Communicating climate change and biodiversity in coastal areas: A community-based adaptation strategy

R.Z. Guzman, R.V. Ramilo and F.B. Samiano
Philippine Federation for Environmental Concern, Philippines

This paper is a component of a community-based climate change adaptation project that reviews current coastal policies and legislation and identify their weaknesses in addressing impacts of climate change, assess vulnerable areas that are suitable for demonstration of appropriate bio-physical adaptation measures designed to safeguard infrastructures and biodiversity as well as to enhance disaster management at the local level. Climate Change (CC) communication enables the local people to increase knowledge and understanding on climate change and its relations on their day to day activities and long term survival. It emphasizes the urgent need to act in response to the risks of CC-related events by all sectors of society and that small initiatives to address CC can contribute in very significant ways to the bigger picture.

The case study was conducted in two municipalities in the provinces of Sorsogon and Masbate, Philippines. Three major communication strategies were tested in this study, namely: (1) Theatre Play – which was designed to allow the community to feel the effects of climate change in their daily living and when supplemented with training will result to a deeper understanding of CC and may lead them to become CC advocates; (2) Local Climate Change Video – this was designed to  let the community see the effects of CC in their locality thereby developing a deeper understanding of its causes, effects and impacts and at the same time propel them to generate appropriate solutions and remedies to CC problems and issues. From the community at large, it was expected that the video strategy will open avenues to pick potential local resource persons who can be trained to become effective CC advocates; and (3) Film Showing and Game Show – the expected result of this strategy was to initiate the community to start talking about climate change and thus disseminate CC widely within the sphere of influence and reach of the community. Another projected result would be the assimilation of the basic understanding of CC by the community which is primordial in communicating CC.

Results indicated that after the theatre play where the selected members of the community themselves actually played their respective roles,  and the subsequent social interactions thereafter, it became very clear to the community what they can actually do, such as putting a strict halt to all illegal activities that contribute to CC and to start working together as a community. The active participation of the community as main stage actors/actresses made them feel the effects of CC. It has drawn them to mobilize actions as reflected in the turn-out of trainees in the succeeding training on mangrove protection and rehabilitation and have demonstrated interest, attention and participation in planning workshops on CC adaptation and mitigation. It has also attracted participation of two other neighboring barangays. What was evident from them was their realization of the importance of collective efforts and working as a community in addressing CC. A film documentation of the theatre plays generated by the communities has attracted the attention of various sectors of society especially of neighboring municipalities in both provinces and form part of this paper.

In the second strategy where prominent citizens from the community detailed their experiences on CC and the overwhelming changes that occurred through the years in their province as a result of CC, captured through video technology, the community realized the changes that have been happening in their area and the gravity of the present situation thus moving them to action. The credibility of the documentation was significantly high since the messages were shared by people whom they know and respect. Members of the community which included a cross-section of the society (local government, business, civil, academe, religious, etc.) who contributed to the documentation process especially the sharers were transformed into prominent CC advocates, leaders and resource persons in the community. Many of them have in fact, volunteered to become the chairman, vice chairman, officers and members of the marine sanctuary management team.

This clearly shows that community efforts and working together is the key to address CC. Two video documentation for the two case communities form part of this paper.

In the third strategy where the community was asked to translate the messages of the film into actions, the people were enabled to broaden their knowledge as they started talking about CC. The discussions provided them the ability and opportunity to distinguish problems and issues prevailing in their respective areas. This has resulted to the possibility of prescribing and recommending local knowledge and skills for CC mitigation and adaptation following the realization that unscrupulous human activities evidently cause CC.

The strategies employed some significant gains in terms of the people’s knowledge on climate change and biodiversity, realization of the causes and effects of changes in their environment, and mobilizing actions towards solving environmental problems. Of utmost significance is the learning of the value of working together as a community to reduce their vulnerability and minimize the devastating effects of climate change on their lives.

Economics of Utilization of Fly Ash Originating From the Coal Power Plant, Norochcholai

B.R. Jayasekara and U.A.D.P. Gunawardena
Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura , Sri Lanka

A new type of a solid waste which is known as fly ash will be available in Sri Lanka at the end of year 2010 due to operations of the Coal power plant, Norochcholai. Fly ash is a superfine, powdery byproduct which is carried away from the power plant boiler in the flue gas during coal combustion. It is expected to generate 70,000 tons of fly ash annually from the coal power plant. The objective of the study was to investigate the potential for effective utilization of fly ash originated from the Coal power plant while minimizing the environmental and social impacts.

The methodology of the study involved three surveys; an expert opinion survey to identify environmental impacts of fly ash and potential utilization opportunities of fly ash; an industrial survey to investigate willingness of industries to utilize fly ash and a contingent valuation survey to estimate the potential damage cost to the surrounding communities. In order to find out the best uses of fly ash financial and economic analysis were carried out for each and every industry that have the potential to use fly ash.

The expert opinion survey indicated that only the fine portion of fly ash (20%) is usable for cement production and the rest could be used for industries such as ready mix concrete, asbestos cement sheets, dam and road construction and cement based products such as light weight concrete blocks, clay-fly ash bricks, etc. The main impacts of land filling of fly ash include contamination of soils and water especially due to highly alkaline leachate.

The financial analysis of fly ash utilization indicates that asbestos cement industry receives highest financial benefit while the lowest were received by cement industries. However the highest economic benefit of fly ash utilization is gained by cement production which is Rs 13,330.35 per ton. Total cost of land filling of fly ash (per ton) is estimated as Rs 228,721.72 and therefore the full utilization of fly ash is very important while avoiding land filling.

In conclusion, the best practice to handle fly ash originating from the coal power plant is to utilize the ash in order gain the highest economic benefits to the country. This is very important because the fly ash storage capacities in the power plant are only enough for two days.

Relative importance of salinity regimes and neighbor competition on vegetation dynamics in Sundarbans mangrove forest, Bangladesh: An individual-based model approach

M. N. I. Khan and U. Berger
Department of Forest Biometry and Systems Analysis, Institute of Forest Growth and Computer Sciences, Technical University Dresden, Germany

Along with the global depletion of mangrove ecosystems due to over-exploitation and other anthropogenic activities, sea level rise due to climate change may exert a potential impact to the salinity regimes in mangrove ecosystems. Sundarbans mangrove forest in Bangladesh shows distinctive vegetation composition in three salinity zones, e.g., fresh water, oligohaline and polyhaline zones, as the forest partially receives upland fresh water flow by the Ganges. Information on mangrove succession and the ecological processes behind it is still little known because of absence of long term monitoring data in this regard. Nevertheless, such information is important in understanding ecosystem processes and in analyzing forest planning and management options.

In this study, we evaluated the impact of different salinity regimes and inter-and-intra- specific competition on vegetation composition in Sundarbans and analysed the results in the light of succession, based mainly on simulated data and empirical data as well. For the purpose of simulation experiments, the KiWi mangrove model was parameterized in this study to a South Asian as well as tropical mangrove forest (Sundarbans) for the first time and it was found suitable to extract information on vegetation dynamics. The most dominant four mangrove species (Heritiera fomes Buch.-Ham.; Excoecaria agallocha L.; Ceriops decandra (Griff.) Ding Hou; Sonneratia apetala Buch.-Ham) were taken into account for this study. We used the simulation model to understand how species-dependent growth rate, salt tolerance and shade tolerance lead to the observed patterns in horizontal and vertical forest structure in Sundarbans. Our study will enrich scientific knowledge on mangrove structure and dynamics, which in turn will help building the adaptation measures to mitigate the adverse impacts posed by sea level rise to Sundarbans.

Key words: KiWi model, mangrove succession, simulation experiment, slat tolerance, shade tolerance

Restoration of sand dune vegetations after the Tsunami in Cuddalore, SouthEast coast of India

M. S. Muthukumarasamy and K.D. Kaliyaperumal
Faculty of Marine Science, Annamalai University, India

Sand dune plants or psammophytes include creepers like beach morning glory (Ipomea pescaprae) and sand spinifex (Spinifex littoreus). These vegetations serve as binding agents to form sand dunes which in turn act as a shelter for some marine animals during the breeding season. The sea turtles lay eggs in such sand dunes.  Moreover, the sand dunes also protect the coast from the waves by lessening the force of the oncoming waves.

These plants are threatened due to the construction of roads, formations of groynes and conversion of the coast into a tourist destination.  This occurs at Cuddalore, Silver Beach also.  A preliminary restoration work was under taken during the post-tsunami period and sand dune vegetation has been successfully restored in a few places on the Silver Beach of Cuddalore.  Propagation of I. pescaprae was done by plucking a portion of the creeper and planting it in pits dug at a depth of 30 to 40 cm. Three places were selected for restoration with 6m x 6m.  The planting of creepers were performed at an interval of 2m distance each in 6 pits.  The growth rate of the creepers was found to be 60 cm in length within two months.  The overall survival was 80%.  The plants were nurtured without any fertilizers except watering once in a week.  Fencing was made to protect the study area. Ideal season for the culture of Ipomea pescarprae in the sand dune area is the northeast monsoon period.

Key words: sand dune vegetation, Tsunami, coastal ecosystem