Mangroves in Madang lagoon
The seedling squads led by Joe Gill and Luag Tilom from Bilia and Penutibun islands scoop handfuls of mud from the bed of the lagoon, fill polybags and then root the young seedling or propagules.
Once collected the seedlings will be raised. These are taken back to specially built and locally sourced bamboo frame nurseries where they will be raised for the the next five months, until they are strong enough to plant out along the shallow coral shores of both islands, as well as among existing mangrove stands on mainland Pana.
At around 15 km from top to bottom and about one km to the outer reef, Madang Lagoon is one of the most pristine and bio-diverse in the Pacific and the most diverse mangrove habitat on the north coast of PNG, holding a recorded 17 species.
The aim behind the WWF-Australia funded mangrove rehabilitation and replanting programme is to strengthen the lagoon island resilience to sea level rise and to help build more sustainable livelihoods.
More than half the villagers on Bilia alone rely on fish for food and to earn extra cash. As well as forming a natural and flexible sea wall, the mangrove root systems are a safe nursery where young reef fish can thrive.
With seedling collection successfully underway in Madang, WWF-PNG is aiming to expand and develop more rehabilitation projects in partnership with the Office of Climate Change and Development’s ‘Enhancing Adaptive Capacity of Communities to Climate Change-related floods in the North Coast and Islands Region of PNG’. This is an Adaptation Fund programme aiming to build the adaptive and resilience capacity of communities along the north coast between now and 2016.