Sri Lanka Mangrove Conservation Project

Seacology, in collaboration with Sri Lanka-based NGO Sudeesa, is working to make Sri Lanka the world’s first nation to protect all of its mangrove forests.

The Sri Lanka Mangrove Conservation Project is the largest and most far-reaching single initiative in Seacology’s history. The project will protect all 21,782 acres (8,815 hectares) of Sri Lanka’s existing mangrove forests by providing alternative job training and microloans to approximately 12,000 impoverished women who live in 1,500 small communities adjacent to the nation’s mangrove forests. The project will also replant 9,600 acres (3,885 hectares) of mangrove forests that have been cut down, using seedlings raised in three Seacology-funded mangrove nurseries. In exchange for receiving microloans to start small businesses, all 1,500 communities will be responsible for protecting an average of 21 acres of mangrove forest. A first-of-its kind mangrove museum to educate the public about the importance of preserving this resource will also be built as part of this project.

Seacology is harnessing Sudeesa’s experience in implementing job-training and microfinance programs, fields in which Sudeesa has been a leader for more than 15 years. This partnership will give many more impoverished Sri Lankans alternative ways to earn a living that do not entail cutting down mangroves.

The project was launched with a budget of US$3.4 million over five years. Thanks in part to a generous match by Board of Directors member Peter Read, we reached that original fundraising goal. A grant from the Global Resilience Partnership allowed us to expand the scope of our work in Sri Lanka and raise the budget to over $4 million.

Why mangroves?

These resilient trees, which take root in the mud below shallow water, provide shelter from predators for the young of many reef fish species, replenishing fisheries and supporting the livelihoods of those who depend on them. They dissipate the force of tropical storms and reduce damage to coastal communities. And perhaps most important, mangroves sequester up to 50 times more carbon than other ecosystems, playing a key role in efforts to mitigate climate change.



Video overview


Beneficiaries of Sudeesa microloans and skills training

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Featured media coverage

United Nations Climate Change, September 26, 2018
“15 Projects Win 2018 UN Climate Action Award”
Devex, March 21, 2017
Why the momentum for mangroves?
Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine, November/December, 2016
Sri Lanka protects mangrove forests
PMD News, July 27, 2016
President opens Mangrove Museum
San Francisco Chronicle [via AP], July 26, 2016
Sri Lanka to conserve climate-friendly mangroves ecosystem
Geographical Magazine (UK), May 12, 2015
Saviours of Sri Lanka’s Mangroves
See all of Seacology’s press coverage here.

Video project updates from Sudeesa

February 2016 | May 2016 | July 2016 | January 2017

More information

Project fact sheet | Prospectus (English|Español)

Project Updates
September 2018
We’re very excited to announce that Seacology’s nationwide mangrove conservation project in Sri Lanka has been named a winner in the Read More
August 2018
The Mannar training center officially opened on July 27, 2018. Video is here.
February 2018
Members of Seacology's staff and board of directors recently visited our project sites in Sri Lanka. The training center in Mannar funded by last year's Global Resilience Partnership grant is...
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March 2017
The project has been named a winner of the Global Resilience...
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July 2016
Seacology and Sudeesa celebrated World Mangrove Day by officially opening the Mangrove Museum. President Maithripala Sirisena was on hand for a ribbon-cutting as guests, including Seacology...
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July 2016
The Seacology-Sudeesa Mangrove Museum is almost finished, and ready for its official opening on World Mangrove Day, July 26!
June 2016
So far, 283 community-based organizations have been formed so that their members can receive sustainable livelihood training. Almost 500 women have attended three-day training programs on...
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May 2016
Construction of the Seacology-Sudeesa Mangrove Museum is progressing as scheduled. Contractors have begun installing the displays. The museum is scheduled to open on World Mangrove Day, July 26,...
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April 2016
Three mangrove nurseries, in Pambala, Kalipitiya, and Mundalama, are operational, and a total of 161,250 mangrove seedlings have been propagated. Over the next two years, this total will reach...
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March 2016
Seacology Board member Peter Read generously offered to match donations to the project, bringing us within $60,000 of the project's fundraising goal.
February 2016
The president of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, spoke and planted a mangrove seedling at Sudeesa's headquarters in observation of World Wetlands Day.
January 2016
The demarcation of Sri Lanka's mangroves has been completed, with the nation's Forest Department confirming Sri Lanka has about 37,000 acres of intact habitat and 9,600 of deforested area. Three...
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May 2015
We have now officially launched the project, and Executive Director Duane Silverstein signed a formal agreement with the leadership of Sudeesa and the Sri Lankan government.

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