Mangrove Education & Manatee Reintroductions

Brazil comes second in the world for mangrove area cover

Manguezal do Rio Mamucaba, Apa Costa dos Corais ©Thiago Hara

Brazil contains more than 14,000 km2 of mangroves, spreading along almost the entire coast. It is home to several species of economic importance, ensuring food security for many fishing communities, especially in the northeast of Brazil, where 80% of fishing still uses traditional techniques. It is also home to species that are in danger of extinction, such as the marine manatee, which has had its original distribution from Espírito Santo, south eastern Brazil, to Maranhão, cut.

Today the manatees distribution range has been radically restricted, through development, to Alagoas and Maranhão.

Manatee (Trichechus manatus) Tatuamunha River, environmental Protection area Costa dos Corais (AL) ©Clemente Coelho Junior

To ensure the protection of Brazilian mangroves, the BiomaBrasil Institute signed in 2006 a partnership with the Mangrove Action Project (MAP), in a project to train public school teachers, using educational material that is highly contextualized and adapted to the Brazilian species and ecology.

Visit of the Education Director, Martin Keeley and Elaine Corets (MAP) to Ilha do Cardoso (SP) to implement the 'Marvellous Mangroves' (MM) project in Brazil. ©Renato de Almeida
©Clemente Coelho Junior

Teachers Clemente Coelho Junior and Renato de Almeida then took the education program along the Brazilian coast, from Cananéia, on the south coast of São Paulo, to Pernambuco, northeast of Brazil.

In total, more than 600 teachers have been trained and 12,000 students were involved in educational projects focused on mangrove conservation and associated coastal and marine ecosystems.

Professor Clemente with teachers and young fishermen, in a class inside the Santo Antônio River mangrove (AL). Photo Thiago Hara

In mid-2012, the program arrived in the largest Marine Protected Area in Brazil, the Costa dos Corais Environmental Protection Area, which has the main reintroduction program for Marine Manatees on the Brazilian coast. There were 7 municipalities, with 300 teachers from 66 public schools. Students and teachers adopted the Didactic Curriculum Guide “The Marvellous Mangroves of Brazil” within the classroom as well as field activities, forming very important networks for the protection of mangroves, coral reefs, and seagrasses banks, which make up the ecological connectivity.

The project aims to form local environmental citizenship, harmonising conservation with sustainable uses of mangroves for fishing and tourism.

Professor Laís Muniz in activity during the course with teachers from Barra de Santo Antônio (AL) ©Clemente Coelho Junior

Rio Tatuamunha’s Mangrove, environmental Protection area: Costa dos Corais (AL) ©Clemente Coelho Junior

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