The expert platform’s first mission to Costa Rica took place from 4 to 7 November 2018 with Janique Etienne, Juliana Prosperi and Catherine Gabrié, Marine Lalanne from the French Embassy in Costa Rica and Beninese project manager Ebénézer Houndjinou.
The visit was organised and accompanied by the project’s Costa Rican teams: Bernardo Aguilar GONZALEZ, Executive Director of the Neotrópica Foundation (https://www.neotropica.org/) and project manager, together with his fellow team members Angela Chevez and Javier Carazo, Adriana Sanabria, head of communications, and her assistant Natalia Esquivel, and Natalia Cordero and Andrea Fallas, heads of education and community relations respectively. The project’s scientific leaders, who travelled there from Mexico, were Claudia Agraz from the EPOMEX institute and her colleagues Kenia Conde and Jordan Reyes. Jacklyn Rivera Wong, project manager for SINAC (National System of Conservation Areas) from the Costa Rican Ministry for the Environment, also accompanied the teams throughout the week.
Documenting the projects was photographer Alexis Rosenfeld, who will also be building up a database of images.
The visit to the two very different mangrove sites, the Cuajiniquil site in the north and the Térraba-Sierpe site in the south, both on the Pacific coast, was an opportunity to build the first inter-project exchanges, document locally-developed technologies and talk to the communities in Cuajiniquil.
Claudia Gonzales presented her highly original method of performing a preliminary diagnosis of the restoration required, based on a study of soil topography and pore water quality. She explained the diagnostic work being performed at the two sites. She also gave a presentation about the enormous amount of work she has been coordinating in Mexico (link to the presentation).
Half a day was devoted to a scientific workshop on restoration, attended by many of the Costa Rican partners involved in mangrove restoration (see PPT presentations and links to the Foundation). It included scientific discussions on how to structure and develop the initiative, from documenting experiences to improving the knowledge of public officials in charge of environmental protection.
A show about the mangrove issue
Pupils from the school in Cuajiniquil put on an excellent, vibrant show with the help of their teachers and the Neotrópica Foundation in order to raise awareness about the protection and restoration of mangrove forests, and environmental issues more generally.