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Climate Change Department calls for more cooperation to protect mangroves

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa ,11/07/2018

Climate Change Department is calling for more cooperation with the public to protect mangroves because of its ecological functions to protect the environment.

The Head of Biodiversity, Department of Environment of the Ministry of MEIDECC Ta’hirih Hokafonu says ongoing works have been carried out to manage mangrove forests in Tonga.

She says some people failed to appreciate the functions of mangrove ecosystems in the country and sometime this has led to its destruction.

The most destructive threats facing mangrove is coastal development but Hokafonu says despite the different challenges posed, it is still vital to take care of the environment.

It’s important to look after our physical environment, our natural environment and not just focus on your own little corner of development but how I, we, us can contribute for the betterment of this country holistically and not just physical but on environmental aspects to prolong our life,” Hokafonu said.

She also elaborates more on how mangroves are managed in Tonga.

The Management of the Mangrove in Tonga is consistently ongoing and some areas it is well managed and some areas that is not the case. This is only because there is not enough knowledge acquired from all levels. In the national level of the department, we are trying to build awareness of the communities and all the relevant stakeholders because when there is increased knowledge there is a collective efforts towards collective actions but if there isn’t, then the motivation to act together will not take place,” she said.

Hokafonu adds the mangrove restoration process is not always easy because they need to monitor it for some time.

This whole restoration outreach is not easy, once you planted is not like when you build a house and it’s right there and done. With mangrove restoration, once you planted, you have to continue going back to monitor its growth and to make sure it is not affected by human interventions or from nature,” Hokafonu said.

She also emphasizes the importance to continue the discussion on the issue and the collaboration from the national level to the grassroots level to ensure the sustainability of mangroves.

In areas where mangroves work has taken place for many years, they are the ones who would provide strongest support to say yes we’ve seen changes, in the way that there are more marine species evident in their coastal areas. This is because these mangroves have matured to become good habitat for fish breeding grounds and they multiply and reach the rest of the marine environment. For communities that just beginning the mangrove restoration, they will not be able to see that impact right away. If we plant now, then we are expecting to see the impact within five to 10 years,” she said.

Unsustainable stripping of mangrove for different purposes like firewood, tapa making and building materials posed additional threats.

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