Field investigations to find a concise explanation to the unknown cause of the wide scale destruction of trees in the protected mangroves of H A. Kelaa and H Dh. Neykurandhoo have been started by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture.
The withering and mysterious decay of the trees in these mangroves which are among the largest in the nation and declared as protected by the government in 2018, have begun since March this year. Councils of both the islands have brought this to the attention of authorities and have been heavily involved to raise awareness regarding the issue.
In a tweet Ministry of Environment announced that a team from EPA and the Ministry have been dispatched to the islands, and have already started surveying the Kandoofa of H A. Kelaa. The team will conduct field experiments to determine the cause of the die-off of the mangroves.
Deputy Director of EPA Dr. Ibrahim Mohamed states that multiple assessments and tests are required to fully determine the cause of the issue.
Even now a survey is underway in the island of Neykurandhoo which is funded by Commonwealth’s Human Ecology Council. The survey is being carried out with the technical expertise from the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Mangrove Specialist Group (IUCN MSG) , Save Maldives a local environment NGO, and mangrove research organization Mangrove Action Project.
The mangroves are a huge part of the identity of the people from these islands and the people of Thiladhunmathi. During the harsh times of the World War, it saved islanders from starvation, and wood from these mangroves have been fashioned to make boats as well. With practical, sentimental and cultural value it is absolutely necessary that the mangroves are maintained and protected for future generations.