Mangroves are unique, highly productive forests that interface between marine and terrestrial environments in protected and sheltered habitats of tropical and temperate regions. Mangrove swamps have been rated amongst the rarest and most scientifically interesting eco-systems that occur in the tidal environment.
The protection, conservation and sustainable use of mangroves are important as they make valuable contributions to ecosystem functioning, providing a wide variety of goods and services. Mangroves protect coastal areas from storms, provide ‘nurseries’ for a range of different plant species and support coastal fisheries. Mangroves provide wood for firewood and construction. They fix and store significant amounts of carbon as well as remove pollutants.
Mangroves in the Limpopo estuary are crtical conservation priorities. The recently launched AWARD work on mangrove restoration here aims to build networks amongst residents, government, teachers and learners.
The Mangrove Restoration through Community Participation in Limpopo River Estuary project aims to restore and maintain the mangrove ecosystem services in the Limpopo Estuary through improved governance for natural resources management, mangrove restoration, capacity-development. The project works especially in local schools, and with conservation and sustainable management of the forest through the establishment and operation of natural resource management committees and building networks for sharing lessons. AWARD partners here with the Centre for Sustainable Development of Coastal Zones (CDS-ZC) and works with the Mahielene and Zongoene Sede communities in the Limpopo River Estuary, in the Xia-Xia District in Mozambique. Good practices and lessons learnt could be applied to the entire Estuary and to other mangrove sites along the Mozambique coast.