Wetlands International is restoring mangroves on Galeta Island, Panama
Written by Andrès E. Fraiz T. (Wetlands International)
The mangrove restoration area on Galeta Island is made up of two tracts of land, one is 5.4 hectares and financed by the company AES GAS NATURAL ATLÁNTICO, S. DE RL. and the other is 0.5 hectares and financed by AES PANAMÁ S, DE RL.
The selected area was part of a former telecommunications base of the United States armed forces. In order to build the base, they made fillings to cover the wetlands and inside the mangrove forest they built channels to divert the waters. In other words, the loss of the mangrove forest was caused by a change in land use, totally modifying the landscape.
At present the area is surrounded by a beautiful mangrove forest and is a protected area called Galeta Island Protected Landscape.
The restoration proposal implemented by Wetlands International consists of the construction of water channels to return to a more favorable condition for the restoration of the mangrove forest. We have planted three species: Rhizophora mangle in the most flooded areas and in the channels, then Laguncularia racemosa together with Conocarpus erectus in the less flooded areas.
We measure the success of the channels by how connected they are with the surrounding wetland restoration area. We also evaluate the presence of marine, estuarine, and freshwater fish at the species level to indicate level of salinity and marine influence into the canals.