Sri Lanka mangrove conservation scheme gathers pace

April 28, 2008 (LBO) – A program to conserve Sri Lanka’s mangrove eco-systems is gathering pace with the support of coastal communities, government and private sector organizations, officials said. The Mangroves for the Future (MFF) initiative launched with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is also working in India, Indonesia, Maldives and the Seychelles.

The program is targeting coastal mangroves that were affected by the 2004 Indian tsunami.

Mangroves ecosystems are made up of plants and shrubs that can grow in brackish water which in turn succour for fish, crustaceans and birds, reptiles and mammals.

“Only after the tsunami did people start to realize the importance and the need to manage the coastal ecosystems as one, without taking the beach, the mangrove or the river estuaries separately,” M S Wickramasinghe chairman of the MFF national steering committee told LBO.

“Earlier we were using them as it is, as a resource base where people can do fishing and eco tourism activities.”

The MFF works in partnership with government and private sector entities and has been working on activating local communit