Mangrove Gene Bank initiated in 2015
Mangroves are the unique plant communities growing in the intertidal zones of estuarine and coastal areas in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Mangrove ecosystems are an important coastal blue carbon ecosystem, and provide many services to their local environment such as protection from storm surges, erosion prevention, nutrient cycling, and habitat restoration for many marine and estuarine species and also food security for coastal communities. Mangrove ecosystems store huge amounts of carbon and play a key role for climate change mitigation.
This is why Worldview established the first mangrove gene bank in collaboration with Pathein University’s Marine Research Centre, so that we may protect and study these species. The gene bank is now in full operation, managed by Professor Dr. San Tha Tun, with the help of PhD candidate Htoo Lwin Aung and professor Dr. Aung Htay from Pathein University.
The diversity in mangrove systems is categorized as regional diversity, ecosystem diversity, species diversity and genetic diversity (Deshmukh & Balaji, 1994). Diversity of mangrove species from different coastal regions of Myanmar have been raised in the nursery, and transplanted to the gene bank area at Shwe Thaung Yan. This project was implemented within the Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park located in Shwe Thaung Yan, Ayeyarwady Region, Myanmar.
We have 53 species listed in the gene bank and adjacent area and plan to collect around 15 more species that were absent in Shwe Thaung Yan. The Gene Bank has already propagated 3 species in The IUCN Red List: Bruguiera hainesii (Critically Endangered), Heritiera fomes (Endangered), Snonneratia griffithii (Critically Endangered) as well as one more near threatened species, Phoenix paludosa (palm). During the last 3 years, we have planted over 20,000 B. hainesii. In addition, we have taken care of several thousand palms in Shwe Thaung Yan, growing naturally in this region. Rescuing endangered species is an important priority of the Gene Bank, in addition to hosting most of the world’s true mangrove species and associates for scientific purposes. In addition, the gene bank is also studying the use of mangrove fruits and edible ferns for food security.