Coral restoration project, Watamu National Park, Kenya (new)

In October 2019 Rolf visited Watamu National Park in Kenya. The park’s coral reefs were struggling. The amount of fish, in terms of size and diversity seemed relatively ok. But the coral cover was too low and large areas were taken over by seagrass and macro-algae. In 2019 we met with the park warden to discuss options for restoration of the reef. Now, 5 years later, we are asked by the park and partners Arocha Kenya and Bahari Hai to be part of the new restoration project, starting this month.


Increasing water temperatures in the Watamu lagoon are a serious problem for the corals. Therefore, the focus will be on transplanting more heat-tolerant coral colonies that Arocha has identified over the last 4 years. This approach is in an experimental phase, fighting climate change remains our biggest challenge of course. But adding more corals with a high genotype diversity to an area will always increase the reef’s chances of survival. The project will also help us to train the Bahari Hai team for a new project we have planned to start north of Watamu, outside the National Park. For this we are awaiting approval from the community that we expect later this year.

Mangrove restoration Lombok, Indonesia (new)

Why would we get involved in mangrove forest conservation? Mangroves are important nursery grounds for many juvenile reef fish. The complex root system of the trees provide ideal refuge. Mangroves also trap sediment and pollutants that would otherwise flow into the sensitive coral reefs. It is proven that coral reefs are healthier with a well-functioning mangrove forest nearby. Logging, urbanization, shrimp farming, pollution and climate change are threatening mangrove ecosystems worldwide. So we are proud to announce our 2nd mangrove restoration project in Cemare, Indonesia. Our first on mainland Lombok!



The area around Cemare is heavily polluted with garbage from local households, which impedes mangrove seedlings to settle. Illegal logging and shrimp farming in the past created open areas in the forest. Together with our partner Indonesia Biru (=blue) Foundation, we are setting up a comprehensive waste management system, organize cleanups and awareness events and will reforest parts of the forest, such as an old shrimp farm. Weekly, about 1.000 tourists visit the forest for sunset. This gives us the opportunity to educate them on the subject, on pollution and on the importance of marine ecosystems. Schools will be visited and the children will be involved in out-planting mangrove seedlings we farm. 4-5 fulltime indigenous conservation leaders are hired for this project.

Planes, trains, automobiles… and mangroves

Mangroves can sequester 3-5 times more carbon per equivalent area than tropical forests. It does so mainly because it stocks carbon not only in the wood but also in the soil. For our 2 mangrove conservation projects we were asked to make a compensation program for air travel’s carbon emission and offer this to passengers. While most of us are aware that air travel’s emissions are connected to global warming, not everyone knows that jet engines also spew out a cocktail of other noxious substances such as sulfur oxides, nitrogen compounds and soot particles. So, to motivate people to reduce their air travel is crucial and should remain 1st priority. But eliminating flying entirely is impossible so, yet a bit reluctantly, we gave the research on CO2 compensation a try.


Depending the source, a return flight Amsterdam-Rome comes down to burning 350-1.350 KG CO2 per person, which is equivalent to 94-365 KG pure carbon. With an average of 130 passengers and using the ‘optimistic’ value of 94KG, we are talking 12.220KG pure carbon that is burnt. Whoa.. No surprise that the Dutch News organization NOS recently revealed: if ecological damage is added and normal taxes without subsidies are applied, a standard KLM ticket would be 70% more expensive.

newsletter10-medium.jpg Carbon sequestration by planting trees is a rather straightforward calculation. The guidelines for carbon offset programs also include the effect of protection. Due to our presence and education programs in Alor and Lombok, an increased level of protection is in place and logging is decreasing. To put a number on this is more complicated and requires additional research - we will keep you posted. However, thru our research so far it became clear that a serious emission compensation will cost much more than the average airline recommends. It’s better than doing nothing, but we have to do better. Needless to say, the best way to go, is not in a plane and neither a car, but the train!!


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