[Coral-List] Mangroves as stabilising plants

Nicolas J. Pilcher pilcher at tm.net.my
Mon Mar 20 19:06:19 EST 2006

I know Selingan well, and have worked there on and off since 1995. I have 
seen ten years of sand movements, as I said earlier, half of the year one 
way, half of the year another. A slow net SW movement though, I would 
agree. If any of you have made it to Gulisaan, nearby, you'd see this in a 
much more noticeable way. I must agree with Duncan that mangroves are just 
not the solution. To start with, these are coral rubble cays with little or 
no fine sediment suitable as mangrove habitat. I am always of the belief 
that if there were going to be mangroves or corals or seagrass in any given 
place, they'd be there already. It's hard to see how introducing mangroves 
is going to work in the long run, given as nature decided long ago they 
were not the thing to have. While mangroves grow aplenty along the mainland 
coast not ten miles away, and could have had ample opportunity to colonise 
the island should they have been able to NATURALLY, they are not currently 
on the islands. It's worth keeping in mind.


At 05:48 PM 3/20/2006 +0000, Duncan MacRae wrote:
>I'm not sure if either of you guys have been to Selingan recently, but 
>there seems to be some major sediment movements going on (that all look 
>relatively recent). The spit to the west of the island seems to be 
>growing, whilst the other beaches are being eroded significantly - 
>seemingly due to the off shore breakwater that already exists!. I realise 
>this is causing issues for the buildings on the island, but the turtles 
>are adapting fine. Sooo medalling here already seems to have caused problems.
>To put it bluntly I do not agree with the idea to establish a mangrove 
>stand on the island for two main reasons:
>1. there are no mangroves on the island currently because the situation is 
>NOT a suitable habitat  - for numerous reasons
>2. the islands sediments are dynamic and any attempt to stabilise them 
>will no doubt fail in the long term or lead to further problems in the 
>prevailing direction of littoral drift - with the possibility of mangroves 
>and their associated nutrients/sediments ending up on the reefs
>It would be a far better idea in the long run to remove the threatened 
>buildings (dilapidated dive store, staff quarters etc) and make them 
>temporary structures made out of local materials such as those on stilts 
>constructed for the Govt. fishing project near by. These can then be 
>moved/reconstructed as required.
>I hope more folk out there can add to this discussion.
>Duncan R. MacRae
>Coastal Zone Management (UK)
>Integrated Conservation Solutions
>Blythe Cottage
>22 Rosemundy
>St. Agnes
>TR5 0UD
>Tel: ++ (0)1872 552 219
>Mobile: ++(0)7958 230 076
>E-mail: solutions at cozm.co.uk
>Website: www.cozm.co.uk
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>----- Original Message ----- From: "Todd Barber" <reefball at reefball.com>
>To: "Nicolas J. Pilcher" <pilcher at tm.net.my>; <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
>Sent: Saturday, March 18, 2006 1:48 PM
>Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Sabah and reefballs
>>Hi Nicolas,
>>Why would you think I am using Reef Balls to save the day?  We're looking at
>>planting mangroves to help stabilize the beaches because Reef Balls offshore
>>(8 years ago) have stopped the netting and increased the turtle nestings
>>substaintially so they need as much space as possible.  Come on folks, we
>>are an NGO, not a marketing company.  Sure, we use Reef Balls in a lot of
>>our projects but only as one management tool of many.
>>Todd Barber
>>Chairman Reef Ball Foundation, Inc.
>>3305 Edwards Court
>>Greenville, NC 27858
>>reefball at reefball.com
>>Direct: 252-353-9094
>>mobile: 941-720-7549
>>Fax 425-963-4119
>>Personal Space: http://www.myspace/reefball
>>Group Space http://groups.myspace.com/reefballfoundation
>>Skype & MSN For Voice or Video Conferences:
>>Available upon request
>>Atlanta/Athens Office
>>890 Hill Street
>>Athens, GA 30606 USA
>>(Our headquarters...not where I work see above)
>>----- Original Message ----- From: "Nicolas J. Pilcher" <pilcher at tm.net.my>
>>To: "Todd Barber" <reefball at reefball.com>; <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
>>Sent: Friday, March 17, 2006 11:57 PM
>>Subject: Sabah and reefballs
>>>Interesting to hear that reefballs are going to save Sabah's reefs from
>>>erosion. Ever seen what continued man--made structures end up looking like
>>>many years after being deployed in areas where shifting sands due to
>>>predominant current patters persists? The Maldives might be a good example
>>>of the continued need to adjust and shift these. The turtle islands have
>>>been subject to a two-phase sand shift with the monsoon season for many
>>>more years than reef-balls, and turtles, which require a stable nesting
>>>habitat in order to successfully propagate as a group of species. Sand
>>>moves one way in the monsoon season, the other in the off season. And
>>>while sand is ultimately shifting slowly in one direction, the islands are
>>>obviously sufficiently stable for turtles, which nest on their natal
>>>beaches but require a 30 year developmental period. That is, the islands
>>>are stable enough for 30 years, yet reefballs are going to save the day?
>>>>I am off to the Turtle Islands in Sabah tomorrow to save the turtle
>>>>grounds from erosion for those totally protected (from humans) islands, so
>>>>won't be able to respond for the next week. So if you have a comment try
>>>>emailing it to me directly with a catchy subject that I can pick out on a
>>>>slow internet connection.
>>>I am writing from Sabah with a fast broadband connection. You'll end up in
>>>hotels all of which have wireless broadband access for guests - yes, right
>>>here in Borneo, of all places! I'd appreciate if you would not suggest
>>>that this is a backward destination, you might find in many ways Sabah has
>>>a lot more to offer.
>>>Dr. Nicolas J. Pilcher
>>>Co-Chair IUCN SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group
>>>Executive Director
>>>Marine Research Foundation
>>>136 Lorong Pokok Seraya 2
>>>Taman Khidmat
>>>88450 Kota Kinabalu
>>>Tel ++ 60 88 386136
>>>Fax ++ 60 88 387136
>>>Email: pilcher at tm.net.my
>>Coral-List mailing list
>>Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

Dr. Nicolas J. Pilcher
Co-Chair IUCN SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group

Executive Director
Marine Research Foundation
136 Lorong Pokok Seraya 2
Taman Khidmat
88450 Kota Kinabalu

Tel ++ 60 88 386136
Fax ++ 60 88 387136
Email: pilcher at tm.net.my

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