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To create mangrove buffer zone in order to protect the coastal embankment from river banks
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The mangrove forests of the tropical coasts are among the most important and productive ecosystems on the earth. They play an important role in stabilizing the world’s climate by high carbon storing capacity (mangrove store 4-5 time more carbon that terrestrial species) mangrove ecosystems have important ecological, economic, and social values for coastal communities in order to climate change adaptation and mitigation. Mangrove protect the coastal population from tropical cyclones, food and erosion. But in recent decades, these productive ecosystems have come under severe pressure. Since 1980 mangrove forest cover has decreased by 20 percent worldwide. The Sundarbans, the single largest mangrove forest in the world, located in the southwestern part of Bangladesh. With its array of trees and wildlife the forest is a showpiece of natural history. It is also a center of economic activities for the coastal community. Honey, fish-crab, nipa palm are the main resources of the Sundarbans that people collect for their livelihoods.
Once there were plenty of mangroves in the periphery of Sundarbans that created a buffer zone which was beneficial for coastal protection as well as for habitat of the wild animals and birds. But that buffer zone is no longer existed due to random cutting of mangroves for agricultural land extension, shrimp cultivation, household making, collecting fuel wood and free grazing of livestock. Apart from this, coastal people are also disturbing the mangrove regeneration process by destroying the seedlings; seeds while catching shrimp fry as well as collecting seeds for cooking fuel. So, the mangrove ecosystem in Bangladesh have come under severe pressure due to climatic and anthropogenic reasons. Due to the lack of mangrove protection, tropical cyclones sweep across the Sundarbans, which are claiming many lives, destroying houses, damages agricultural crops and lands.
In that regards BEDS is trying to restore the mangrove through plantation and regeneration together with the coastal communities. Together with coastal community BEDS regularly planting mangroves in the coastal belt to create a mangrove buffer zone in the coast in order to strengthen the embankment and creating alternative mangrove-based livelihoods for the coastal people. Beside that BEDS is also providing support to the coastal people to raise mangrove nursery and preparing a market chain to sell the mangrove seedlings among the Government and Non-government organizations for mangrove restoration work. Goal of the project is to protect the coastal communities from the natural disasters and increase the mangrove coverage in the Sundarbans region in terms of climate change adaptation and mitigation. The main objectives of our CBEMR are as follows;
Ø To create mangrove buffer zone in order to protect the coastal embankment from river bank erosion.
Ø To protect the coastal life and livelihoods from the natural disasters
Ø To engage people with mangrove ecosystem conservation by improving their mangrove based livelihoods
Ø To stabilize the mangrove ecosystem by increasing mangrove coverage
Ø To reduce carbon emission from the environment
According to our field experience we follow the nine steps for our Community Based Ecological Mangrove Restoration (CBEMR) work.
Suitable location is the pre-condition for doing any mangrove restoration. So, we select the suitable mangrove plantation site by observing present vegetation as well as collect the information of the previous vegetation etc. The following condition should be consider for mangrove plantation. Regular water inundation; brackish water; humid climate; soil with a mixture of mud and gravel sediments. We also try to avoid sandy soil or sandy sediments. According to our previous experience the river bank side, aquaculture farms are the most suitable place for mangrove restoration.
Step-2: To ensure the long term sustainability of a successful mangrove restoration we have to ensure the active participation of the local people. We believe that any kind of conservation initiatives becomes successful and sustainable when local communities are on board; fully understand the value of their participation and long term benefits. For involving the local people usually, we do the following activities;
Step-3: Land confirmation and preparation:
Most the land owner of our mangrove restoration work is local people and Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB), Bangladesh Forest Department, District Administration under the Ministry of Land, Government of Bangladesh. So, before planting mangrove we do some paper work together with the local people. Usually, we make an agreement with the local people by getting the permission from the local government, local administration and political leader. We already did this work for the proposed plantation site. During the land preparation we have to remove the weeds, invasive species, debris and wastages as well as to avoid water logging for long time
Step-4: Fencing of the plantation site is necessary to protect the mangroves by the grazing of cattle and human interpretation.
Step-5: Right species for right position is the key condition of success plantation. So, we select the species based on our collected information during the site selection i.e soil and water condition, present vegetation, mangrove plantation plan together with local people. We also highly consider the indigenous knowledge of the local people and technical person suggestion. We highly consider the short term productive mangrove species such as Sonneratia apetala; Nypa fruticans etc. for mangrove based livelihoods promotion and coastal protection. We mainly choose the following species; Nypa fruticans; Avicennia officinalis; Sonneratia apetala; Sonneratia caseolaris; Bruguiera gymnorhiza; Xylocarpus mekongensis
To reduce the mortality of the plantation we should ensure the good quality of the saplings. So, usually we plant the nursery raised seedlings. Highly consider the mode of transportation from nursery to plantation site.
During the plantation our local volunteers and BEDS team members motivated the villagers regarding the plantation such as where; how etc.
Community based monitoring plays an important role for the long-term result of mangrove plantation. Usually, we keep the following record by the local people during our monitoring such as number of alive mangrove, number of death mangrove, height and leaf number. We also try to find out the negative issue/death cause and take necessary action (replant) to resolve it. Beside this, we ensure the guarding and nursing of the plant at least three years after the plantation.
Beside this mangrove restoration we develop the skill of the villagers on mangrove based livelihoods and support them to produce the non-timber forest products and marketing.
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