Community Mangrove Biodiversity Conservation in the State of Penang Through Awareness Raising, Education and Restoration
Mangrove forests are important resources for communities along the coasts of Malaysia. Mangroves are unique in biodiversity and provide a means of living to many communities living close to the mangroves. Mangrove forests also protect the coastal strip from erosion and are fundamental for the development of numerous species of fish, shrimps, shellfish, fowl, etc.

During the last few decades mangrove forests have been disappearing from the coasts of Peninsular Malaysia at an alarming rate. Thus, restoration of existing or former mangrove forest areas is very important and so is protection so that what remaining mangroves are not destroyed.

Education and training is needed to develop environmental awareness among local and fishing communities so that it would eventually translate into remedial actions to problems faced in sustaining their livelihood and to protect their coasts. Communities that are aware would be committed to protect and sustain the coastal ecosystem and would need funds to carry out activities to further advance their commitments and support their livelihood.

Hence, this proposed project aims to raise awareness of public regarding importance of mangroves for its continued conservation and protection through active community participation.

The project objectives are as follows:

i. Raise awareness on importance of mangroves and its conservation efforts.
ii. Set up and operate eco-education centre in Seberang Perai Selatan.
iii. Ex-situ conservation of several types of mangrove species.
iv. Restoring degraded mangrove forests in selected sites in Penang.

The following activities will be undertaken to achieve the project’s objectives:

• Conduct educational programmes for specific target groups and conduct exhibitions for wider outreach to raise public awareness on importance of mangroves and its conservation.
• Produce education materials such as brochures, streamers and photo exhibits.
• Construct, equip and operate an eco-education centre.
• Survey, collect and plant different varieties of mangroves tree species in the periphery of the eco-education centre.
• Identify areas for restoration and plant mangroves in selected sites in Penang.

This proposed project which relates to the GEF Focal Area on Biodiversity Conservation operational programme (OP) 2 on Coastal, Marine and Fresh Water Ecosystems would be conducted in the state of Penang. We have established good contacts with the authorities, fishers from various jetties in Penang, teachers and several local communities and thus we expect the project to be well-received and ensured active participation by the targeted groups and local communities.

Expected output

• An education centre established and in operation in Seberang Perai Selatan.
• Mangrove saplings planted and thriving in ex-situ conservation area and also in degraded mangrove forests around Penang.
• Continued supervision to ensure mangrove regeneration in areas where mangrove replanting has been undertaken.
• Streamers and photo exhibits prepared.
• One stakeholder workshop, seven education and awareness raising programmes cum exhibitions for specific target groups have been conducted.
• Increased fish and mangrove biodiversity.
• Improved income generation for the local traditional fisherfolk.
• Enhanced prominence and participation of community including women and children in the activities.
• Increased co-operation and support by government authorities.
 

Project Snapshot

Grantee: Persatuan Kebajikan Nelayan-Nelayan Pantai Pulau Pinang
Country: Malaysia
Area Of Work: Biodiversity
Operational Phase: Phase 4
Grant Amount: US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing Cash: US$ 8,181.00
Co-Financing in-Kind: US$ 47,880.00
Project Number: MAL/SGP/OP4/Y3/RAF/2010/01
Start Date: 7/2010
End Date: 6/2012
Status: Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Notable Community Participation
The rationale for community involvement in the management of natural resources stems from the fact that local communities that derive direct benefits from managing natural resources are better motivated to protect those resources. Thus, involvement of the local community where mangrove rehabilitation is taking place is essential to the long term survival of the restored forest. First, the coordinating committee will consult local community to identify the history of the site for restoration, the mangrove species that have grown there, the hydrological conditions and requirements, the depth of the substrate in which they grew, the fresh water inputs to the area or where did exchange of tidal water take place. These are standard planting practice for mangrove restoration. Restoring an area's natural hydrology in most cases will allow nature to restore the mangroves via tidal ebbs and flows, through transporting mangrove propagules (seeds) for the natural regeneration of a bio-diverse and healthy forest.
Emphasis on Sustainable Livelihoods
With raised awareness and fostering a sense of ownership for their coastal region and encouraging the local community to play an active role as coastal stewards, we foresee that there would be continued efforts to conserve the coastal mangroves. The sustainability of this project will also depend on the possibility of the local fishing community in sustaining their livelihood from their fishing activities and other related income-generation activities.
+ View more