Mangroves are extremely beneficial to coral reefs. Not only do mangroves act as a natural purifier to prevent harmful pollutants from reaching reefs, but their root systems also provide a breeding ground and nursery for many reef species. Unfortunately for both mangroves and reefs, the high demand for beachfront property in Belize has led to an alarming rate of mangrove destruction. Coastal developers have traditionally favored clearing mangroves and constructing seawalls to prevent erosion, even though mangroves do a better job of minimizing erosion, while providing important coastal habitat.
It's with that background that the Coral Reef Alliance launched a mangrove replenishing effort in San Pedro. With our local partners, as well as renowned mangrove expert Bob Riley, we hosted a workshop on how to effectively restore mangrove habitat and enlisted volunteers to plant nearly 100 seedlings in three high-priority locations along the coast. The attached link takes you to our YouTube page where you'll find a great video with more detail on the project.
While it will take a few years for the seedlings to develop root systems, the ultimate return on investment will be worth the wait. "We are confident that these sites will serve as models to educate coastal developers on the importance of maintaining mangrove habitat," says CORAL's Belize Field Rep. Val Rosado. "Development is essential to our local economy, but it must be done in a responsible way."
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Asst. Director of Development