Ramsar Conservatin Awards 2015

Award for Innovation 2015

Oceanium - Director, Jean-Christophe Henry / Senegal

In 2006, Oceanium’s plan to restore a highly degraded mangrove forest was realized when it started a partnership with Danone’s Livelihoods Fund and was able to begin the large scale task of replanting mangroves along the west coast of Senegal.

The Livelihoods Fund is a private sector initiative that supports projects with technical inputs and funds and provides returns to the investors and to local communities. With global warming and sea-level rise, Oceanium is a crucial project as it supports improved livelihooods and demonstrates to other coastal communities globally that it is necessary to work with nature to ensure that the environment and wetland-dependent populations can continue to prosper and grow economically.

The mangroves, which once grew in abundance on the west coast of Senegal, have been slowly disappearing through human intervention, rising sea level and drought. The local population saw their income and food sources disappearing as the aquaculture of prawns and oysters which had prospered amongst the mangroves dwindled, and the rice fields could no longer produce a crop due to the brackish water that was flooding inland.

Jean Christophe Henry, Director of Oceanium and his team began the task of educating the local communities – with “Plante ton Arbre” (Plant your Tree), the logo of the project. With the cooperation of local populations, Oceanium has conducted massive reforestation campaigns since 2006. Today, more than 150 million mangrove trees have been planted in approximately 500 villages in the Sine Saloum delta and in the Casamance. This result makes it the largest example of mangrove reforestation in the world. In total, almost 12,000 hectares of mangrove have been restored by the people of Senegal.

We are delighted to recognize the innovation and numerous other achievements of Oceanium by awarding the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award for Innovation.