One of the biggest causes of the removal of mangroves in SE Asia is to develop shrimp ponds. Once an investor clears an area of mangrove and successfully develops a shrimp farming pond many others in the community start doing the same and clearing additional areas. However, as the cleared areas grow exponentially and all shading trees are removed, the success of the ponds decline because of high water temperatures and water quality issues. For many farmers 3 out of 4 attempts at growing crops of shrimps fail and this gets the farmers deeper and deeper into debt with local money lenders. As a result, up to 40% of all shrimp farm areas in SE Sulawesi are abandoned or only used intermittently. The rePLANET scheme is offering to buy back or long term lease the cleared areas through a Community Trust that then reforests the areas and also makes regular payments to the local communities to protect the regrowing trees. An alternative option is to develop eco-empangs where part of the farm is reforested but the remaining deep-water areas continue to be used for shrimp production.
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