School of Public Policy Capstones

Publication Date



Mangroves supply important services to tropical and subtropical communities around the world, but these delicate ecosystems have been degraded, sometimes destroyed, for development interests such as tourism, charcoal concessions, intensive shrimp aquaculture, and growing populations. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is restoring mangroves at two sites in Koh Klang, an island in Krabi, Thailand. The process centers around teaching the surrounding community about the benefits of mangroves as food sources, fish nurseries, and in terms of disaster risk reduction, the ability of mangroves to protect nearby communities from floods, erosion, salinization, and wind. IUCN promotes the natural regeneration of mangroves, which involves attending to the hydrology and topography of the site to provide a habitat where seedlings can take root, and very limited mangrove planting. Silvofisheries are incorporated into the project to ensure a tangible economic benefit for site owners that can be used to garner community interest. Recording the successes of this process and using the results to educate the Thai government and other NGOs on the benefits of natural regeneration with silvofisheries is an integral part of the project. The intervention is in its very early stages so the benefits to-date are small, but through measurement surveys and studies at multiple stages, a record of the project's impact on socioeconomics will eventually provide evidence that the natural regeneration of mangroves with silvofisheries is an ideal approach. After describing potential measurement strategies, we conclude with recommendations for IUCN regarding up-scale and knowledge dissemination. For example, it is critical that IUCN broach complicated issue of property rights with the government and lobby for policy reform before the owners of abandoned ponds will allow mangroves to regenerate en masse.