International Exchange on Ecological Mangrove Restoration
Mexican experts in mangrove management visit the country to exchange successful experiences and train in the recovery of these ecosystems present in 65% of the coasts of 123 tropical or subtropical countries around the world.
Nearly 40 technicians, rangers, and community leaders are trained in mangrove forest restoration, highly valued for the environmental, social, and economic goods and services they provide. The training is part of the "International Exchange of Experiences in Ecological Mangrove Restoration," which took place November 21-23 in the southwestern part of the country.
The meeting is possible thanks to the joint work of the Environmental Investment Fund of El Salvador, the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (MARN), the Salvadoran Ecological Unit (UNES) and the Women's Community Development Association of Barra de Santiago (AMBAS).
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), through the Regional Coastal Biodiversity Project, have also joined this effort.
The initiative aims to train, update and strengthen local knowledge in ecologically and socially viable techniques for the restoration of this forest, which could benefit the Impossible Barra de Santiago Conservation Area, highlighted as the main mangrove zone in the West.
Mexican specialists Aníbal Ramírez and Omar Trujillo, of the ReverdeSER association, will share their knowledge on diagnosis, analysis and identification of potential zones for ecological restoration of mangroves, ecology of mangroves, collection of microtopography data, soil samples and physical-chemical parameters, among others.
The training days are based on exhibitions and technical talks, accompanied by visits to recovered sites such as the El Zaite canal.
"By increasing the communities' capacities in ecological restoration of mangroves and achieving the sustainable use of their ecosystem services, long-term ecosystem conservation could be achieved," says Karla Evangelista, a biologist with UNES.
The event takes place in one of El Salvador's iconic wetlands. Located in the department of Ahuachapán, between the municipalities of Jujutla, San Francisco Menéndez and the municipality of Acajutla, in the department of Sonsonate, is Barra de Santiago, a site declared wetland of international importance by the Ramsar Convention, since 2014.
Its 11,519-hectare mangrove forest is home to about 75% of the coastal fauna species of commercial importance to El Salvador and is part of the so-called North Pacific mangroves of Central America, characterized by abundant rainfall and the continuity of brackish and sweet marshes.
According to 2013 MARN data, El Salvador has lost 60% of its mangrove forest cover since 1950, rising from 100,000 to about 40,000 hectares today.
Prior to the event, UNES and local leaders of the Metalío Socioenvironmental Committee, accompanied by Mexican specialists, carried out a diagnosis to determine the ecological restoration actions that could be carried out in the mangroves of the municipality of Acajutla. This activity is part of a project for the restoration of coastal-marine ecosystems, financed by FIAES. The Regional Coastal Biodiversity Project is also being implemented in the area. The event is also attended by technicians from Guatemalan organizations and biology students from the University of El Salvador.