Background: Preventing the destruction of mangrove forests and reducing the adverse impact on the environment are of significant public health and environmental concerns. Increasing the extent of restoration of mangroves and monitoring trends in the practice of their replenishment and long-term outcomes are of considerable importance. It has been documented that mangrove forests are one of the most endangered ecosystems worldwide.
The Caserío Tilapa in the Municipality of La Blanca, Department of San Marcos, Guatemala, has a population of 1123 people (49% women), 200 households. The predominant economic activity of the families is artisanal fishing. The village does not have direct access by road, is accessible by boat from the Tilapa pier. Tilapa is located on the shore of the Manchón Guamuchal, a special protection zone. The geographic coordinates of Tilapa are 14°29'35"N, 92°10'15"W.
There has been a long-standing commitment between the Coatepeque-Colomba Rotary Club and the Rotary Club of Westborough, Massachusetts, USA, the host and primary international clubs, respectively. These two clubs have brought together a highly experienced team of mangrove restoration specialists who will collaborate with Rotarians and Rotaractors in the development and implementation of a mangrove restoration project.
This global grant: Following our community-based management approach for the preservation of mangroves, we now propose a collaborative hands-on project in which community residents of Manchón Guamuchal, Rotarians and Rotaractors will carry out a project to replenish a mangrove forest (mangrove seeding, growth, out-planting). Experts of the Rainforest Alliance and the Guatemalan Association of Private Nature Reserves will support our efforts to enhance the impact of this project and will work closely with its implementation. Using the already established drone-surveillance used by our Guatemalan collaborating institutions we will monitor the changing landscape in this area.
The proposed project will enhance population awareness of the importance of the mangrove forest and will support the continued efforts to provide a unique community-based intervention approach. This project will provide education and training to the local residents to promote their sustainability. Furthermore, it will generate critical data to inform more national guidelines on the enhanced restoration of mangrove forests. The success of this collaborative project will serve as a model that can be implemented in the pacific coast of Guatemala and elsewhere in the world.