Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mangroves New Life In the West Coast Of Langkawi Part 3

19th may 2009, hot afternoon 3pm - Our 3rd planting. We have 2 new planters on board: Jerome (French tourist) & Adec Mel (from Tanjung Sanctuary). As I didn't collect many seedlings this time, I decided to keep the group small. The tide level was about 1.30m when we started and still rising. The mud ground was quite dry this time and easier for us to walk about.

From left: Adec Mel, Jerome & Aida (with butt pose)

These were all I have. Some were in those poly bags for more than 1 year that were supposedly be planted in Tanjung Rhu but did not happen.

Those that were planted on the previous time were half-standing, cut off by strong waves or currents. And some of them have the shoots out, yeah... good sign!

The lucky ones are still standing and some with the young shoots.

I found my babies Ceriops Tagal and Brugeira Parviflora still alive - phew! Glad to know that they are still surviving.

My babies Ceriops Tagal & Brugeira Parviflora are still standing. I stuck 9 seedlings surrounding my babies as defense system. Will it work?... hahaha...

TLC and maintenance time as we discovered that there were a few young trees has collapsed. These were planted about 2 years ago, maybe by the Digi program with the school children.
Collapsed young trees...
Team reinforcing the foundation. We almost ended up with mud fights as the mud can be nicely rolled into mudballs...

This is a mud-doughnut. Plucked off from top of a crab mound. I fixed it back later after inspecting it.

The sea water has risen up to about 1.5m and allowed us to wash up.

At the end of the planting, I learnt about the tide level in this area. In future, I need not have to wait for tide to go below 1.0m. Tide level between 1.5m-2.0m would be nice. Better still when the tide is rising which allows us to wash up after.
Hats off to the team that came and endure the hot afternoon sun. Thanks guys!
A refreshing glass of sirap selasih from Warung Pais was a great idea! Thanks, Aida for recommending that drink. Tea-O limau selasih wasn't that tasty compared to the sirap selasih, however, equally refreshing :)

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ehh... Where are we? Langkawi or ...?

A friend of mine related this story to me. A foreign couple has to endure 3 different flight connections and a 18-hour journey only to arrive at the Langkawi airport. Feeling really exhausted, they were just looking forward to head directly to their hotel and not wanting to look around the airport. They quickly got a taxi and they were driven towards Pantai Cenang. Arriving at a road junction, the wife got a "jump start" when she saw a huge sign. Without hesitation and showing some worrying signs, she asked her husband "Were we on a correct flight?" Her husband then asked, "Why..?" She answered, "Look at that...!"

Compare size of the advertisement board of Terengganu & Langkawi Lagoon Resort

The taxi driver then quickly assured them that they are on Langkawi. The couple then laughed. What a joke! And indeed... that was just a joke... that was a makeup story... but who knows if such would have happened.

Just imagine if a foreigner who could only read the word "Welcome.." and with the visual help, the foreigner would expect turtles as one of the main attractions in Langkawi. Hello!!? Dead turtles got-lah! I already witnessed two so far in Tanjung Rhu!

Whoever approved such advertisement board, is certainly with a "tong-tong brain". I'm not against promotion of different states in another tourism area. It just I'm sure there are better ways to promote "TERENGGANU" in "LANGKAWI" eventhough I'm neither into advertising industry nor marketing. What really saddens me is how these "tong-tong brain" people in a "tong-tong organisation" spend our hard-earned tax-payers' money. Such fund could be well-used in upkeeping the public toilets and also those in LADA building.
Kedekk... Kedekkk... Tockay.. Tockay...Tockay..............

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Mangroves New Life In the West Coast of Langkawi Part 2

April 26th 2009, 6pm - The mission continues. This time; 9 of us, armed with 100 over young seedlings and lots of laughter. These young seedlings were collected from mangroves channel of Tanjung Rhu and Kilim area of Langkawi while I was kayaking with my guests about few days back. Picking up seeds from the water is so easy on the kayak. Is more productive too. I felt thankful to my guests having to wait patiently for me loading the seeds up on the boat. Jan, my skipper, was scratching his head over my huge collection. A quarter of the collection was given to a nursery for germination and hopefully corporates will buy them for planting project purposes.

Returning to Kuala Muda, Langkawi, gave me the opportunity to have a look at my babies. To my shocking, there were only two! Where's the third one??? The Rhizophora has gone! :(

Only left with Brugeira Parviflora (the shorter one) and Ceriops Tagal.
Okay... so I lost one but I got hundreds more coming! So, we charged ... into the mud.

Karina was so excited that she went too far out and here she is crying... "Tolong, Tolong!" Sorry, Karina... we couldn't help much but to laugh.
During the planting, I noticed there were other young trees planted two years ago have collapsed or half-collapsed. Because this area is so exposed, no wonder these young trees have difficulty in sustaining against the swift current and strong western wind. We discovered that these young seedlings have to be planted closely together, preferably about 1 foot away. When they start growing, the close proximity would help support one another.
Our next tasks were TLC and maintenance. We looked for any young trees that we can salvaged.

Fadzillah, staff of Malaysian Nature Society, with Nena rebuilding the foundation.

Nena and me. Great job, Nena ... go start young..

The rest of the team: Aida (with butt up), Hanim (squat-toilet pose), Karen (looking on... and Susan(participant of Yoga retreat, got herself a part-time job as our photographer). Ijam?? and Ijam was hiding.

The planting was done at estimated tide level at that time: 0.5m

Mangrove Garden - part of 100 over seeds stuck in the mud. We shall see how many will stay on & propagate...

I was surprised the planting of 100 over seeds was completed in less than 1 hour. Thank you, Xie-xie ni men for all your efforts.

After discovering the collapsed young trees, I realise that this area needs periodically check, TLC and maintenance. We can't just stick them in and say "Bye-bye".

Will this be fruitful? Will that ground provide sufficient nutrients to sustain their survival?

Gee... I don't know. To get the answers, I decided that this will be an on-going project to test the area and see the results in hmm... at least 15-20 years time. Whew... that's long. Will I live to see that? I won't have my next biological generation to see that too... oops...
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Mangroves New Life In the West Coast Of Langkawi

It started with my 3 little babies - Rhizophora, Ceriops Tagal & Brugeira Parviflora that were subjects of my experiment. They were picked up from the mangroves channel of Tanjung Rhu, Langkawi; sometime between March-April 2008. They were tested on their growth rate in the mud collected and being supplied with tap water. Their initial roots were measured and they did grow quite fast indeed (I was amazed).
A year later, they were comfortable sitting in the little plastic pot and still growing. However, not that plastic pot though. I guess is time for them to be where they should be - back to the intertidal zone. Where should they be planted??
I remembered the "nice" huge exposed western coast of Langkawi of Kuala Muda (next to Langkawi Langoon) and my babies can join the rest of the gang there.
Kuala Muda is a location whereby the fishermen dock their boats at the tiny jetty. There is a local food stall named "Warung Pais" where the fishermen hang out and gossip. As far as I know, back in August 2007, the island's celebrity naturalist and true conservationist, Irshad Mobarak, spearheaded Digi's Amazing Malaysia environmental project involving about 100 students all over Langkawi schools including Pulau Tuba. One of the project was mangroves planting at Kuala Muda. The aim is to plant these forest to protect that coastal area in case the next tsunami would hit. Yup, they walked, stomped and sank - into the thick soft mud. The second picture is showing the big guy, Irshad with the school kids in yellow tees. I think the organiser would have learnt that darker colour for t-shirts would be suitable for such purpose.
I can't recall the exact number of young seedlings planted but they were hundreds of them. My ex-colleagues of Wilderness Centre team, volunteered on that day.
The 12th April 2009 was the day I decided to release my babies. Followed me along was Aida, my Raleighian friend working on this island as naturalist. We waited for the low tide and then we went in. The Tok Penghulu of Kuala Muda was at "Warung Pais" and greeted us. He was curious. At that time, I only collected about 30 seeds together with my babies. They were mostly Rhizophora family. Rhizophora is usually much preferred as the front liners because this family is much hardier in standing against the big waves and currents. We enjoyed the nice feeling of sinking halfway into the mud and hmm... the mud texture... talcum powder paste.

There they are now "in the wild outdoor" away from the comfort zone. Back to where they are meant to be, the mud and salty water. Go forth, grow and ... propagate... We need more of you than homosapiens.

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