New Research on Mangrove Restoration for Bonaire

Jasper Raijmakers and Shamyi Lanjouw discuss new research and collaborative projects on mangrove restoration for Bonaire. For full article, visit DCNA.

Since 2020, the Mangrove Maniacs have planted over 1500 mangroves along the southwest coast of Bonaire. A new collaborative project with Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences monitored and mapped these newly planted mangroves. A healthy fringing mangrove forest will provide new habitat, nursery, and foraging grounds as well as a vital line of coastal defense for the southern wetlands.

IMPORTANCE OF MANGROVES: Worldwide, mangroves become more important each day due to the threats of climate change and sea level rising. Unfortunately, Bonaire is no exception to these threats. Mangroves provide multiple ecosystem goods and services (EGS). One of the main EGS is coastal protection due to their ability to attenuate waves, prevent erosion and increase sedimentation. Furthermore, they are important for their ability to store blue carbon, which is carbon stored in coastal and marine ecosystems. Mangroves sequestrate and store more carbon per unit area than tropical rainforests due to their woody prop roots and dense above and belowground biomass. Also, they have a high biodiversity, serve as a fish and bird nursery, and provide opportunities for ecotourism.

RESEARCH: Recently, Jasper Raijmakers, an undergraduate from the International Forest and Nature Management program of Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences, worked with the Mangrove Maniacs to map and monitor the planting sites along the southwest coast, as well as compare and evaluate two mangrove restoration techniques. For all large planting sites, the numbers of alive, dead and tagged red and black mangrove outplants were counted in a grid and presented in a heat map (an example can be seen below).

To compliment [sic; complement] the maps, the success rate of the standard outplanting mangrove restoration technique was compared against the thesis work of student Shamyi Lanjouw, a WUR MSc Forest and Nature Conservation student, who was conducting her thesis on mangrove restoration with the use of BESE-elements®. BESE-elements® are biodegradable 3D structures that offer structural stability for intertidal vegetation. Interestingly, using both techniques found high survival rates and statistically speaking there was no significant difference between the relative growth rates between the two methods. The implications of this show that, in this particular case, investing in additional restoration material is not more effective than using traditional methods.

IMPACT ON FUTURE: These maps will be a vital management tool for mangrove restoration in the future. Using these maps, land area managers can quickly access an overview of the large planting sites, as well as have information needed to support monitoring of the outplants, track the project’s progress, as well as aid in identifying future planting sites. [. . .]

For more information and full reports by Jasper Raijmakers and Shamyi Lanjouw, see

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