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Mangroves to the rescue

Update: December, 12/2015 - 12:00

The sea level is rising.

That is what is happening all over the world because of climate change.

In the Mekong Delta, the sea is making its way on to farms.

Nature's way of protecting land from the sea is by having mangrove trees along the shoreline.

Over the years, many mangrove trees have gone, so now people are trying hard to get them growing once again.

Residents of Vam Ray Commune erect a wooden fence to protect the mangrove forest in Kien Giang Province.
Residents of Vam Ray Commune erect a wooden fence to protect the mangrove forest in Kien Giang Province. -  VNS Photo To Nhu

KIEN GIANG  (VNS) — Crops and farms would be protected by a mass of mangrove forests in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces, thanks to a restoration project.

The region is home of millions of people and is the country's most important agricultural region, but climate change is leading to the rising sea levels, and some areas of the coast are already being eroded.

The mangrove forests along the coast, which protect the hinterland from floods and storms, are in dramatic decline.

A project under the Integrated Coastal Management Programme, co-funded by Germany and Australia, which was implemented in Hon Dat District's Vam Ray hamlet, first gained success in Kien Giang province.

The project has worked with the local community and relevant authorities to establish a coastal protection model in Hon Dat District.

It has helped farmers here to make plans to adapt to climate change, including activities such as mangrove rehabilitation and coastal forest protection measures, promotion of alternative income opportunities for communities dependent on coastal forests and improved dyke construction and management.

Huynh Huu To, one of the project's staff, said technical staff supported farmers in applying new techniques in restoring mangrove to prevent erosion.

"In the six years since 2009, in implementing the pilot project, such forests provide the best protection against floods and storms," To said.

To added that the cost for building a dyke to prevent waves reached VND30 billion (US$1.3 million) per kilometre, but it was often destroyed yearly.

The provincial authorities also urged residents to plant forests in previous years, but failed to prevent saline water from spreading, he said.

"In previous years, many local residents gave up their farms to find another job or work for other region's farms because plants and fisheries could not live in saline water," Tong Van Anh, a local resident said.

"Dykes are breached each year with the saltwater intrusion, destroying crops and fish production", Anh said.

"But now the coastal dyke is no longer directly affected by waves," he said.

"Income from fisheries is not high yet but the benefits which come from mangrove forests have been recognised by local residents here", said Nguyen Tin, deputy director of Hon Dat forest management department.

In 2014, her family had invested capital from a loan from a women's association to build ponds for fish farming, and benefited from it, Anh's wife said.

Mangroves had helped to safeguard several kilometres of sea dykes, houses, roads and agriculture lands and residents could keep their mind on their work, said Tin.

The project had addressed ways to improve the production and even led to their expansion, Tin said.

Mangrove forests play a vital role in the mitigation of threats presented by climate change, and in particular sea level rise and storm surge.

Local communities have also become increasingly aware of the great risks involved, according to Tin.

Under the programme, the province will further implement planting mangrove forests in An Bien and An Minh districts. — VNS

GLOSSARY

Crops and farms would be protected by a mass of mangrove forests in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces, thanks to a restoration project.

 

A restoration project is a project that involved carrying out repairs, in this case to a mangrove forest, so that it returns to the state in which it should be rather than for it to be ruined.

The region is home of millions people and is the country's most important agricultural region, but climate change is leading to the rising sea levels, and some areas of the coast are already being eroded.

When land becomes eroded it is eaten away by forces such as the weather, the wind and water.

The mangrove forests along the coast, which protect the hinterland from floods and storms, are in dramatic decline.

The hinterland is the countryside inland of the coast.

When something is in dramatic decline, it is becoming worse very quickly.

A project under the Integrated Coastal Management Programme, co-funded by Germany and Australia, which was implemented in Hon Dat District's Vam Ray hamlet, first gained success in Kien Giang Province.

If a project is co-funded, it is funded by more than one person, organisation or, in this case, more than one country.

 A hamlet is a very small village.

It has helped farmers here to make plans to adapt to climate change, including activities such as mangrove rehabilitation and coastal forest protection measures, promotion of alternative income opportunities for communities dependent on coastal forests and improved dyke construction and management.

Rehabilitation means bringing something that is damaged back to how it was when it was healthy.

An alternative income means another way of earning money.

To be dependent on forests means to need them.

A dyke is a wall built to keep water out of low-lying areas.

"In the six years since 2009, in implementing the pilot project, such forests provide the best protection against floods and storms," To said.

A pilot project means a practice round.

The provincial authorities also urged residents to plant forests in previous years, but failed to prevent saline water from spreading, he said.

Saline water is salty water.

"Dykes are breached each year with the saltwater intrusion, destroying crops and fish production", Anh said.

When dykes are breached they are broken and water starts flowing through them into the low lying areas they are supposed to be protecting.

A saltwater intrusion means the unwelcome arrival of salt water.

In 2014, her family had invested capital from a loan from a women's association to build ponds for fish farming, and benefited from it, Anh's wife said.

To invest capital in a project means to spend money on it in the hope of making more money from it. Capital means money.

You take out a loan when you borrow money from someone who lends it to you.

Mangroves had helped to safeguard several kilometres of sea dykes, houses, roads and agriculture lands and residents could keep their mind on their work, said Tin.

Safeguard means protect.

Mangrove forests play a vital role in the mitigation of threats presented by climate change, and in particular sea level rise and storm surge.

The mitigation of threats means calming down of threats.

WORKSHEET

State whether the following sentences are true, or false:

1.      Mangrove forest can protect countryside from floods but never from storms.

2.      Vam Ray is a large city in the Mekong Delta.

3.      The Integrated Coastal Management Programme is co-funded by Germany and Austria.

4.      Dykes are expensive to build and are often destroyed some time after having been built.

5.      Tong Van Anh lives in the Cuu Long Delta.

ANSWERS:

© Duncan Guy/Learn the News/ Viet Nam News 2015










































 

1 False; 2. False; 3. False; 4. True; 5. True.

 

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