Sustainablility for our communities and mangrove ecosystems

ecosystem

The island nations of Micronesia are ground zero for climate change. The impacts of sea level rise are already forcing abandonment of low-lying atolls and will continue to have excessively large impacts on traditional cultures reliant on oceanic and coastal resources for their health and continued existence. Mangroves are known to be sensitive to impacts from even slowly rising sea level, but appropriate adaptation actions can increase their resilience. They provide physical protection from rising seas and intensifying storms. Pohnpei’s mangroves provide all these services but are threatened by a combination of multiple stressors that are predicted to intensify in the future.

Since the beginning of 2016, the Pohnpei State and FSM National Departments of Resources and Development are leading a large international, multiagency project “Increasing Resilience of Micronesia’s Mangroves”. Project partners include: Pohnpei State Government, FSM National Government, The Conservation Society of Pohnpei (CSP), Pohnpei Municipal Governments, the Nature Conservancy (TNC), Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFS), Department of Interior Office of Insular Affairs (DOI), the Pacific Islands Climate Change Initiative (PICCC), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the University of Tasmania and Dr. Stephen Crooks.
USGS has a lead role in the work to estimate the total mangrove area on the island of Pohnpei as well as to estimate the total aboveground biomass and carbon stored in the mangrove ecosystem. The goal of this portion of the project is to assess the mangrove ecosystem above ground biomass and carbon stocks and later create a high-resolution mangrove distribution that will be made available to all government agencies, local NGO’s and communities.
From August 7th to 11th, a 5-day capacity building workshop led by both the Pohnpei State and FSM National Departments of Resources and Development and supported by Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT), Conservation Society of Pohnpei (CSP), and two scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey – Dr. Elitsa Peneva-Reed and Dr. Zhiliang Zhu took place. The purpose of the workshop was to train local community members to conduct field work to complete the establishment of 163 permanent mangrove forest plots in Pohnpei. The participants represented the following: Pohnpei State Forestry, FSM Resources and Development, the Conservation Society of Pohnpei and representatives from the communities of Nett, Kitti, Madolenihmw, Sokehs, and Uh.
During the closing ceremony on Friday 11th of August held and 23 trainees received awarded Certificates of Completion verifying their successful completion of the training and certifying them to conduct this skilled work. The benefits of their certification go beyond this project, as there now exists a cohort of local expert mangrove data collectors who can assist in future terrestrial and mangrove assessment and data collection projects for the state, increasing their skills base and income potential. A 4-week field project followed the workshop during which time the team established and recorded 163 mangrove plots. The datasets were sent to USGS to be analyzed and the map and results will be available by end the of October. To request the results of the work and a copy of the map, feel free to contact the MCT Office at 320-5670/8903