Managing and Protecting the Mangrove Forestry in the Philippines Essay



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REFERENCES I. INTRODUCTION Filipinos, whose main daily diet consists of fish and rice, are highly dependent on the coastal resources. Traditionally in the Philippines, the development of coastal resources, including mangroves, has been exploitative in nature. Government policies, which dictated development in both the uplands and coastal areas, have been based mainly on abundant available resources without due consideration for sustainable options for future generations. It was only towards the end of the 1970’s when the government realized the fishery value of mangroves.

A National Mangrove Committee was formed in the then Ministry of Natural Resources, and a Mangrove Forest Research Center was created under the Forest Research Institute of the Philippines. Notsurprisingly, this “decade of awakening” was also significantly marked with an alarming decline in fish catch. The 1980’s and 1990’s were marked with significant efforts to rehabilitate destroyed mangroves and related coastal resources. In 1981, small islands indented by mangroves containing an aggregate area of about 4,326 hectares were declared Wilderness Areas under Presidential Proclamation No. 151. Also in the same year, Presidential Proclamation No. 2152 was issued declaring the entire island of Palawan and some parcels of mangroves in the country containing an aggregate area of 74,267 hectares as Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserves.

In 1987, the Mangrove Forest Research Center was expanded in its concerns and coverage, becoming nationwide in scope under the Freshwater and Coastal Ecosystems Section of the Ecosystems Research and Development Service of every regional office of the present Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The Coastal Environment Program (CEP) and the Coastal Resource Management Project (CRMP) were launched in the regional offices of DENR in 1993 and in 1996, respectively, expanding the environment department’s concerns over all coastal ecosystems. These programs promote community-based approaches to coastal resource management, making direct stakeholders partners of government in the sustainable development and management ofmangroves, sea grass beds, coral reefs, and other coastal resources. ` II.

MANGROVE DEFORESTATION `Mangroves are among the best natural defense of sheltered coastlines against wind and water during storms.In the Philippines, the rate of destruction, extrapolated from international data sources, is between 40 percent and 45 percent in the last 10 years. Mangrove areas in Bulacan, Davao, Palawan, the two Mindoros, Bohol, Samar and Zamboanga have shrunk, putting their long-term survival at risk. If this rate of loss is not reversed, we would have no mangrove stands by the middle of the century. ` Mangrove destruction is due mainly to human settlement and aquaculture but as the pace of urbanization quickens, reclamation and pollution will begin to take their toll.Mangrove forests are ecosystems that sustain unique plant and animal species, many of which we still have to discover and study. It’s possible that many of them have become extinct with unforeseen effects on fragile mangrove ecology.

Loss of functional diversity is particularly serious because mangrove ecosystems are species-poor. The FAO reports that in 26 of 120countries, mangroves are critically endangered or fast becoming extinct. III. KNOWN CONSEQUENCES OF MANGROVE DEFORESTATION Mangrove ecosystems are an integral part of terrestrial and marine food webs. Their destruction will have an immediate effect on fishery roductivity.

Mangroves also protect seaweed beds and coral reefs against river-borne silts and serve as breeding ground of certain species of fish that thrive in brackish water. They also maintain salt marshes as filters of industrial and household wastes. Certain species of mangrove are sources of fibers, chemicals and medicine. Palawan mangroves, for example, are raw materials for Japan’s chemical industries.

`Mangrove forests function both as an atmospheric CO2 sink and a source of ocean carbon. They are important in the effort to slow down global warming. (E. McLeod and R.V.

Salm, Managing Mangroves for Resilience to Climate Change, IUCN, 2006) ` Effective and enforceable policies and education strategies have to be implemented right away to reverse the loss of mangrove forests. {draw:frame} `With the destruction of mangrove areas, sea grassand coral reef ecosystems have also deteriorated. About 70 % of the Philippines’ coral cover has been destroyed, with about 25% still in good condition and only about 5% in excellent condition. As a result, the productivity of coastal fisheriesmeasured in terms of fish catch also suffered a serious decline.It is estimated that there is a reduction of 670 kg in fish catch for every hectare of mangrove forest that is clear-cut.

(CRMP, 1998). ` A. Environmental Impacts a. Shoreline erosion especially in most of the typhoon prone areas b.

Decline in forest structure and diversity of plant species in most of the remaining mangrove stand. `Mangrove vegetation has been generally reduced to narrow strips and patches indenting the coastlines consisting of usually less than half a dozen species of trees and associatedplants. ` c. Decline in fisheryThe degraded forest structure of Philippine mangroves that consequently brought decline in its ecosystem functions (including fisheries) is aggravated by a parallel destruction of equally important coastal ecosystems. B. Social Impacts White and Trinidad (1998) estimated the mangrove ecosystem value at USD600/ha/year, a conservative estimate that considers only food production and raw materials.

But while variations in economic values attributed to mangrove ecosystems may be wide, there is no doubting that the conversion to fishponds and other uses result in significant monetary losses. And who are most affected by such economic loss? Surely, the municipal fisher folks are affected most because they do not have the capital to develop fishponds nor do they have the capital and fishing gears to engage in commercial fishing. Because of this, they are confined to near shore fishery covering 0-50 meters depth range of the shelf area or to the 10- to 15-km limits of municipal waters as provided for under the Local Government Code of the Philippines. ` `The significant destruction of coastal habitats (mangroves, sea grass beds and coral reefs), overfishing (more than 70 fishers per sq. m), illegal fishing practices (cyanide, blast fishing, trawl and fine mesh nets) and the encroachment of commercial fishers have cause a significant decline in fish catch and fish quality of municipal fisher folks. ` The municipal fishing sector comprises the majority (68%) of the one million people engaged in the fishing industry(roughly 5% of the country’s labor force) in the Philippines, but it contributes only about 30% of the total fish catch, while the 28% engaged in aquaculture and only 4% in commercial fishing contribute 60% of the national fish catch (BFAR 1997).

Fisheries associated with mangrove forests, much of it collected by the poorest of the poor, constitute some 0. 67 tons per hectare per year to total fisheries (CRMP, 1998). Alcala (1982) cited one case of mangroves being a substantial source of livelihood for our coastal population – in South and North Bais Bay 20-30 families were wholly dependent on the edible mollusks, sea cucumbers, fishes and crustaceans harvested from surrounding mangrove areas. Some 979 per hectare per year of 26 species of edible shells, 297.

kg per hectare per year of 16 species of sea cucumbers and an unknown yield of fishes and crustaceans were harvested by the families. This provided an estimated income of at least Php76. 36 per hectare per year from shells and Php92. 20 per hectare per year from sea cucumber. ` VI.

MANGROVE MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS `Self-help Community-Based Mangrove Plantation of Banacon island, Getafe, Bohol:` With the plantations, the islanders have been earning through time out of the following: `The Amatong can range in size from 2 to 4 meters in diameter or 2m x 4m in area and 0. 5-1. 5 meters deep.It may be circular, rectangular, or funnel-shaped.

The distance between two amatong should be at least 50 meters. Harvesting is done after every 3-5 months by installing a net around the boulders and then removing the boulders one after another and piling them outside the Amatong. ` VII. CONTRACT REFORESTATION PROJECT Monitoring and evaluation reports pointed to the following as the problems and issues contributing to very low survival: 1.

Poor site selection 2. Lack of acceptance by the community or local leaders 3. Barnacles and other infestations 4. Lack of preparation in project implementation 5.Poor understanding and appreciation of the importance of mangroves 6. Conflicting interests of various users/stakeholders 7. General lack of information and actual experience in mangrove rehabilitation and management 8.

Contract reforestation benefited only few contractors VIII. SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION Conversion of mangroves to fishponds has been the major cause of the decrease and degradation of Philippine mangroves and accounted for about 175,000 hectares (35%) of mangrove forests lost. The government’s objective to increase fish production out of mangrove conversion to fishponds was not realized.Instead, it created adverse impacts, such as the loss of significant habitats and biodiversity, loss of fishery value resulting from the decline of the protective and ecologicalfunctions of mangroves as an ecosystem, and problems of unequal resource access. To remedy these adverse impacts, government efforts to bring back the lost resources through mangrove reforestation, proclamation of an aggregate of 83,593 hectares of mangrove wilderness and mangrove swamp forest as reserve areas, and the launching of community-based programs focusing on the coastal environment and coastal resources management have since been vigorously pursued. Nevertheless, fish catch and fishery resources have continued to decline. There are other important coastal ecosystem such as sea grass beds, algal beds and coral reefs that are less visible than mangroves but are equally important to maintaining the productivity of fisheries. Based on the above cenario, the following are recommended;` Vigorously pursue efforts to bring back the lost productivity of denuded mangroves through sustained mangrove reforestation activities and protection of the remaining mangrove forests; Generation of technology to address gaps in mangrove friendly aquaculture; Rehabilitation and protection of other equally important coastal ecosystems; Strong political will among local leaders to implement fishery laws and institutionalize coastal resources management within their area of jurisdiction; Implementation of the Joint Memorandum Circular between the Department of Agriculture- Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and the Department of Environment and Natural resources on the reversion of abandoned and undeveloped fishponds back to mangrove forests; `Harnessing coastal communities as partners in coastal resources management to include the mangroves, sea grass, and algal, soft bottom and coral reef ecosystems.

` IX. REFERENCES `DioscoroM. Melana, Ph. D2, Emma E.Melana, MF3, andAmuerfinoM.

Mapalo, BSB4` Bureau of fisheries and Aquatic Resources. 1997. 1996 Philippine Profile, Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. Manila. Brown, W. H. and A.

F. Fisher. 1920.

Philippine Mangrove Swamps. Minor Products of Philippine Forests Vol. I, 22, DANR, Bureau of Forestry Bul. No.

17. `Francia, P. C. et. al. May, 1971. Proximate Technical composition of Philippine` Mangrove Woods.

The Philippine Lumberman. Melana, D. M. 1982. Research and Development Status of Philippine Mangroves.

White, A. T 7 A. C. Trinidad (1998). The Valuesof Philippine Coastal Resources.