Palau’s taro field landscape provides an additional buffer for protection of marine seascape from sedimentation

August 4, 2017

Palau Placeholder
Palau

Palau's taro field landscape provides an additional buffer for protection of marine seascape from sedimentation

About the Implementing organization

Name: Ngaraklidm Women's Organization

Country: Palau

Year of establishment: 1950

Type of organization: Community-based association or organization, Women’s association or organization, Indigenous group or organization

Description

It is common knowledge among farming and land management practitioners that agriculture is often the cause for land degradation because of the conversion of natural landscapes and vegetation to agricultural lands. In Palau, taking into consideration its Small Island Developing State (SIDS) categorization, the degradation of land also has a negative impact on its reefs, thus also affecting fisheries and gleaning. However, taro cultivation is an 800 year old practice, in danger of being put out of practice due to modernization, that has been tested by researchers to prove to be an effective sediment filter with the same sediment trapping capacity as mangroves. The women of Ngaraklidm organization had a mission to revive the practice, not for environmental reasons, but for cultural and social reasons. It was after they had finished the SGP project that the study supported the protection and promotion of reviving, restoring, and maintaining taro fields and promoting cultivation to ensure that the taro fields are a secondary buffer (with the mangroves) to protect reefs and important fish nursing and spawning grounds.

Nature Element

Oceans / Coasts / Wetlands / Rivers

Type of Action

Restoration / Sustainable use / Awareness and education

Sustainable Development Element

Food security / Water security / Health

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)

      

Environmental Impacts

Because the project was a land degradation project, the results showed that prior to the project 88 taro fields in Ngarchelong were currently being cultivated. At the end of the project in 2015, an additional 144 taro fields (2.64 hectares) were included making a total of 227 taro fields, applying sustainable farming practices.

Sustainable Development Impacts

144 taro fields restored and revived meant that 2.64 hectares of land were applying sustainable agricultural practices and about 43 taro cultivars were planted and harvested throughout the project. The taro cultivation is still being continued to this day.

Scalability

After this project was conducted by Ngaraklidm women, it was showcased and promoted by their partner organization, Palau Resource Institute (PRI). PRI was then approached and was involved in scaling up a similar project of about 200,000 USD in 4 different sites in Palau to revive and restore the taro fields in those sites.

Replicability

This initiative is currently being replicated throughout Palau. However, this could be very replicable in other small island countries and possibly larger countries where degraded land is an issue. Because of the way the taro fields are landscaped near or adjacent to waterways, it is an innovative way of holding water and soil within the farms, and then acts as a filter to prevent further sedimentation as the water moves further downstream and to the ocean.

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