An Overview Of Our Solution
- Population Impacted
- Continent: North America
Salado Barra, Municipalidad Porvenir La Ceiba, North Atlantic Coast, Honduras
North Atlantic Coast,
0.5 square km
Local resources the community depends on, and for what purpose
Local threats to resources
Level of sensitivity
Level of adaptive capacity
The goal of the FBC/Cuero y Salado solution is to restore and rehabilitate native mangrove forests and provide access to a diversity of food sources and value-added livelihood opportunities using the Analog Forestry restoration methodology and Kitchen Gardens. There is also the added benefit of increased tourism with restoration. Mangrove Restoration in the Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge restores and rehabilitates native mangrove forest and surrounding degraded lands in the coastal ecosystem, thereby improving hazard risk management and improving food security. Local men, women and children collect mangrove and associated seeds that they either direct seed or plant in community and family tree nurseries for planting as seedlings. The trees are planted into soil amended with compost produced by families within the community. This project is unique in that the community also rescues epiphytic species from mature mangrove trees which, due to sea level rising, are now dying. Travelling to different sites where this is happening and cutting down the bromeliads and bringing them back to tie up into trees or starting them in nurseries has two potential benefits. First, orchids are occurring in larger numbers in the natural ecosystem and second the sale of some of these orchids helps augment income. Secondly, the bromeliads tied back into trees attract pollinators into the woodlands. The goal of the current program is to plant 60,000 mangrove and mangrove associates seedlings. The program is designed to be self-contained in that all program materials are generated within the community and a broad-based training program, including restoration and livelihood training workshops, are designed to reach both illiterate adults and young schoolchildren. FBC has also worked with the community to build a Mangrove Demonstration Site, as well as a Mangrove Restoration Training Centre of Excellence. These infrastructures are designed to facilitate both learning of community members as well as outreach to, and training in other communities, NGO?s, etc. so that the techniques developed in Cuero y Salado can be utilized elsewhere. All training is given on an equal basis to men and women to increase local and regional gender capacity. 75% of all marine species in the Caribbean (fish, crustaceans) spend at least one stage of their life in mangrove areas. One hectare of mangroves has been proven to produce as much as the most productive shrimp farm occupying the same area. For this reason, promoting habitat is crucial to assuring a sustainable protein source for local inhabitants in the area. Not only do the majority of all residents within the catchment project rely on fishing for their primary food source, but so do many other migrant fishermen who come to fish in the rich banks of mangrove estuaries. Beneficiaries will include not only direct residents but also many migrants from surrounding communities who rely on the fishing grounds in this area. This project include upland forest restoration in and around Cuero y Salado using Analog Forestry methodology, growing forests of directly useful species while mimicking the structure and function of the original forests. Analog Forestry increases food security and provides potential alternative livelihoods harvesting and maintaining forests. Standard Fruit Company (Dole) who still have a remnant coconut plantation in the refuge is working with FBC and the community to connect two somewhat intact mangrove ecosystems across 16 hectares of degraded coconut land using Analog Forestry methodology. This biological corridor is designed to provide marketable fruit and nuts as well as ecosystem services such as the moderation of storm surges and gene flow from one native mangrove wetland to another. The challenge to Standard Fruit/Dole is that this biological corridor, managed under a polyculture planting regime and using organic practices, will outperform their monoculture chemical intensive plantations in the region. This project takes the existing lifestyle and community structure into account by working with local people to enhance the availability of wild gathered fruits in the areas. Currently, local inhabitants gather species such as achiote, icaco, almendras, and others from fruiting trees from natural areas, without practicing any form of intensive agriculture. Trees grown in family and community nurseries are out-planted in the layout determined to best create the Analog Forest. Working with the International Analog Forestry Network (IAFN), who have developed standards for Forest Garden Products (FGPs) and Eco-labeling/market recognition, the value of these products in the market is increasing. In addition, forests provide seeds and wood used in the construction of value-added products such as jewelry that is sold to tourists. Kitchen Gardens development in Cuero y Salado improves food security and provides alternative income for community members by providing a diversity of locally grown produce for consumption and sale in the Cuero y Salado region. The Kitchen Garden component of the project takes pressure off mangrove destruction and subsequent cattle ranching, introducing sustainable food production into the area. Garden beds are constructed and local women are trained to plant gardens using a ?train the trainer? philosophy so that the practice can spread. Workshops are held to teach community members (and for community members to teach each other) composting, medicinal plant identification/use and organic pest control. Seed sharing fairs are used to incorporate more women to Kitchen Garden efforts and develop perpetual community seed banks. Seeds saved and knowledge gained will be able to be used in order to continue to grow productive Kitchen Gardens and have produce for sale. 28 families are currently managing Kitchen Gardens in order to increase the availability of fruits, vegetables, and legumes to meet their family?s needs while practicing techniques which reduce the impact on the mangrove ecosystem. The community also garners some alternative income from tourists who come to the refuge to see many rare species, including manatees. Restoration in the refuge is planned in such a way as to have food species for birds and monkeys along the edge of the estuary so that tourists can guarantee seeing many species during their riverboat tour. This is also opening up employment for the local community as naturalist guides, drivers of boats and employees of a small cafï¿½. The sales of fresh juices and fruits grown by the families and sold to the cafï¿½ is also an extra source of income. Some women are also propagating flowers and selling small plants to tourists. Another alternative source of income initiated through this project is the addition of off-grid electrical systems in the community. With colleagues from Nicaragua who came across the border in a gesture of goodwill post Sandanista-Contra war, a small group of people in Salado Barra were trained in solar electrification, made solar panels and did installations for 28 houses and two community buildings, thereby bringing electricity to the community for the first time. With darkness falling in the early evening, this has made a huge difference in being able to study at night, listen to the radio and just have a few more hours of productive time in their houses. Prior to this, as no-one had money for candles or kerosene, darkness fell at 6:00pm. This group has continued to make solar panels as well as solar cellphone battery chargers for sale, which is another small source of income.
Economic Indicators used to measure benefit
Monitoring is a continual part of project activities, especially in terms of monitoring planted mangrove and Analog Forestry seedlings. As seedlings will face a variety of threats in each area (land use change, cattle grazing, flooding, drought) monitoring will be essential in order to adaptively manage planting techniques, minimize risk and maximize success. FBC has also been monitoring the ecological community through biodiversity surveys of birds, amphibians, reptiles, terrestrial mammals. Using point counts, camera traps and incidental observations FBC, in collaboration with the community, has compiled a list of species present and their relative abundance. We are in the processes of increasing the biological monitoring program to include more systematic surveys comparing original forest, degraded areas and restored areas, as well as the monitoring of the coastal habitat. By monitoring the mangrove restoration process, it will be possible to understand relative increases to food security through the availability of crabs, shrimps, and crustaceans.
Community/Social Indicators used to measure benefit
Several members of the community will be employed in various roles to accommodate this project, however these costs will taper off as the project becomes more and more self-sustaining. As the infrastructure is already in place (visitor centre, Mangrove Restoration and Livelihood Development Centre of Excellence, Cafe), we anticipate only very minor upkeep costs. Project staff will work closely with the Fiscalia, ICF (Ministry of Forest Conservation), police, and navy to help stem the occurrence of illegal logging. Natural resource guards will be trained in interactive landscape mapping to properly identify and monitor logging. Aerial surveys will be completed with staff to effectively identify occurrences of logging.
This solution fosters direct and indirect economic benefits. Increased income (purchasing power)- direct ? Wages from project related work including labor, and local cafï¿½ set up to serve tourists ? Sales from Analog Forest products and extra vegetable and sustainably managed crustacean production. FBC is working with IAFN to develop market recognition through labeling to greatly increase the income from these activities ? Value-added products and enhanced ethical eco-tourism opportunities through the creation and marketing of products from restoration areas ? Decreased distance to market by developing local market venues in La Ceiba, Puerto Cortez, the Bay Islands, and the Cuero y Salado Mangrove Training Centre / Visitors Centre Reduced costs- indirect ? Increased abundance of food including fish, fruits of the forest and Kitchen Garden vegetables reducing the amount that needs to be purchased ? Increased literacy and education makes locals more marketable to potential future employers.
Ecological Indicators used to measure benefit
Indicators used to measure economic success of this project include change in income, costs and employment. FBC will continue to conduct household socio-economic studies to determine the perception of individual people.
What were/are the challenges your community faced in implementing this solution?
There are many challenges this community faced and continues to face implementing this solution: ? The community is largely uneducated and many people have learning challenges making the transfer of knowledge more difficult ? Not everyone in the community is a participant in the project and activities of these people through cattle ranching, fire wood cutting etc. damages the forests being rehabilitated by this project ? Climate change, including increased rain in the dry season, is making gathering of seeds and planting more difficult. The phenology of plants is changing and plants in nurseries can flood out from freak rain events. ? Degraded soil has been an ongoing challenge as most of the planting is either in sand or soil degraded through years of intensive cultivation by Dole ? The community and mangrove restoration sites are remote and accessed only by one infrequent and unpredictable train resulting in logistical constraints in the import of materials to conduct project activities and the lack of access for FBC staff ? This project?s scope and continuing success is limited by corresponding funding limitations The community and FBC have overcome many of these challenges in order to succeed: ? A series of training courses have been run through FBC, most recently at the Mangrove Training Centre and Demonstration Area aimed at men, women and children. Training materials are designed to be very accessible to people with learning difficulties. The ?train the trainer? approach means that those who excel in the training programs can become the trainers for the next course. ? The community has adapted to changing weather patterns by changing patterns to match ambient weather rather than climate. This adaptive management, ?do what you can when you can? approach appears to be working well. ? The community deals with poor soils by making their own. Composting, introduced to the community by FBC, has taken off. Many families now possess the skill and facilities to make compost. Trees and Kitchen Garden plants grown in soil amended with this compost have been doing very well. ? Interns and foreign staff have learned to adapt to the remoteness of this community by living on site and coordinating inputs of materials with the train schedule. ? FBC has been running multiple overlapping projects with an array of funders in collaboration with the community to maintain project continuity. ? The biggest risk to these solutions and their continued success is lack of funding. In order for this project to become self-perpetuating, several more years of planting, training and further development of alternative income is necessary.
Describe the community-based process used to develop the solution including tools and processes used
Baseline assessment of coastal community vulnerability to severe storm impacts and selection of priority sites for mangrove restoration were completed in 2012. These studies focused on Identification of vulnerable areas to storm surges and coastal erosion and subsequent outreach and implementation of mangrove rehabilitation to improve community resilience in vulnerable areas. Baseline biodiversity studies have also been conducted to determine what species are present for priority planning purposes and as a benchmark to monitor biodiversity change with restoration activities. Further baseline studies with particular emphasis on nutrition surveys were conducted to determine the socio-economic status of households within the project area in order to study changes over a period of three years. Falls Brook Centre hosted six interns from 2010-2012, who had the responsibility of baseline studies as a key part of their work plan. They monitored changes in access to fruit, vegetables, and protein over the course of the project, which also allowed for longer-term predictions. In addition, in 2011, Falls Brook Centre conducted a socio-economic study of the community of Salado Barra. The study focused on the demographics in the community, the types of households, education, income-generating activities, and the diet of community members. Results of the study demonstrate that, while both women and men experience economic instability, women are the most vulnerable stakeholder group in the community, as there has typically been a lack of employment opportunities for them. Current data shows that 77.5% of women in the region are not involved in any income generating activities. Income from fishing is often used to purchase other foodstuffs from outside the area, however typically only men have access to financial resources. Many young women in the community are single parents and/or the heads of larger extended families, also putting young children and elderly family members at risk, as well as stress on older children who may have to engage in income generating activities instead of going to school. In 2013, interviews were conducted to determine the worth of the work already done, and the impact of the work on women specifically. Women in the community agreed that the work of the Falls Brook Centre was extremely beneficial to both their economic independence as well as their sense of autonomy and civic capacity. Traditionally in Cuero y Salado, women are not involved in fishing activities, and previously had next to no opportunity to contribute financially to the household income. This project brings women into the decision making sphere by involving them in the selection, propagation, management and use of Kitchen Gardens, seed collection and restoration nursery management and the actual planting out of mangrove and mangrove associates. When hiring professional and technical staff, the goal of the project is to achieve a gender balance. By encouraging the participation of women as community-level professionals and technicians, the project will increase the representation of women in the process of decision-making within the community, which will then have a spillover effect in other areas of community life. It will also make full use of the traditional knowledge women possess and the project will profit from their greater communication and associational skills. Many women in the region have young families and are enthusiastic about beginning to be more involved in learning about restoration as well as growing crops to feed themselves, to sell or to trade. Falls Brook Centre in Knowlesville, New Brunswick, Canada is a sustainable community demonstration and education centre, which has had a relationship with the Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge, and the community of Salado Barra, since 2008. Falls Brook Centre has managed previous restoration and community development initiatives within Cuero y Salado and, after a positive working relationship of five years, feels strongly that the community of Salado Barra is a great candidate for this prize. Falls Brook Centre staff and contracted members of the community have conducted the various assessments over the past five years.
Climate hazard of concern
How does your solution reduce the exposure of and buffer/protect the ecosystem affected?
Exposure is the extent to which an ecological or human system comes into contact with climate conditions or specific climate impacts (Wongbusarakum and Loper 2011). For example, a shoreline where coastal vegetation and mangroves have been cleared will have a high exposure to climate hazards such as storm surge and flooding due to sea level rise because no vegetation is present to buffer these hazards. In the Global Climate Risk Index (Germanwatch, 2009), Honduras was ranked as #3 in the world in terms of impacts felt from Climate Change between 1998-2007. Both mangrove restoration and Analog Forestry help by increasing the extent of the ecosystem thereby buffering the ecosystem from hurricane-induced losses and indirectly protecting the ecosystem as well. Increasing the buffer zone area of mangrove forest will help reduce the community vulnerability to sea level rise and storm events along the north coast, and land restoration will enhance protection against extreme weather events such as storms and hurricanes as well as reduce effects of erosion.
How has your solution increased the capacity of the ecosystem to adapt to potential climate changes?
This project has increased the capacity of the ecosystem to adapt to climate change by extending the scope of the existing mangrove forest and adding upland forest. By extending the existing mangrove and associate forest inland we increase the capacity of the ecosystem to continue to flourish with higher sea level and rapid beach erosion. Through this project FBC has also convinced StandardFruit Company (Dole) to provide land from within the coconut plantation to be managed as a biological corridor, with fruit and nut plantings, away from the estuary of mangroves, allowing for connectivity between two mangrove ecosystems and natural inland movement of mangroves with rising sea levels. Furthermore, the Dole Biological Corridor functions as an important dispersal route for animals maintaining connectivity as the mangrove forest becomes increasingly inundated. The capacity of the ecosystem to adapt has also been increased by training local people to help in this process. In addition to restoration work, this project has developed a Mangrove Training Centre of Excellence within the reserve. Mangroves, and mangrove associated species are very sensitive to changes in water quality, and only exist in specific tidal areas. The Mangrove Training Centre is well situated to analyse and respond to any changes in the climate affecting restoration efforts or Mangrove health. The knowledge of how to grow and maintain trees from seed to tree learned through these efforts will allow local people help the ecosystem to adapt even after the project is complete.
How does your solution reduce the exposure of and buffer/protect the communities affected?
Increasing buffer zone area of mangrove forest will help reduce the community vulnerability to sea level rise and storm events along the north coast. Land restoration will enhance protection against extreme weather events such as storms and hurricanes, and reduce effects of erosion. Following Hurricane Mitch in 1998 there has been a large amount of foreign investment along the North Coast of Honduras. Infrastructure such as roads, bridges and factories, are vulnerable to severe storm events and flooding. Fostering a mangrove buffer zone along the coastline of Honduras will be instrumental in protecting these investments as well, and promoting ecologically sound economic development for the region. The Mangrove Restoration Training Centre of Excellence will be a crucial showcase for mangrove protection and restoration along the North Coast of Honduras. It will function as a hub to bring together municipalities, universities, and restoration specialists in order to foster sustainable economic development of estuary and coastal areas. It will show how to incorporate ecological planning along the coast, while serving as a model for other communities and countries in the region. Working with important organizations such as MAMUCA (Municipal Coordinator for Province of Atlï¿½ntida), SERNA (Ministry of Natural Resources), and the ICF (Forest Conservation Institute) will help assure the economic sustainability of the centre as well as the transfer of knowledge between organizations and coastal communities.
How does your solution reduce the sensitivity of the communities affected?
The community of Salado Barra is located on the North Coast of Honduras, which is often prone to severe flooding and devastating hurricanes. Establishing and restoring the mangrove buffer, therefore, is crucial to assuring economic stability and growth. Reforesting coastal areas with mangroves and associated species is highlighted in the ENCC (Estrategia Nacional de Cambio Climatico) published by SERNA in 2010 as a key mitigation strategy to protect coastal areas. The people within the Cuero y Salado region rely very heavily on local resources ? both for income and a source of food, and therefore are incredibly vulnerable to environmental change. Small scale fishing for shrimps, crabs, and reef fish make up the backbone of economic activities in the area. However, as poverty is felt in surrounding communities, many other people are coming into the area to harvest these resources, putting increasing strain on existing populations. Shifting migration of landless peasants is a critical issue in the region as people move in to establish a presence in the estuary and begin to cut down mangroves for a range of illegal activities, such as poaching, netting fish, and cattle ranching. The project will enable the stakeholders to establish and learn from other systems of migration control and protection in other areas and document the practices. Mangroves are often known as ?nurseries? for ocean creatures who lay their eggs safely between the mangrove roots, and where small fish and shrimp can live for the first stage of their lives, safe from ocean predators. Studies have shown that one hectare of mangroves can yield up to 767 kg of wild fish and crustaceans. Each hectare of a managed mangrove system gives revenue of about $11 300 a year, which is at par with the most intensive shrimp farming (Kathiresean, Qasim 2005). Overfishing has been a problem in Northern Honduras, and a recent USAID project has been approved to create a Sustainable Seafood Management Plan for the area. This work will focus on the management of existing fishing rights and resources, and will not aim to increase populations of shrimp, crab, or reef fish. The Organizers of this project have expressed interest in the Mangrove Training Centre Excellence, as a complement to nation-wide sustainable fisheries discussions. One of the key components of this project is that the mangrove forest restoration itself will provide benefits to the landholder, which means that individuals have incentives to carry on with mangrove rehabilitation long after the official project funding is over. Products and services will serve to supplement the livelihood needs of the landholders and participants, either directly through consumption or through processing and sale. It is anticipated that this supplemental livelihood support will continue indefinitely. The project also includes an educational ?train the trainer? campaign, which seeks to train community members about mangrove restoration and analog forestry techniques with the intent that they will disseminate this knowledge. Individuals trained as trainers will be able to maintain their skills by virtue of the training tools developed during the project and through sharing experiences with participants of other restoration projects. Finally, the kitchen gardens will reduce the community?s reliance on external markets. The benefits of the Kitchen Gardens will continue to be felt long after the project is over. Only seeds which are able to be saved and replanted will be used in project activities in order to ensure that local participants have the ability to replant crops long into the future. Emphasis will be put on using locally available resources for planting, such as old pop bottles for seedling pots, so that there is no need to source external materials to carry on project activities. In order to make sure that community members, especially women, play an integral role in restoration efforts, coupling the reforestation of community lands with the individual scale of Kitchen Gardens will be able to make use of the same skills of soil restoration, water catchment, seed propagation, nursery development, and organic pest management to increase local food security. The multi-faceted and holistic approach will reduce the sensitivity of the community of Salado Barra due to diversification of livelihoods (Mangrove Centre, Visitor Centre/Cafï¿½, Trained Trainers, etc.) and increased self-sufficiency (Kitchen Gardens, more sustainable/healthier crustacean population). Furthermore, the project is designed to build on local strengths, and make use of existing materials in the area. Every effort will be made to make sure that all project activities are completed with locally available resources and expertise so that when the project is over, all support and resources are still accessible and available.
How has your solution increased the capacity of local communities to adapt to potential climate changes?
The education/training program is serving to increase local capacity and economic stability by providing income to many of the community?s members, and also by increasing the local knowledge and familiarity with the natural and ecological issues they face as a community. The fact that this program is set up so that knowledge will be disseminated throughout the community and other similar populations means that will be self-sustaining. By focussing on increasing local capacity in this way, and by increasing local knowledge of the area, the project will fill in the gaps where indigenous knowledge may be lacking (i.e. restoration techniques, analog forestry, and the environmental repercussions of certain behaviours), as well as being able to benefit from the community member?s existing relationships with one another, understanding of the social landscape, and physical area. That the knowledge of restoration work, of analog forestry, of subsistence agriculture, and of the implications of certain actions such as deforestation and overfishing, is first learned by, and then taught by, local community members, ensures the transference of this understanding to future generations, and the long-term sustainability of the efforts of the project. Keeping the learning and knowledge garnered from this project within the community will invariably increase their capacity to respond effectively, and with some forethought, to climate change. The Falls Brook Centre approach to mangrove restoration differs from existing projects throughout the Caribbean in that it focuses on the broader spectrum of mangrove associates and wetland species rather than only mangrove trees. By engaging this type of a model in restoration work, the project is far more likely to succeed, and the community of Salado Barra is far more likely to see the benefits of restoration work, as well as to be in a much stronger position ecologically, and therefore better able to adapt to future climate change. The methodology of Analog Forestry, of which Falls Brook Centre has extensive experience in Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica, is crucial to effectively replicate degraded areas, while providing the added benefits of food producing and market value species. Analog Forestry has been adopted by the Honduras Department of Environment as a result of the success of the joint work of Falls Brook Centre and the communities of Cuero and Salado. Mangrove restoration has rarely been coupled with the aims of food security and livelihood development. Learning to aggregate value to these chronically undervalued ecosystems is crucial to assuring their survival far into the future. While the importance of mangrove protection is already acknowledged on a global level, these ecosystems are rarely effectively protected. Incorporating productive wetland species into native restoration plans will augment local and regional value in order to assure their protection goes far beyond their value as ecosystem services. The Kitchen Gardens will further provide important nourishment and income, lessening the burden of what local people will harvest from the land in the refuge itself. Promoting protection and restoration as a crucial element in sustainable economic development for the region is also an important driver for the project. Economic stability, of course, will increase the capacity of community members to react and adapt to climate change, as well as the social, economic, and political devastation that so often follows natural disasters such as hurricanes. The Mangrove Training Centre of Excellence, with associated nurseries and seed banks is the first of its kind along the coast, and is fulfilling the vital need for knowledge and capacity building to increase coastal community and ecological resilience. The mangrove nursery and demonstration centre at Cuero y Salado is open to visitors; from community groups regionally, nationally and internationally. The existing visitor centre will be developed within the reserve to serve as a networking hub to share ideas with people interested in mangrove restoration work around the globe. It will also serve as a local market for women and men to sell handicrafts and other products from the refuge. The Mangrove Restoration Training Centre will be geared to engage in eco-tourism opportunities, environmental trainings and as a local green market venue. All of these activities will slowly build capital to continue activities after the duration of this project, thereby increasing economic stability of community members. As increased economic stability is felt by the community, Falls Book Centre predicts that we will see less of a tendency towards destructive practices such as overfishing and deforestation that, until this point, have been necessary for survival, and more of an inclination to invest in the future and resilience of the community.
Can this solution be replicated elsewhere?
This solution can be replicated elsewhere and is a fantastic tool for reducing the negative impacts of climate change on coastal systems. Wetland restoration is probably the best management tool we have to buffer the impacts of the rising sea levels and increased storm frequency expected as the climate warms. In tropical systems, mangrove swamps are an excellent form of ocean-side wetland suitable for this ecosystem service. Due to the experimental methodology used, testing and perfecting techniques in restoration and our outreach through the IAFN and the Mangrove Training Centre and Demonstration Area, we are trying to encourage and train people from other areas to continue this work. This project with the dual benefit of both climate change adaptation and risk prevention and an increase in food is exactly the type of solution that many communities will need to be resilient in the face of unprecedented climate change.