Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association

Course Manual – The First International Training Course on Mangrove Ecosystems in the Western Indian Ocean Region

Course Manual – The First International Training Course on Mangrove Ecosystems in the Western Indian Ocean Region

Mangroves are extraordinary ecosystems, located at the interface of land and sea, that offer a considerable array of ecosystem goods and services. They are vital for food security and protection of coastal communities; they provide a wide diversity of forest products, nurseries for aquatic species, fishing grounds, carbon sequestration, and crucial natural coastal defences that mitigate the impact of erosion and storm action. Despite their value, nearly all mangrove nations have experienced net losses in cover in recent decades, and remaining mangrove habitats are seldom pristine. About one fifth are thought to have been lost globally since 1980 due to a suite of anthropogenic threats.

The establishment of this course is particularly timely since capacity building has been identified by WMN as a major need within the region. Additionally, the location of the course in Gazi Bay is especially suitable since mangroves in the area form broad and diverse forests which are heavily relied upon by local people, are the basis for ecotourism activities, form part of an interconnected coastal ecosystem 10 that includes seagrasses and coral reefs, and have been well-studied. Therefore, this location affords an excellent opportunity for students to observe and engage with the many issues pertinent to mangrove ecology and management which they will learn about in lessons and group discussions.

This manual is a reference document for students. It intends to provide relevant information on the topics discussed and should be used by the trainee for review after the close of the training course. It also allows the trainee to concentrate on and partake in the training during the training sessions instead of taking detailed notes. Finally, it can serve as a reference document for the trainee in their work place and future endeavours.

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