Pohnpei is the second largest island in Micronesia. It’s also one of the wettest—more than 175 inches of rain drench it each year. The abundant rain and tropical heat nourish lush vegetation. Half a dozen mangrove species are found at Peidie, including the giant or cannonball mangrove, which has roots 50 meters long and fruits the size of volleyballs. The forest is a crucial fish nursery. It also provides habitat for mangrove crabs (an important local food) and vulnerable birds such as the endemic Pohnpei kingfisher.
The village of Peidie is on Sokehs Island, which is connected to Pohnpei Island by a causeway. Peidie has a population of about 1,000. Community members catch reef fish and grow coconuts, breadfruit, yam, and taro.
The community recently persuaded the Sokehs municipal government to designate much of the mangrove forest around the village as a conservation site. (Part was left open so community members can fish.) The law prohibits dredging, cutting trees, fishing, or hunting in the protected area. The newly authorized Peidie Community Conservation Officers, working with rangers from the Division of Fish & Wildlife and municipal police officers, will enforce the rules.
The village will use a Seacology grant to repair its basketball court, install restrooms, and add concrete bleachers with roofing. They will also put in lights and repair fencing. The refurbished space will encourage physical recreation—something of great importance given the epidemic of obesity and related serious disease that is devastating the South Pacific.
Our partner NGO, the Peidie Community Association, will conduct awareness programs in all six Sokehs communities. They will let everyone know about the new protected area’s boundaries and rules and how to protect the mangrove forest.