Ridge to Reef, whole landscape conservation
Ecosystems are interconnected and efforts to conserve biodiversity need to take this into account. Many reef fish, for instance, spend their juvenile stages hiding in the mangroves. Some of these same fish perform an essential grazing function on the reef, keeping seaweed in check that would otherwise outcompete corals for light and space. Protecting mangroves is therefore essential to protecting coral reefs.
There are countless other examples of this kind of interdependency in ecosystems. Another extremely important one is the crucial role that forests play in maintaining the crystal clear waters that corals need to thrive.
TIDE’s approach therefore is to manage the whole landscape from ridge to reef. Reforesting riverbanks, protecting coastal wetlands and maintaining intact wildlife corridors are all ways in which TIDE and Ridge to Reef Expeditions are preserving essential interconnections in a healthy landscape.
Most of the 15,000 or so people living in the Maya Mountain Marine Corridor rely directly on natural resources for their livelihood, whether through farming, fishing, hunting, or harvesting the leaves they use to thatch their homes. They interact with the environment every single day and the actions they take determine whether ecosystems stay healthy or deteriorate.
Everyone needs to make a living and trying to oppose that probably wouldn’t get TIDE very far. Fortunately, there are ways people can look after the environment while getting what they need –they just need the right knowledge and motivation.
So TIDE’s approach is to give stakeholders the know-how and incentives to be environmental stewards. Teaching best practices in use of agricultural fire, promoting sustainable fishing, providing high school scholarships, retraining fishers as tour guides, nurturing green businesses, and training young people as ‘community researchers’ are just some of the ways in which TIDE is promoting the transition to a sustainable green economy in the Maya Mountain Marine Corridor.