Community-based ecological coastal rehabilitation using an ecosystem approach
To rehabilitate fragmented wetlands to improve their functions; e.g. enhanced absorption and filtration of sediments coming from badly-eroded degraded hills, thus protecting seagrass beds and coral reef in the Curieuse marine park.
Specific Objectives of Project:
Objective 1: To prepare Rehabilitation and Management plans for the marsh, mangrove, degraded shrubland and barren hill above the wetlands based on scientific data.
Objective 2: To rehabilitate and manage the wetlands and foothills at Pasquière (based on the above plans) to enhance ecosystem and enable development of sustainable activities, e.g. ecotourism, education and research.
Objective 3: To enhance understanding on the importance of ecological rehabilitation.
Objective 4: To train and enhance restoration skills and knowledge amongst local communities and participating organizations.
Praslin Island has been subject to numerous threats on its ecosystem including the loss of wetlands and soil erosion on degraded hills leading to sedimentation of critical wetlands downstream, and the encroachment of these wetlands by invasive alien plant species, which reduces the ability of these wetlands to provide important ecosystem services. The island has also suffered numerous forest fires which in the absence of rehabilitation, these burnt forests have been subjected to severe degradation and red sediment-laden water is a common sight during rainfall events. Sediments are deposited into the wetlands or directly into the sea where they have other impacts such as reducing the water storage capacity, deposition of sediments into raised land, which facilitate encroachment by invasive alien species, silt deposition onto seagrasses and coral reefs that stresses these habitat-types. To date 40% of Praslin is degraded and 90% of lowland wetlands in the Seychelles have been lost, making lowland wetlands the most threatened and critical habitats.
This project seeks to address the degradation of critical coastal habitats at Pasquière adjacent to and within the Curieuse Marine National Park. It aims to prevent the loss of wetlands by enhancing vegetation cover on degraded foothills upstream of the wetlands, remove invasive plant species encroaching the wetlands and replant with appropriate native species, reduce soil erosion from the land into the marine park, and enhancing the overall biodiversity and functioning of the ecosystems. A ridge to reef, landscape level approach is taken to address the impacts of soil erosion and associated stressors (invasive alien species encroachment) onto important ecosystems. There is a need to rehabilitate the degraded foothills using anti-erosion measures to reduce erosion, bioengineering techniques and replanting to stabilize the slopes, removal of invasive alien plants and replacement with appropriate wetland/coastal species, profiling of channels to enhance hydrological flows and a general improvement of the wetland to enhance its biodiversity and sustainable use e.g. eco-tourism. The rehabilitation and management of degraded but critical coastal habitats will be done by working together with communities, organizations and local government to encourage and ensure local community participation in rehabilitation efforts during and beyond the project. The project will provide training to interested participants and will equip participants with the skills on rehabilitation techniques and monitoring which are needed to contribute to the implementation of activities during and beyond the project lifespan. The project will valorize and demonstrate the use of landscape-level, Ecosystem-based approaches to ecological coastal rehabilitation, to guide replication in other areas.