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Tuvalu

Nanumea Atoll

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Conservation benefit: New two-acre lagoon-based mangrove nursery/reserve and planting of 1,000 mangrove seedlings along a one-kilometer (.62-mile) coastline for 10 years

Community benefit: Refurbishment of a handicraft center

Date Approved: 06.2008

Mangroves

This project protects mangroves, which trap more CO2 than any other kind of forest and as a result, slow global warming.

This remote, small island nation is located in the South Pacific between the countries of Kiribati and Fiji. Its nine atolls have a total land area of under 10 square miles, with the highest elevation only 16 feet above sea level. A major threat to Tuvalu is the degradation of both land and marine resources. Sea level rise caused by climate change is a major contributor to this degradation and loss of biodiversity and natural resources.

Mangroves are an important resource here. They enhance local fisheries, provide material for handicrafts and firewood, and protect the people from tidal and storm surge. The Tuvalu National Council of Women (TNCW) has long recognized the importance of mangroves and the need to better protect the lagoons and coasts of Tuvalu’s small atoll islands.

TNCW, with the Tuvalu Association of Non-Government Organizations, has proposed replanting mangroves and Beauty Leaf Laurel seedlings in outer islands that are threatened by coastal erosion. The project will also engage women and youth in planting a two-acre lagoon-based mangrove nursery and reserve. A one-kilometer stretch of coastline will be planted to protect the main village area on Nanumea.

Community members will use a Seacology grant to refurbish their handicraft center by adding two rooms for training, meetings, and handicraft production.

Project Updates

January 2011

Executive Director Duane Silverstein and President Ken Murdock visited this project as part of a Zegrahm Expedition in September 2010. The handicraft center is completed and guests were able to plant mangroves within the reserve area.

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August 2010

The project contact reports that the handicraft center has started construction; the roof has been completed and the walls are halfway to completion. Remaining work includes the interior and other smaller jobs.

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February 2010

The project contact reports that women on the island have inspected the project site and found that some of the mangroves had been washed away by strong winds due to unusual high tides for this time of year. They have replanted the mangroves three times to replace those that had been washed away. The women have also faced a problem of keeping pigs away from the site, as attempts by the Local Council to have villagers keep pig fencing maintained has gone unheeded. Despite all the problems and difficulties faced by the women on the island in trying to control the pigs and monitor the project site every month they are still enthusiastic and work very hard to protect the plants from being destroyed. It was agreed upon by the Local Council and the TNCW president that the plan for the extension of the handicraft center should be checked by the Public Works Department. They expect to hear back about this in about a month.

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July 2009

More than 1,000 mangrove seeds were collected from the Lakena islet and planted in a nursery established on Nanumea Atoll. More than fifty women from the community participated in the project and were so enthusiastic they planned to plant their own individual mangrove gardens at their homes. Building plans for the extension of the handicraft center have been completed and the community is now awaiting quotes for the materials from Fiji.

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June 2009

As of April 2009, project leaders sent in a detailed timeline and map and are anticipating the start of the project for mid-2009.

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