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Mangrove-Friendly Development Challenge winners announced! July 16, 2009

Posted by San Pedro Sun in Uncategorized.

Mangrove Challenge 1

The World Wildlife Fund and Brooksmith Consulting are pleased to announce five winning submissions to the Mangrove-Friendly Development Challenge.  Winning submissions covered a number of categories including large developments, private home-owners, condominium developments, a town park, and a mangrove preserve.  Each winner illustrates a unique contribution and approach to mangrove conservation in Belize.  Each one has a unique story to tell about the value of mangroves to the coastal communities of Belize.

 Winners received a small cash prize and a certificate.

Mature Mangrove Stands at Sunset Pointe, Placencia – Sunset Pointe is a group of condominiums opened in July 2008.  Mature stands of mangroves along the shoreline have been retained and trimmed, providing a dramatic backdrop to the landscaping there.  A dock, cut carefully through a small opening in the tree line, provides aesthetically appealing access to the water. Owner Jennifer Bond says of their landscaping approach:  “Our entire project was designed to conserve the mangroves by making our landscaping fit into the mangroves – not vice versa. They are a natural work of art – protecting the shoreline and building a natural seawall between land and sea. Mangroves are one of the most artistic trees there are.  Their gnarled trunks and branches are not only beautiful to look at but are home to a multitude of birds, small animals, and reptiles.  Their roots are like no other in that they are like stilts that support the trees and become home to an array of fish and marine life.”

Mangrove Challenge 2

A mangrove reserve and hedges at Cocoplum Development, Maya Beach – Cocoplum is a large development with multiple real estate lots just north of Seine Bight and south of Maya Beach.  A 10 acre reserve area has been set aside within the development and mangroves along Placencia Lagoon have been retained.  Additionally, mangroves have been planted along the extensive network of canals on the lagoon side of the development.  Red mangrove and buttonwood trees are shaped into a low hedge, providing shoreline stabilization and a natural buffer against disturbances. Owner Stewart Krohn cites multiple advantages for the use of mangroves along his canals:  “The result actually saved us money, provided better coastal protection, promoted increased wildlife presence, and proved aesthetically superior to the construction of seawalls or use of PVC sheet piling.”Mangrove Challenge 3A mangrove community park by Corozal Village Council, Corozal  –  The shoreline of Corozal is an important natural asset to the people of the town.  A new village park being developed there plans to keep and increase red mangroves growing there for aesthetic and shoreline protection purposes.  Landscape architect, Craig Timmons, hopes to attract wildlife and retain some smaller sandy beaches there by keeping mangroves in place.  Plans for cleaning and improving the park are moving ahead using winnings from the Mangrove Challenge. Says Timmons:  “When mangrove is preserved or replanted the benefits to fish, birds and other wildlife as well as shoreline protection are crucial to keeping the shores of Belize healthy and beautiful.”

Mangrove Challenge 4

Figure 4Viridine´s home on Ambergris Caye showing a bounded mangrove shoreline

Aesthetics to protect the home: Tom Viridine, Ambergris Caye – Tom provided one of the few non-commercial private entries to the Mangrove Challenge, showing how mangroves can play a vital and aesthetically pleasing role in shorelines of single lot developments.  In an area where most of the local mangroves have been removed, Tom opted to retain his mangroves along and even replant in some areas.  With trimming, Tom feels mangroves can become attractive trees or hedges even in developed areas, and keep the vital root system and eco system they provide.

Mangrove preserve at Caye Caulker BTIA, Caye Caulker – The Caye Caulker BTIA has maintained a 1.5 acres mangrove preserve on the island for the last 13 years.  The hope of the preserve has been to provide a small taste of what natural shoreline is like and to promote a wider 100 acre preserve.  The area is an epicenter of conservation activities, supporting a visitor’s center and sponsoring mangrove replanting projects.  The preserve provides an example of the importance of preservation zones and green areas even in rapidly developing venues.

Congratulations to diverse, forward-thinking and innovative Mangrove Challenge winners!  WWF hopes that projects such as yours will provide an example for others as Belize faces the challenges of coastal development in the years to come.




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