MANGROVE HABITATS OF AMBERGRIS CAYE
Coral reefs take credit for the beauty and existence of cayes such as Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, Caye Chapel, and really, every other caye that dots these turquoise blue waters.
But the reality is without the mangroves we wouldn't have these beautiful cayes, as the reef and mangrove worked together to create this tropical paradise. The reef is so well protected, but the mangrove is somewhat overlooked and we need them now more than ever.
The mangrove are so much more than just trees. They are a line of defense against storms. They are roosting grounds for native and migratory birds. The roots are a nursery for reef and flats fish, hunting ground for predators, and safe haven for prey. A mangrove forest stores huge amounts of carbon removed from the atmosphere, filters water, and holds the coastline together.
Mangroves are one of the biggest contributors to biodiversity in this ecosystem, and losing them will affect what we see on land, in the air, and in the water - including life on the reef.
THREATS TO THE MANGROVE
There are numerous threats to the mangrove including climate change and rising sea levels. Given the adaptability of mangroves however, those threats pale in comparison to development which is the number one threat to mangroves, particularly those on Ambergris Caye.
As we run out of solid land to build on within close proximity to San Pedro Town, mangrove wetlands are being destroyed and filled with mostly garbage to create "reclaimed land" which is then built on. Sadly, in the last 20 years, thousands of acres of biodiverse mangrove forest have been destroyed, and thousands more are earmarked for destruction.
Lack of environmental law enforcement and unregulated development will be the death of a vibrant ecosystem on Ambergris Caye, and along with it any real semblance of an economy.
ECI AND ACES PARTNERSHIP
ECI Development takes great pride in its culture of corporate social responsibility. By forming partnerships that work hand in hand with community members, ECI has been able to witness incredible growth in individuals, organizations and communities at large.
The company also believes in responsible development - beyond crossing the t’s and dotting its i’s at the technical level. The value of a project is in what it protects, cares for, and brings to the overall landscape. As such, ECI and its sister company Teak Hardwoods are pleased to be partnered with Aces Wildlife Rescue. For every parcel of teak purchased, a portion of the sale proceeds will be gifted to this important wildlife sanctuary.
Aces primarily focuses on education and wildlife rescue, but has recently undertaken the herculean task of replanting valuable mangroves on the coast. These hardy plants survive saltwater and prevent erosion, while housing nurseries to a ton of marine wildlife. Sadly, they are often the first to be cleared in vast quantities for further development. By eliminating these “rainforests” of the sea, entire ecosystems can be damaged, and its effects can be long-lasting.
ECI Development both admires and believes in the restoration of these magnificent mangroves, and is proud to partner with a passionate advocate like Aces in replanting and replacing these valuable trees.
SAVE OUR MANGROVES
Starting this year, we are embarking on an ongoing campaign to preserve the remaining mangroves on Ambergris Caye, and even create some new ones.
Through planting seeds in the wild, adopting out young plants, and growing mangrove nurseries in a controlled environment to be transplanted into the ecosystem once they've matured, we are hoping to help Mother Nature recover in a few select areas that are still struggling some years after nearby development.
Along side our reforestation projects, we are beginning an education campaign focused on mangroves using materials funded by ECI Development, including infographics roadside and in high traffic areas, materials for school visits, and the beginnings of a mangrove nursery on Aces property.