By: Chase L. `17 & Matthew H. `18
Today we participated in the mangrove reforestation project on the Central Pacific Coast. Out of the fifty two species of mangrove trees in the world, seven of them are found in Costa Rica. The point of the reforestation project in this area is to preserve the land from erosion, while creating a natural barrier and an ecosystem for animals that live in Costa Rica. In the past locals removed important mangrove trees so they could put in new hotels or buildings on the beachfront. However, they discovered how the landmass of the island began to decrease. We saw examples of water eroding the island and what happens without the mangroves planted. It is so important to plant mangroves to preserve and build up the eroding land, to provide a crucial ecosystem for a large variety of animals living in the area (we saw 32 species of birds in two hours), and to hold the land in place during hurricanes or other storms.
After understanding the problem of mangrove deforestation, we went to work to replant these important trees. First we took propagules from mature trees and carefully planted them in the nursery. Later we planted young trees along the riverbank.
What I learned from attending the mangrove reforestation project was not only the importance of these trees to Costa Rica, but also that the environment is all connected, and by cutting down a tree like the mangroves, it has a greater impact on the entire ecosystem and animals that depend on it. The mangrove reforestation project is a good example of identifying a local problem and finding a way to solve it. Having seen this type of problem solving work, makes me look forward to sharing my experiences at the Global Student Leaders Summit.