On April 24, our students interns Rebecca Alvarez McInnis and Hans Herrmann from McGill University in Canada concluded four months of stay and scientific research in Panama with an excellent presentation of results at our office in Pedasi. The internship program is a collaboration between McGill University in Montreal, the Smithsonian Institute (STRI), and our organization as a counterpart for the internship and student research. The presentation of results was attended by officials from ANAM Pedasi and Las Tablas, as well as by residents of Pedasi. Hans and Rebecca, both students of environmental studies, analyzed the perception of residents in the region about the status and importance of mangroves, especially mangroves protected by the Wildlife Reserve Pablo Arturo Barrios on the Pedasi coast. Hans and Rebecca prepared a questionnaire and interviewed 65 people, including local fishermen. Their results showed clearly: the population is aware of the high importance of mangroves as special forests that provide multiple environmental services for the fragile coastal ecosystem.
Although it is not easy, it is urgent to better protect mangroves at all levels: globally by the RAMSAR convention, at national level by the Panamanian environmental laws through appropriate authorities, and locally by coastal communities (the most affected by changes to the ecosystem) and investors of coastal development projects (which have a high responsibility for future generations).
You can see the final report containing the results here. Thank you Hans and Rebecca for all your hard work, and we wish them success in their future professional development!