Building upon the overwhelming response to his 2006 Reclamation Project, where the community has since planted acres of mangroves in Biscayne Bay, environmental artist and University of Miami Professor of Practice Xavier Cortada’s new proactive, socially-charged project will encourage residents across Miami-Dade County to plant saltwater mangrove propagules in their yards to help combat saltwater intrusion and prepare for sea-level rise.
Next to the planted propagule, residents will be encouraged to place a white flag with their property elevation, a message of hope or their pledge for the future.
We need to “plan(T)” for the future. With sea-levels rising, one of the biggest hurdles will be saltwater intrusion into the aquifer, affecting the water we drink and use for our landscapes and agriculture. In the decades to come, much of our non-salt tolerant tree canopy will die.
Plan(T), which will include an exhibition during Art Basel 2019, presentations at 50 Miami-Dade Public Library System branches and a mangrove propagule giveaway, asks homeowners to plant mangrove propagules, or seedlings, which can withstand the test of time and help serve as storm buffers. Planting salt tolerant mangroves in high ground will help to safeguard vulnerable areas of our city and provide future seed stock for areas surrendered to rising seas.
Similar to last year’s “Underwater HOA,” in which Cortada engaged concerned citizens to become problem solvers on sea-level rise, the new project focuses on raising awareness and building community, including involving students at local schools in the “mangrove in every yard” reforestation effort.
The main exhibition will take place in the Hibiscus Gallery at Pinecrest Gardens during Art Basel 2019. Installations will also be presented at every single branch of the Miami Dade Public Library System. The project and exhibition will be presented in collaboration with the University of Miami Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, Pinecrest Gardens, Miami-Dade Public Library System, Frost Science and Cortada Projects.
Above: Cortada’s Miami Mangrove Forest (2004), a metaphorical reforestation of downtown Miami.
“The mangrove roots symbolize the residents who have set roots in their neighborhood and built community,” said Cortada. “[B]y reaching out to others, we build a stronger community, much like the walking feet of mangrove roots do to build formidable structures and nurture new life.” — Xavier Cortada (Miami Mangrove Forest, 2004)