On a shrimp boat

Written by Silvia Echeverría, Marine Biologist

They may be just a few people who have had the opportunity to get on a shrimp boat. So the first thing is to know is that these boats have nothing to do with a tourist yacht or a boat ride.

Life on the boat has a different feel and its dynamic is unique. Fishermen are a team, they work articulately and each one has a role. Of course I probably lost the real dynamics for two reasons: first, because I spent half the time asleep as a result of motion sickness pills (and the other half throwing up), and second, because being a woman and research biologist onboard, men presented themselves as courteous and polite as they could, not jesting and even watching their vocabulary. Continue reading

The Green Wall


Written by Mónika Naranjo González
Indonesia ha tenido que aprender sobre la importancia de los manglares de una forma muy dura. Hoy existen varios proyectos de recuperación de este ecosistema. Foto por Conservation International

Indonesia has had to learn the importance of mangroves the hard way. Today there are several mangrove recovery programs in place. Photo by Conservation International

It all started during a massive drought in Indonesia. Peatlands (a type of wetland) began to burn. The huge amount of organic material in the soil also burned and spread disaster, fire could not be controlled for months. Amid the emergency new knowledge gained prominence: the relationship between these ecosystems and climate change.

In that scenario Miguel Cifuentes started to learn about the connection between the loss of mangroves and organic substrates, and the release of their stored carbon dioxide.

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Working with mangroves and blue carbon in Central America

Written by Miguel Cifuentes, Climate Change and Basins Program CATIE
Miguel Cifuentes working on the mangrove forests of Central America

Miguel Cifuentes working on the mangrove forests of Central America

I started working with mangroves and blue carbon back in 2012 after I heard about a meeting on the topic in Indonesia. I knew similar work had not been done in Central America and recognized the enormous and untapped potential mangroves have in the region, securing ecosystem services, providing climate change mitigation, adaptation and supporting the local coastal community development. This kind of simultaneous “quadruple-win” outcome is only seen in mangrove forests; one reason working with them is so interesting and rewarding. Despite their incredible importance, they seem to have been left in a “limbo”, ignored by terrestrial biologists and foresters, and shunned by marine biologists, left to be degraded, over-exploited, and commonly drained to promote other, “more productive” land uses. Continue reading

The Serengeti!

Costa Rica is part of the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape

Costa Rica is part of the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape

We hear it all the time, and yet it still doesn’t seem clear enough that a healthy ocean is paramount for our own survival. Our ocean makes up the Earth’s primary life support system, comprising 70 percent of our planet’s surface and 99 percent of our world’s biosphere — the fragile part of our planet in which life takes place.

So how do we make sure that everybody is using our shared marine resources responsibly? Well… it’s not easy. Continue reading