Mangroves offer protection for coastlines – community leader

Main Stories, National

The National, Friday 24th August 2012

COMMUNITIES in the Tigak area of New Ireland are concerned about the impact of climate change on their islands.
Community leader and Salapiu environment and management area chairman Francis Sipaleu speaking on behalf of his people at the mangrove nursery and planting workshop recently, confirmed that the impact was evident in some islands in his province.
As a participant at the mangrove nursery and planting training being organised by the PNG Centre for Locally Managed Areas Inc (PNGCLMA) with assistance from the Australian government through the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPAC), Sipaleu was grateful that he could help his community address this situation in a small way.
And this can be done with the replanting of mangroves along some of the coastal areas as a means of preventing erosion.
Mangroves naturally create a buffer for the shorelines with their roots growing deep into the mud and sand preventing erosion of the coastlines.
“We have never really understood the importance of mangroves to the sea and our marine resources which is one reason why we have been constantly destroying them,” he said.
“Mangrove nursery and planting is a new thing for my community but I am so happy that I have come for this training programme and I can now introduce it to the people back home.”
Sipaleu’s Salapiu community is the first in New Ireland to become a registered member of PNGCLMA and attending the mangrove training is a benefit.
He acknowledged the Australian government through PNGCLMA for giving him the opportunity to attend such an important workshop and he is ready to implement what he learnt in his community.
“We have three marine management areas and this is the first time that we have learnt about planting mangroves and it’s a great privilege to be a member of PNGCLMA.”
 and I’m happy to have come so I can assist my community in Salapiu to plant mangroves.
“We have lots of mangroves but due to lack of knowledge people have been cutting them for building houses, as firewood and other uses not knowing the destruction to the areas.”
“For a long time we have been managing our resources and the added knowledge about mangroves is a bonus and it will take us a long way in effectively carrying out our work,” Sipaleu said.