Don't you just love a good news story. Well here is one. Over the past decade the northeast coastal district of Puttalam (Sri Lanka) has had decreasing fish catches. As a result the livelihood of the people living there is imperiled. The International Conservation Union (IUCN) has tackled this problem by training locals to cultivate aloe vera. This provides between $30-60 US to supplement their incomes.
Conservationists say that the fisheries stocks collapsed because the mangroves were systematically destroyed, and in the process wiped out crucial nursery habitat for juvenile fish, crabs and prawns. IUCN is also educating the locals not to cut down any more mangroves with good results. Once they are engaged they realise the value of the estuary, and voluntarily conserve the ecosystem.