2019’s Preserve a XAMA Project (in portuguese, something like Keep the fire burning) had the goal of retrieving the sandbanks of Algodões Beach.
1. EMERGED STRIP
2. NEIGHBORING COASTAL WATERS
3. WATERFRONT URBANIZED BUILDING’S EDGE – 50M
4. WATERFRONT NON-URBANIZED BUILDING’S EDGE – 200M
5. TOP HIGH TIDE LEVEL
6. AVERAGE SEA LEVEL
7. OCEANIC WATERFRONT LIMIT
8. NAVY OWNED LANDS – 33M
9. PERMANENT SANDBANK PRESERVATION AREA
Algodões beach coastal sand line has been damaged by misuse and inappropriate occupation. This area has a central role in protecting and maintaining the shoreline, as well as the sustainability of the local community. Intervention and recovering of such area, and the raise of awareness to the matter, is key to all of us that think about Algodões future.
This sea front sand layer is essential to prevent bigger damages in the presence of storms and big ocean swells, maintaining the dynamic beach/dune system and protecting surrounding areas from erosive processes, apart from hosting specific habitats to several fauna and flora (Seeliger, 1992; Hesp, 2001).
The vegetation in such areas is formed by bushes and grassy plants which play a key role in maintaining the coastal line – but they are in risk of extinction. Plants keep sediments which the wind brings from the beach, and as their roots grow the sand banks get firmly fixed. According to many experts, planting native vegetation is the first step to restore beach front areas. Preserve a XAMA project used Ipomoea pes-caprae, a native species that abounds in the region and is known for fixing dunes and sand banks alike.
During August 2019 the project’s team discussed with the local community, defined the areas to be restored, spread knowledge on the matter and took the opportunity to educate beach goers.
Algodões beach boardwalk recovery
Through the planting of native species, Preserve a XAMA team aims at interrupting the erosion caused by winds, tides and human activities.
Collecting native seeds
During August and September, the collecting started around surrounding beaches. It happened in a sustainable way in order not to damage the pre-existing vegetation.
Seeds selection and storage
After collecting, seeds were selected and stored in adequate conditions to last for the whole planting period.
Planting started in October and had the participation of community members as well as beach front residents – the primordial purpose was not only the act of planting, but also the education of everyone involved.
Maintenance and awareness
During the planting phase we tried to educate locals and tourists alike. The cleaning of debris, be it organic or not, also happened during this stage of the project. Non-endemic species were also withdrawn from the area in order for native species to grow stronger.
November saw the end of the planting process with great success.
Selected seeds were planted
More than 1500 seeds were planted along the shoreline.
Native vegetation grew Strong
One is already able to see the results from a close.
The invasive plants were withdrawn. This stage was accomplished with the endorsement of the local government and environmental secretary.
Coconut trees and non-endemic grasses are also big actors in the erosive process.
Invasive coconut trees
When it comes to coconut trees, apart from invading the native vegetation, it accelerates the erosion process for being extremely heavy.
Native vegetation keeps the beach front intact
Native vegetation doesn’t get any higher than 5 feet and is light above, but has solid roots.
Cooperation and awareness
It was great to work with locals, specially kids, as by the end of the cycle it was clear how much more aware they were and how they started spreading the word about the importance of protecting the native vegetation.