MANG: managing coastal wetlands

22 February 2013 | Article

In Europe overseas, coastal wetlands are particularly fragile and threatened. These diverse ecosystems (mangroves, ponds and lagoons) provide numerous ecosystem services: nesting sites for shellfish and fish next to the coral reef, buffer zones for land pollution depuration, protection of coasts against hurricanes, carbon sinks, etc.  

These wetlands create international networks which are essential as migration stops, reproduction and feeding for birds. However, these areas are not very popular with people (for diseases, insects). They are little known and often poorly kept (litter, backfill).

The conservation of these areas has recently strengthened and this has lead to increasing management problems which leave actors unprepared: ponds salinity levels, possible climate change impacts, how to define the management and conservation objectives and under which governance, are some of the unresolved questions.

The Atelier Technique des Espaces Naturels (ATEN) with the Conservatoire du Littoral are making efforts to foster collective action for the preservation of coastal wetlands in Europe’s overseas. The project MANG (mangrove in Creole) will include four activities:

  1. Development of a diagnostic method which can be reused in other areas and dissemination of such method among conservation actors;
  2. Definition of a participative methodology for identifying management approaches for wetlands;
  3. Dissemination and adoption of these methodologies among wetlands overseas management actors;
  4. Awareness raising of wetlands importance among a wide public.

The project, with a duration of 36 months, is targeted to actors in European wetlands in the Americas and the Indian Ocean. It will start in eight pilot sites and will aim to include all overseas entities in the future.

The Atelier Technique des Espaces Naturels (ATEN) aims to establish networks and build capacity among management actors and coordinates the programme TEMEUM on guards capacity building.

The Conservatoire du Littoral is a key actor in overseas wetlands and mangroves management. It manages a network of 20,000 hectares of wetlands on the French coasts of America and Indian Ocean of which six are recognized as Ramsar sites. This network is linked to local management network from which the project MANG will benefit.

Contact : emmanuel.thevenin@aten.espaces-naturels.fr et m.cerles@conservatoire-du-littoral.fr