According to a new publication launched by the Institute of Marine Affairs to mark World Wetlands Day, mangroves provide immense benefits to humanity by supporting the livelihoods of coastal populations, protecting the nurseries of many fish species and enabling the rich biodiversity that needs to be conserved. Hosted by the Institute of Marine Affairs, the virtual book launch drew over one hundred online participants.
Unveiled at a virtual book launch on February 2nd 2021 to commemorate World Wetlands Day, the title of this recent publication, ‘The Mangrove Forests of Trinidad and Tobago’, describes the various types of mangrove trees that are indigenous to Trinidad and Tobago with a comprehensive description of the geographical distribution of this wetland ecosystem in our twin-island republic. Co-authored by the Director (Ag.) of the Institute of Marine Affairs, Dr. Rahanna Juman, the publication explores the unique flora and fauna associated with mangroves inclusive of the special adaptations that mangrove trees develop within their environment. With a team of research authors, Mr. Hamish Asmath, Ms. Nikia Gooding and Mr. Gyasi Collins, the publication explains how carbon is sequestered in mangroves, explores the relationship between mangroves and their environment and concludes with the conservation management of mangrove forests. Hosted by the Institute of Marine Affairs, the virtual event drew over one hundred online participants.
At the virtual book launch, Senator the Honourable Clarence Rambharat, Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, delivered the feature address to online attendees and participants in which he stated that conservation of our natural resources is critical in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. In his address, he explained that the emergence of the coronavirus has demonstrated the need to protect our physical environment and stated that the research efforts of the IMA are crucial for him as the Minister has responsibility for policy formulation and legislation. He further explained that if we do not conserve our natural resources, we destroy the very system that supports human life.
During the virtual event, Ms. Marie Hinds, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Planning and Development congratulated the authors on the production and release of the publication stating that it was the most appropriate medium to highlight the need for conservation efforts of mangroves, which at present, face several threats due to unplanned development.
Other speakers included the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the IMA, Mr. Hayden Alexander who briefly explained the relationship between mangroves and freshwater stating that mangroves remain the more powerful nature-based solutions to provide us with fresh water as he touched on this year’s theme for World Wetlands Day 2021 – Wetlands and Water. Funded by Point Lisas Nitrogen Limited (PLNL), President of the company, Mr. Fitzroy Harewood expressed the company’s continued interest in safeguarding and conserving the environment. Dr. Juman delivered her brief presentation with the aid of a power-point presentation and video, that demonstrated the geographic distribution of mangrove species throughout Trinidad and Tobago, showed the degradation of this important wetland ecosystem due to unplanned development and outlined how mangroves adapt and evolve with time.
The book is to be distributed to school and community/public libraries throughout Trinidad and Tobago.
Packed with expert information but wonderfully accessible to any layperson, this timely publication, which was launched on World Wetlands Day 2021, is an excellent reference for the general public, policy makers, decision-makers and students at the secondary and tertiary levels. With the aim to raise awareness to and provide comprehensive information on the importance of mangroves in Trinidad and Tobago, scientific and technical terminologies have been avoided to make it easy to understand. This publication is just one of several initiatives made by the IMA to continue efforts advocating for conservation of our natural marine resources.