Mangrove Habitat Creation using Riley Encased Methodology (REM)
The health of coral reefs is dependent on the health of the closely associated seagrass beds and mangroves. In Particular, mangroves provide coastal protection and other valuable environmental functions that artificial structures, such as seawalls, can never achieve. Nevertheless, the most significant threats to the integrity of these ecosystems are anthropogenic influences including dredging, mangrove clearing and coastal development
Although mangrove restoration efforts have been implemented in Belize for many years, the Riley Encased Methodology has radically transformed the ability to mitigate ecological degradation, improve the robustness of the coastal ecosystem and its ability to absorb human induced stress. The methodology provides sustainable development technology in building coastal resilience and promoting biodiversity.
This past week, the Hol Chan Marine Reserve hosted a course led by Bob Riley of Mangove.org. Bob has developed the Riley Encased Methodology (REM) to establish reproductively mature mangroves in areas where natural regeneration is made extremely difficult or even impossible due to aberrant conditions such as high wave action. The three-day interactive course included theoretical justifications for the methodology, technology education and practical on-site applications.
Ineffective sea walls or revetments, beach areas vulnerable to erosion and highly impacted sites due to mangrove degradation and storms provide the ideal scenario for the use of REM. Conventional methods would be ineffective in these conditions but REM adaptation creates an induced change in morphology of the mangrove tree enabling them to survive in these extreme environments.
As part of the training, participants installed REM encasements at three sites throughout San Pedro. By the use of this methodology, the mangrove seedling undergoes an isolation process that leads to a self-regulated adaptation process as the seedling matures through natural stages of development. Essentially, the temporary encasements force the mangrove seedling to adapt to high-energy shorelines and non-native environments. The resulting factor is a mangrove habitat that secures and protects the coastline and serves as a heaven for juvenile marine life.
The classroom education and field training course is a collaborative program between the Coral Reef Alliance, World Wildlife Fund, Mangrove.org and Hol Chan Marine Reserve. We plan to monitor and maintain the mangrove sites and involve Hol Chan’s Environmental Club. An educational public forum will be organized to present our 6-month progress and evaluate the success of the three sites. To participate in our subsequent programs or for more information feel free to visit the Hol Chan office or contact our partners: Bob Riley