Why not?! Mangrove forests provide many ecosystem services that help to maintain our quality of life in the Cayman Islands.
Mangroves do more proportionally than any other forest to sequester carbon – up to 5x more per hectare than tropical rainforests. This makes mangrove forests – and their restoration – one of the planet’s best and most important defenses against climate change.
- Mangrove Action Project
Sunday July 26th marks World Mangrove Day. This International Day for the Conservation of this wetland ecosystem was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in 2015 and “aims to raise awareness of the importance of mangrove ecosystems as a unique, special and vulnerable ecosystem and to promote solutions for their sustainable management, conservation and uses.”
Some of our Mangrove Rangers venturing into the mangrove wetlands, collecting data on their growth and the impacts caused by nearby developments
Although mangrove habitats help retain carbon, protect our island from storm surges and hurricanes, and are home to immense biodiversity, they are severely threatened. Mangroves are disappearing five times faster than overall global forest losses. In fact, in the last 40 years it is estimated that we have lost 50% of our global mangrove coverage. Here in Cayman, we have less than 40% of our mangroves left, most of which can be found in our Central Mangrove Wetland (CMW) ecosystem.
Luckily in March, the Cayman Islands Government adopted the Species Conservation Plan, which formalizes mangrove protection. In fact, anyone who removes, damages or kills them commits an offense under Section 33 of the National Conservation Law. However, Cayman’s mangroves and the CMW are still threatened by over-development and unsustainable removal. To celebrate this year’s World Mangrove Day, the Junior Mangrove Ranger program is set to launch. It aims to recruit and train young Caymanians who want to protect our Central Mangrove Environment to help create a sustainable future for Cayman. The Rangers will be raising community awareness and collecting vital data as well as monitoring mangrove destruction through illegal removal and development.
World Mangrove Day and The Cayman Islands Mangrove Ranger Launch Programme
The Cayman Islands Mangrove Rangers are working hard to protect the mangroves of the Cayman Islands. The initiative is training young Caymanians to help conserve the island's remaining mangroves.
Boat Trips into the Mangroves
Students from several primary schools, (including Red Bay Primary, John A Cumber, East End Primary, and St. Ignatious Catholic School) took part on a mangrove excursion in Governor’s Harbour.
These fun expeditions into the mangroves gave the students an “up close and personal” experience into the mangrove habitat, where they encountered the creatures that reside in this habitat such as the Cassiopea Jelly fish, and one of the largest single celled organisms - Acetabularia!
By educating our future, we are ensuring the protection of our Mangrove’s future. You can join us on more educational trips by simply reaching out! We’d love for you to join the Mangroves Rangers in protecting what we have, and restoring what we’ve lost.
Central Mangrove Wetlands - Students Field Study Report
As part as an IA topic, students from Cayman International School collaborated with the Mangrove Rangers to carry out research
regarding the "Current state and biodiversity of undeveloped 900 square metre plots of land in the Grand Cayman central Mangroves".
Students ventured into the Central Mangrove Wetlands - the largest contiguous mangrove wetlands in the Caribbean- where they established a base camp, setting up a quadrant of a size 30m x 30m. After subdividing that quadrant into smaller squares of a 36m2 area, the biodiversity of inhabiting species was recorded, as well as the range in mangrove species.
Here are some of the tasks that were taken out by the students:
- Establish plot lines: 100feet square
- Carry out plant/tree/mangrove species along the transects at specific intervals.
- Measure tree side: height, width etc. at specific intervals - every 20 feet - along the transect lines.
- Measure depth of peat at three specific intervals one along each transect
- Prepare bird identification for observation/recording (time of day, approx location at/near transects.
- Take water and detritus samples for microscopic analysis back at the CIS lab.
- Test water quality: pH, DO, salinity, temperature etc