Hello Steemian Friends,

Hope you are all well and having a good day so far! It's another Wednesday so that means another Wild Wednesday's post written by Becca today! Yay! If you have been reading our Wild Wednesday's blog posts over the last few weeks you will know that I (Becca) am writing about my time spent in Madagascar volunteering with ReefDoctor. I am going to carry on with that and tell you a bit more about each of the different marine conservation, education and research projects I got involved in.

In last week's post I finished off by saying that we had had a volunteer induction/introduction meeting and were briefed on what we would be doing over the next few days. After that meeting we all had dinner and it gave us new volunteers to meet and chat with the other volunteers as well as the staff members, as we all ate together in the "dining room". We were told that the next day we would be helping another marine conservation organisation, also based in the Bay of Ranobe, who focus more on mangroves and communities. In fact, this organisation was founded by two former ReefDoctor volunteers in 2007, which they named "Honko Mangrove Conservation and Education".

Becca with her mangrove sapling ready to plant

Honko worked in partnership with local coastal communities to develop sustainable methods of preserving and managing mangroves, and had a close working partnership with ReefDoctor. One of the many projects that ReefDoctor assisted Honko with was with mass mangrove re-plantation events.

Early in the morning, roughly just as the sun was rising, the project coordinator that met us at the airport was waiting for us all to jump onto the ReefDoctor speed boat to get on our way to Honko. He had Malagasy breakfast donuts (deep fried sweet dough balls) ready for us to eat on the way, I was not a huge fan of them, they were too sweet and too sickly for me, but good to try. As we were arriving at the spot where Honko had told us to go we received a brief story of how important mangrove ecosystems are not only for coastal environments but also for our atmosphere.

The sun is rising on our way to help Honko replant mangroves

Us on our way in the boat

For anyone that is not familiar with mangroves, I will talk a little bit here about them to keep you in the loop and stay informed. They are very interesting in my opinion. Mangroves are intertidal coastal forests which are very productive and are a biologically complex ecosystem. They act as important nursery and feeding habitats for a wide range of species, such as reef fish, shellfish, birds and turtles, while their root systems provide shelter. The mangrove ecosystem can stabilise coastlines and plays a very important role in preventing coastal erosion. Did you know that mangroves effectively remove Carbon Monoxide from the atmosphere, storing it in their soils, which in turn reduces the impacts of global climate change? In southwest Madagascar the mangroves are under threat from over-exploitation, due to the demand for wood as well as over-fishing. This affects the livelihoods of the local communities greatly, some without even knowing the impacts.

The saplings are in little black bags in mud. We have to wet the mud and ease out the little sapling

Then you dig a hole where you intend to plant it and then place the sapling in it, covering the roots with mud.

Everyone from the village came out to help with the mangrove re-plantation

From the energetic little posers...

...to the fragile older yet strong people!

Working working working, hard work, but it was good to be working alongside the local communities, helping them to secure a more sustainable future

This is where the mangrove forest was, hopefully we helped bring it back to life and re-stabilise the whole coastal ecosystems in the Bay of Ranobe

Since then, since my time there in 2010, ReefDoctor has taken over the management of all of Honko projects and activities in the region to form the "ReefDoctor Honko Project".

I hope you have enjoyed reading this today, maybe you have learnt something new!

Stay Classy Steemians!

Wild Wednesday’s is a post written by the @travelling-two every Wednesday to inform their followers and readers about nature and conservation.

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