove's protection and conservation. Their “Mangrove Adventure Tour” achieved some success, attracting tourists from near and far over the years. Of late, however, the number of visitors has been decreasing, mainly because the boardwalk is becoming dilapidated and less attractive. In partnership with local organization PROCESS Bohol, Seacology is funding the reconstruction and extension of the boardwalk to 800 meters (875 yards) using sturdy materials. In exchange, the community is committing to the protection of their mangroves for at least another 12 years.
Republic of the Marshall Islands - Education and surveillance center, and pearl farming and enforcement equipment in exchange for a 35-hectare (86-acre) marine protected area as a no-take zone for 10 years, Namdrik Atoll.
Namdrik is one of the most southerly and remote atolls in the Marshall Islands, lying some 399 kilometers (248 miles) from the commercial center and capitol of Majuro. Its total land area is only 2.8 square kilometers (1.1 square miles), but it encloses a lagoon with an area of 8.4 square kilometers (3.2 square miles). Like many of the low lying Pacific Islands, Namdrik faces many challenges ranging from sea level rise to food security. Namdrik’s leadership has taken an increasing role in improving living conditions through conservation and sustainable development initiatives. One of the exciting sustainable development projects embraced by the Namdrik community is pearl farming using the Black-lip pearl oyster (Pinctada margaritifera) to produce Black South Seas Pearls, also known as “Tahitian Black” pearls. This type of farming has proven ideal in other remote areas of the Pacific, as pearls are of high value, easy to transport, and non-perishable. Namdrik is the only place in the Marshall Islands where Black-lip pearl oysters are present in significant quantity, due to its enclosed pristine lagoon. Seacology is funding an education and surveillance center, as well as pearl farming and enforcement equipment for the protected area, in exchange for the creation of a 35-hectare (86-acre) marine protected area within the lagoon for a duration of 10 years.
Tanzania - Education and awareness program, construction of a community resource center and support for alternative livelihood options in exchange for the establishment of a 1,400-hectare (3,459-acre) community marine conservation area for 10 years, Namponda, Membelwa and Kisiwa Kidogo Islands, Mnazi Bay Ruvuma Estuary, Mtwara District. The islands of Namponda, Membelwa and Kisiwa Kidogo are located in Mnazi Bay Ruvuma Estuary Marine Park (MBREMP) in Tanzania’s Mtwara District.
Overall, MBREMP covers a total area of 650 square kilometres (251 square miles) and includes within its boundaries 17 villages with a total population of 45,000. The waters around the islands are renowned for their rich diversity including 42 coral genera, 369 species of fish; extensive mangroves cover the shorelines of the islands. A large population of crab plovers has led to the area’s designation as an important bird habitat. Since fishing, coral mining and other extractive activities are permitted within the reserve, the large population of the communities impose significant pressures on its biological resources. The five villages of Mkubiru, Mnete, Nalingu Ruvula and Sinde wish to protect marine and terrestrial endangered species found on the three islands of Namponda, Membelwa and Kisiwa Kidogo, via the creation of a 1,400-hectare (3,459-acre) community marine conservation area around the three islands for the protection of all five species of sea turtles and mangroves, and to enable recovery of degraded coral reefs. The project is being implemented by KIMWAM (an Umbrella organization for small scale fishers). In exchange for this commitment, Seacology is funding the construction of a community resource/education center at Ruvula Village, mangrove restoration, as well as alternative livelihood options (beekeeping and seaweed farming) and organizational activities. *
*Support for asterisked projects is provided fully or in part by the Nu Skin Enterprises Force for Good Foundation.