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Island Projects

 

 

This map highlights Seacology island community projects around the world as of 2016.

 

What do we do?  Seacology UK's primary aim is to raise money and build awareness in order to support island communities around the world to better protect their natural resources.

 

To that end, 100% of all Seacology UK donations go to supporting Seacology projects that help local island communities preserve their environments.  Since 2009, Seacology UK is proud to have directly supported the following island environmental projects:

PHILIPPINES, Barangay San Vicente, Municipality of Maribojoc, Bohol Island (2012) -- Construction of an 800 meter (875 yard) boardwalk in support of protection of 56.25 hectares (139 acres) of mangrove forest for 12 years

    

Signage at San Vicente's eco-tourism information center (left) will be re-vamped and the forest's existing bamboo walkway (right) will be reconstructed and extended, both with funding from Seacology; San Vicente, Maribojoc, Bohol Island, Philippines (2012).

Barangay San Vicente, in Maribojoc, Bohol, has a rich 56.25 hectare (139 acre) mangrove forest with 25 different species of mangrove trees as identified in a 1997 study conducted by Silliman University. The objective of the study, which was spurred by increasing complaints from local fisherfolk of declining catches, was to assess the mangrove's natural function as a fish nursery.

Upon learning that the increasing number of fish traps and indiscriminate cutting within the mangrove forest was adversely affecting the fish stocks of nearby traditional fishing grounds, the community decided to take steps to preserve it so that it will better serve as a nursery for various marine life. The village formed the San Vicente Mangrove Forest Association, and began a 25-year Community-based Forest Management Agreement from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in 1999. With the assistance of a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer and modest funds from the Department of Labor and Employment, the village was able to construct a 500 meter bamboo boardwalk and eco-tourism information center, which then became their alternative source of income, and crucial for the mangrove's protection and conservation.

Their "Mangrove Adventure Tour" achieved some success, attracting tourists from near and far over the years. Of late, however, the number of visitors has been decreasing, mainly because the boardwalk is becoming dilapidated and less attractive. To save their venture and consequently the mangrove forest itself, they need to renovate and improve their boardwalk using better and more durable materials than just bamboo.  In partnership with local NGO, PROCESS Bohol, Seacology is funding the reconstruction and extension of the boardwalk to 800 meters.  In exchange, the community has committed to protect their mangrove forest for at least another 12 years. Further project details and photos can be found here.


PANAMA, Kuna Yala Archipelago (2011) -- -- Waste disposal equipment for Carti islanders in return for implementation of comprehensive waste management regulations

 

The incredible beauty of Panama's Carti islands has attracted large amounts of tourism to the area, and along with it a major increase in garbage (2010). Photos courtesy of Lenin Riquelme

Kuna Yala is an autonomous territory or comarca in Panama, inhabited by the Kuna indigenous people. Kuna Yala is 924 square miles and has a population of 36,487 people (2004). About 36 of the comarca's 365 islands are inhabited by Kuna communities, with an additional 13 communities located on the mainland coast. Kuna Yala also houses a biosphere reserve, the Narganá Protected Area, which covers 386 square miles. Kuna Yala´s beaches are one of the least impacted and best protected nesting grounds for the critically-endangered Leatherback sea turtle. Carti is a group of island communities totalling about 1,000 residents located in the western side of the Kuna Yala Indigenous Territory. Relatively easy access to Carti and the incredible beauty of its white sand beaches are the main reasons that tourism has significantly increased. Tourism has brought a problem: a major increase in garbage.

Seacology is providing equipment for a comprehensive waste management and recycling system for the five island communities where the Kuna have installed homestay facilities. In exchange for the equipment, the Kuna Indigenous Congress along with the Carti community leadership will draft waste management regulations for the area, comprising more than 7,413 acres of marine, island and coastal habitat. It is expected that the improvised landfills and the pollution they bring will begin to disappear, helping secure the long-term survival of this mostly pristine natural environment and turning tourism into a more sustainable and less polluting economic activity. Further project details and photos can be found here.


PHILIPPINES, Barangay Canipo, Municipality of Magsaysay, Northeastern Palawan (2011) -- Construction of a multi-purpose building in support of the extension of a 37 acre Marine Protected Area for an additional 20 years

 

Left: Barangay Canipo's 37-acre Marine Protected Area (2010). Right: Seacology funded multi-purpose building under construction (2011). Photos courtesy of Ferdinad Marcelo.

Barangay Canipo, with a population of about 1,500, is an isolated island barangay (village) in the Municipality of Magsaysay, Palawan Province.

The Andres Soriano Foundation (ASF, with whom Seacology has partnered before in Barangays Manamoc and Rizal) has been assisting Canipo in protecting and conserving its natural resources. In 2005, the Barangay passed a resolution declaring a 15 hectare (37 acre) portion of its coastal area as a Marine Protected Area (MPA). Since the MPA's establishment, use of destructive fishing methods such as dynamite, sodium cyanide, and fine nets have dramatically declined, and consequently, marine life in the area is on the increase. Villagers who used to engage in dynamite fishing are now raising livestock in the hills of the island.

To strengthen community support for the MPA, the local fisherfolk organization regularly conducts Coastal Resource Management Seminars and alternative livelihood symposia for its members through the Barangay Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council. There is no sheltered place for these meetings to take place. The community needed a venue for its activities and requested Seacology's assistance for the construction of a multipurpose building in support of their commitment to protect the MPA. In return, they pledge to keep protecting the MPA for at least 20 years more. Further project details and photos can be found here.


KENYA, Funzi Island (2010) - Construction of a display facility/office for conservation and ecotourism programs in exchange for sea turtle conservation activities for a minimum duration of 10 years.

   

Left: Funzi Island, Kenya (January 2010). Right: Land to be purchased for the display banda, Funzi Island, Kenya (July 2010). Photos courtesy of Dishon Lionel Murage

Funzi Island is located off the Kenyan South Coast and has a population of about 1,500 inhabitants. The island plays host to an array of ecosystem types including undisturbed coastal wetlands, mangrove forests, swaying palms, sandy beaches, creeks, estuary and undisturbed lowland coastal mixed forests. Five sea turtle species - Leatherback, Loggerhead, Green, Hawksbill and Olive ridley turtle - are found foraging or nesting on and around the island. Poaching, habitat degradation, soil erosion, destructive fishing practices, incidental capture and development are threats to these sea turtles.

Working with the Kenya Sea Turtle Conservation Committee (KESCOM), Seacology is funding construction of a display facility which will also serve as an office for the Funzi Turtle Club's activities, as well as support for community based-sea turtle monitoring activities, nest protection and translocation, adoption of tagged nesting turtles and turtle release programs. The community work will also include income generating projects such as developing turtle souvenirs - earrings, doormats and turtle models - from flip flop sandals washed ashore.

Conservation activities will take place in a 15,073-acre area including both terrestrial and marine ecosystems, that serve as important feeding and nesting sites of the five locally-found species of turtles. Further project details and photos can be found here.


YAP, Qokaaw and Kadaay (2010) - Watershed rehabilitation, surveillance equipment and a project operation center in exchange for a 46-acre no-take pristine mangrove sanctuary in perpetuity.

   

Left: Men's house, Yap, Micronesia (June 2008). Right: View of mangroves, Yap, Micronesia (June 2008). Photos courtesy of Karen Peterson.

The scenic and culturally pristine villages of Qokaaw and Kadaay are located in Weloy municipality on the West coast of Yap, Federated States of Micronesia. These communities have already taken an active interest in conservation with the establishment of the 192-acre Nimpal Channel Marine Conservation Area (MCA).

The communities are aware that conserving mangrove areas around the Nimpal Channel MCA is key to reducing run-off and providing habitat for juvenile fishes. With this in mind, they are proposing to preserve a 46-acre area of pristine mangrove, adjacent to the MCA. This particular forest survived Typhoon Sudal and contains at least four of the main five genera of mangroves in Yap.

In exchange for setting aside the Qokaaw and Kadaay Mangrove Reserve in perpetuity, Seacology is funding rehabilitation of some areas of the watershed that have become choked with fallen logs and branches; improvement of surveillance of the Nimpal Channel and mangrove reserve areas, including repairs to an existing surveillance platform, construction of a new one and purchase of a kayak to support surveillance efforts in the reserves; and construction of a project operation and storage center on the shore adjacent to the two reserves.

The villages of Qokaaw and Kadaay are steeped in tradition and this project is seen as having important cultural and social benefits for communities who have taken unilateral steps to protect their natural heritage. Further project details and photos can be found here.


VANUATU, Abwatuntora, Pentecost Island (2009) -- Construction of a Nakamal (Chiefs' Meeting House) in exchange for the extension of an established 185-acre marine reserve as no-take for an additional minimum duration of 10 years

 

 

The Province of Penama consists of three islands: Pentecost, Ambae, and Maewo, located north of the Vanuatu group. Pentecost is known for one of the most remarkable customs in all of Melanesia, the Naghol, where men make spectacular leaps of courage from high towers built from tree trunks as a gift to the gods to ensure a bountiful yam harvest. The island is the most populated in the Northern Province; however, the people continue to preserve their traditional way of life, where survival depends on subsistence farming and traditional fishing.

Towards the northern tip of Pentecost Island is Abwatuntora, one of the biggest communities in the area under the leadership of paramount chief Edward Rau. In 1999 Chief Rau led efforts by the community to preserve a portion of their coastal fishing ground covering approximately 185 acres as a no-take marine reserve for a period of 10 years. The marine reserve has been respectfully observed to the present day though there is no recognition from the government to support such an initiative. Abwatuntora has a population of over 300, mostly adults who have a strong respect for its chiefly systems.

The community's traditional meeting house, known as the Nakamal, is in need of replacement. Seacology will fund the construction of a new meeting house as well as a water tank in exchange for the community extending the marine reserve for another 10 years. Updates and photos can be found here.

 


PHILIPPINES, Palaui Island (2009) -- Solar-Powered Multi-Purpose Hall in Support of 5370 acre Watershed Forest

   

Left: Construction of community building, Palaui Island, Philippines (July 2009). Right: View of the forest reserve from the sea, Palaui Island, Philippines (July 2008).

Palaui Island is located off the northeastern tip of Luzon. The residents are subsistence farmers and fishers due to limited land available for cultivation. Because of the island's isolation, rich natural resources and the presence of a resource-dependent population, Palaui faces both livelihood and resource protection issues. Palaui is legally protected under the National Integrated Protected Area System Act, passed by Congress in 1992. However, illegal logging and "slash and burn" farming occasionally occur because of the lack of agricultural land, decreasing productivity of the soil and increasing the need to produce food crops for the local population.

A community space was needed so that the people could gather, receive and conduct trainings, and carry out livelihood activities. Such a structure had been constructed by the Department of Environment and National Resources (DENR) for the island community in late 1993, but it has not been maintained over the years, and was unusable. In exchange for Seacology funding the renovation of their multi-purpose hall, the Palaui Island community pledges to protect their 5,370-acre forests over the next 20 years. Further project details and photos can be found here.


PHILIPPINES, Mindanao Island (2009) -- Micro-Hydro Power Generator and Fruit Tree Nursery in Support of 744 acres of Watershed Forest

   

Left: Micro-hydro power house, Barangay Old Bulatukan, Municipality of Malasila, North Cotabato, Mindanao Island, Philippines (August 2009). Right: View of the watershed near Barangay Old Bulatukan, Mindanao Island, Philippines (July 2008).

Sitio Malumpini of Barangay Old Bulatukan, composed of about 65 Manobo households, is one of the isolated upland communities of Mt. Apo, the tallest mountain in the Philippines at an elevation of over 10,000 feet. The whole of Mt. Apo is already a protected area by virtue of a 1936 edict, but very little enforcement has taken place. The area has some of the highest land-based biological diversity in the Philippines, and is home to many threatened and endangered plant and animal species, including the critically endangered Philippines eagle (monkey-eating eagle). The community relies on kerosene for lighting and fuel wood for cooking. Seacology funded a micro-hydro power and a fruit tree nursery in support of their efforts to protect 744 acres of forest land within their ancestral domain for 30 years.

The project will be administered by YAMOG, a partner organization of Green Empowerment. The fruit tree nursery, to grow highly marketable mangosteens and lanzones, will be planted on existing arable land away from the protected area. YAMOG will also provide technical assistance with the planting, growing and marketing of the crops. Further project details and photos can be found here.