Thursday, June 12, 2008

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Manzanar Mangrove Project

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Along 15 per cent of Eritrea's coast there are stretches of green that contrast with the arid environment surrounding them. They are mangroves'stands of salt tolerant trees and plants that can get their water from the sea. Dr. Gordon Sato, a retired molecular biologist, wondered why they occur only intermittently rather than along the entire coast. He discovered that streams flowing into the Red Sea during seasonal rains provide nutrients that the mangroves need to grow. He devised a simple means of delivering these missing nutrients, allowing mangroves to be grown on otherwise barren shoreline.

These mangroves flourish with low cost applications of fertilizer. The 2001 and 2007 images (above) of the coast near Hagigo, Eritrea, show how quickly the seedlings are growing into stands of mangrove trees (yellow arrows). The mangrove's leaves provide fodder for sheep, which in turn are a source of food for the Eritrean population.

The so-called Manzanar Project aims to develop self-sufficiency in Eritrea, village by village. Coupled with aquaculture, the mangroves provide both a land- and sea- based economy that might eventually be developed for the specialty seafood export market.
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1 comment:

Dave said...