Mangroves are very important to marine life, Dr. Guerrero points out. Strong and continued political commitment at all levels is vital to the successful establishment and management of forest plantation programmes. Mangrove forests also serve as protection against soil erosion. “The river showed off its bounty around the 1940s when, being relatively unpolluted, it generously flowed for people to wash clothes and take a bath in, for poets to admire, and for fishermen to take home a bountiful catch,” wrote Dr. Macrina Zafaralla in her study, Pasig: The Ecology of a Dying River. “Soil erosion is an enemy to any nation – far worse than any outside enemy coming into a country and conquering it because it is an enemy you cannot see vividly,” reminded Harold Ray Watson, the 1985 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for peace and international understanding. Without forest, floods are expected to happen – not only in Metro Manila (which has no forest cover to speak of) but also in other parts of the country where deforestation continues. The successful mangrove reforestation program done by the local government units, private individuals, and donor agencies earned citations from the Asian Institute of Management and different award-giving bodies. So what must be done? The increased forest cover has had an effect of weather patterns in the area: rainfall has increased by 10%, leading to a … In the 1970s, Philippines was touted the prima donna among world timber exporters. Spreading cities have also contributed to decimation of forests. The destruction of mangroves is detrimental to those living near the coastal areas. The second paper, Successful Reforestation in the Philippines: Technical Considerations presented by Dr. Wilfredo M. Carandang and Dr. Rodel D. Lasco identifies key silvicultural and technical prescriptions that can help in effective reforestation. Past large-scale government reforestation projects have stumbled from exotic monoculture plantings, young trees … The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 typhoons a year. [6] In 1990, … They lived in the big cities. As of 2012, the NGP has sequestered about 38.9 million tons of carbon worth 14 Billion PhP. Some even sold their rights to the forest concessions and lived off the green of the land. The Ambuklao Dam reservoir has had its life halved from 60 to 32 years as a result of siltation. “Rivers and streams also carry eroded soil to the coasts, where it interferes with fish nursery areas.”. “It’s a slow creeping enemy that soon possesses the land.”, As a result, food production is jeopardized. The Philippine government’s National Greening Program (NGP) or reforestation program failed to meet its 1.50 million hectare target by 88 percent, with forest cover only resulting in a paltry increase of 177,441 hectares in the last five years, according to … In response to substantial deforestation over many decades, large scale reforestation programs are being implemented across many tropical developing countries. Experience in the Philippines has shown how national priorities change with frequent changes in political leadership. Moreover, money for logging supported candidates during election campaigns.”. ... A popular method of ecological forest restoration is reforestation, which is the re‐establishment of native tree cover to land previously cleared of rain forest (Lamb, Erskine & … 2. “The area is now promoted as an alternative tourism site alongside Boracay Island and Kalibo’s Ati-atihan Festival,” said Jun N. Aguirre, a member of the Philippine Network of Environmental Journalists, Inc. Another benefit of mangroves: they provide protection from storm surges and high winds associated with tropical typhoons. Dr. Mercado cites the case of the seawall being built in Manila Bay. Successful Reforestation in the Philippines:Technical Considerations Wilfredo M. Carandang and Rodel D. Lasco INTRODUCTION When the Spaniards set foot in the Philippines more than 400 years ago the country was covered with 90% forests (ca.27M ha). In an article he penned for “Philippine Daily Inquirer,” he surmised that when Marcos came to power “serious deforestation began.”  Before Marcos became president, there were only 58 companies issued with timber licenses; it swelled to 412 during his presidency. Forests also serve as home to some 12 million indigenous peoples. Dr. Mercado says there is already a law against the cutting of mangroves. The entitlement of land to manage has successfully altered the mindset of the communities involved to care more for the importance of the forests in which they live instead of degrading them. Many think deforestation happens only in the uplands as cutting the trees means loss of lives and livelihoods as the raging waters from the higher areas bring floods and landslides. At all times, it is “extremely turbid and black,” according to Philippine Environmental Action Network. “That’s a total of only PhP125,000 per hectare in 5 years,” he says. Mangroves, which most people consider as unimportant, are fast disappearing. “With the threats of climate change in the Philippines particularly storm surges, tsunamis and strong typhoons,” says Dr. Elmer Mercado, a former official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, “mangrove is the most appropriate, least expensive climate change adaptation protection for our coastal-based communities.”. The project seeks to establish a system that both achieves successful reforestation and supports the livelihood of local communities. The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 typhoons a year. It used to be home to over 12,400 hectares of lush mangrove forests. Jungle in Crisis: Indonesians Act to Stop Deforestation, Navicula Kalimantan Tour: Save Rainforests, Save Orangutans Now, Mangrove Forest Deforestation in the Philippines. “Many of the fishponds in the country in the early 70’s and 80’s when the aquaculture boom started where constructed in mangrove areas because of its high value content for aquaculture and fish production,” Dr. Mercado says. "Tree cover threshold" is used for defining the tree cover area. Mangrove reforestation will improve soil conditions to grow vital food for the local community. “If we have not, in fact, reached this state, we are almost at the point of irreversibility.”, Dr. Ernesto Guiang, a forestry consultant, echoed the same concern: “We are now at the eleventh hour. Forest recovery, through natural and artificial means, never coped with the destruction rate.”. The “flooding problems,” said Aquino in his 2011 SONA, “are caused by the incessant and illegal cutting down of trees.”, Filipinos are urged to stop cutting trees now and preserve the remaining forests the country has. “The productivity of the country’s agricultural lands and fisheries is declining as these (forest) areas become increasingly degraded and pushed beyond their capacity to produce,” said Mogerlgaard. Measuring the success of reforestation for restoring biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. According to him, it only cost PhP25,000 per hectare to establish a mangrove and anotherPhP25,000 per hectare a year to maintain them for another 4 years. Villagers have successfully reforested about 20,000 acres… and created economic opportunities with resin from the trees, and even new biodiesel initiatives. “Implement this law strictly as a climate change mitigation/adaptation measure by local government units,” he suggests. Aside from logging (whether legal or illegal), other causes of deforestation in the Philippines are forest fires, “kaingin” farming (slash-and-burn agriculture), and mining operations. A couple of years ago, the Philippine Congress released a study that said about 123,000 hectares of the country’s forest cover are lost every year. Copyright © 2009 - 2020, Gaia Discovery. Recovering the Philippines' forest cover Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - March 4, 2018 - 11:25am MANILA, Philippines — The country's biodiversity is … When the Ormoc City, Leyte tragedy happened – which left 8,000 people dead – timber cover was only 18%. Even the forests in the lowlands – mangroves, that is – are not spared from denudation. “I have seen fortunes made overnight from the forest and it makes my skin crawl to realize that there are many Filipinos who just don’t care about the future generations’ legacy in the way of forest resources,” said Ferdinand Marcos in 1978. 103637 ISSN: 1146-609X ... species richness, Philippines “They plant trees, but they do not ensure that the trees would remain standing after they leave,” he said. But in the past, they grew in multitudes in Pasig River, which stretches 25 kilometers from Manila Bay in the west to Laguna de Bay in the east. The Philippine island of Panay suffered severe damage as a result of last year's Typhoon Haiyan. He has additionally led the successful reforestation efforts of tropical rainforests in Malaysia, Borneo and Japan. “At the rate our forests are getting destroyed, many species many no longer be around when we need them,” Alimoane said. The successful mangrove reforestation program done by the local government units, private individuals, and donor agencies earned citations from the Asian Institute of Management and different award-giving bodies. “Mangrove farming should be encouraged like what is being done in Bohol and other areas. In February of 2011, the president of the Philippines declared an ambitious goal: to plant 1.5 billion trees on 1.5 million hectares by 2016. Why is the country heading towards oblivion? Sustainable ‘aquasilviculture’ or the growing of high-value species like mudcrabs and the mangrove snapper in mangroves is another strategy.”. Water crisis is looming. The current rate of mangrove deforestation ranges from 2,000 to 3,000 hectares per year. More than 400 plant and animal species found in the country are currently threatened with extinction, including the Philippine eagle and tamaraw, according to the World Conservation Union. Sustainable Community Development Program. Pollution has also taken its toll. . In 1988, only 300 hectares remained. But that’s not all. As of 2012, due to mangrove reforestation efforts, the mangrove cover in Philippines has increased to 0.311 million hectares as compared to 0.247 million hectares in 2003. The country’s forests are habitat for more than 6,000 plant species and numerous bird and animal species, including the endangered Philippine Eagle and the Visayan warty pig. “There has been a drop of 30% to 50% in the country’s water resources in the past 20 years or so,” pointed out Dr. Rafael D. Guerrero, former executive director of Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development. “The new seawall constructed by the Department of Public Works and Highways is estimated to cost PhP94 million for a 1.5-kilometer stretch,” he says. Tourism also brings in money and jobs in mangrove forests. “That money in mangrove hectare terms would be more than 752 hectares of mangroves – enough to cover the whole stretch of Manila Bay from Luneta to all the way to Cavite City twice.”. Mangroves act as buffers to big waves while providing essential hideouts to fish, prawn, and more. When he was still the head of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Michael Defensor admitted that “only 30% of reforestation projects succeeded.”  In a Subic meeting of local executives, he told them: “People hardly recognize the economic benefits from protecting the environment. “Poverty, lack of jobs and wages, and absence of farm lots in the lowlands have forced some people to invade the forest,” commented former Senator Heherson Alvarez, who served as environment secretary during the administration of Corazon Aquino. Ditto for typhoons, which have devastated considerable hectares of forest areas. Replacing lost mangroves will restore vital underwater wildlife and biodiversity. Nueva Vizcaya Reforestation Project . But today, the river is totally polluted. “Mangrove forests have been converted to aquaculture, salt production, and human settlement,” the World Bank report notes. “The loss of nutrient rich soil reduces crop yields and contributes to the expanded use of chemical fertilizers – a practice that can, in turn, pollute water resources,” Alimoane said. The Philippines, a tropical island nation in the Pacific, will now require by law all graduating students from elementary school to college plant 10 trees each before they can graduate. The removal of forest cover has bolstered soil erosion in the uplands. Dr. Mercado is thinking of around 75.2-kilometer stretch of mangroves and a protective barrier of 100-meter of mangroves from the seafront area of Manila Bay – with a 100-meter by 100-meter dimension per hectare. Fruit bat diversity patterns for assessing restoration success in reforestation areas in the Philippines Author: Fidelino, Jay S., Duya, Mariano Roy M., Duya, Melizar V., Ong, Perry S. Source: Acta oecologica 2020 v.108 pp. President Benigno S. Aquino III, in his state of the nation address (SONA) in 2011, stated that most politicians use one possible solution – that of tree planting – as a photo opportunity. TMC runs the Peñablanca project jointly with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Philippines, the Peñablanca municipal government and CI. The use of low quality planting material is one of the major reasons for the limited success of past reforestation programs in the Philippines and elsewhere in the tropics. Toward the end of the Marcos regime, forest hectarage was down to 7.2 million hectares, “about half of what it was when he came to power.”, “Who had the privilege of cutting trees?” Vitug asked. The forests became his grand political tool.”. “(Mangroves) are important feeding sites for many commercially important fish species (mullet, tilapia, eel, and especially milkfish), shrimps, prawns, mollusks, crabs, and sea cucumbers,” says a World Bank report. The reforestation landscape is dotted with small groups, many of which use corporate money given as carbon offsets that are becoming increasingly popular. Lorenzo Tan, the vice-chairman and chief executive officer of World Wildlife Fund-Philippines, agrees. One project which is hailed as a great success from the Philippines CBFM initiative is the case study of YISEDA. “To conserve and enhance our mangrove resources, reforestation of denuded areas should be supported and promoted,” suggests Dr. Guerrero, who is presently connected with the National Academy of Science and Technology as an academician. By doing so, the government will save money as it is cheaper than building 100-meter of protected seawalls. Although a World Bank report released in 2005 stated that mangrove cover in the country was “now relatively stable” – particularly those around Bohol and Siquijor islands – Dr. Rafael D. Guerrero III said that mangroves are still in peril. ELTI and its partners guide the government’s latest reforestation effort toward more sustainable success for forests and communities across the country. They serve as sanctuaries and feeding grounds for fish that nibble on detritus (fallen and decaying leaves) trapped in the vegetation, and on the bark and leaves of living trees. From a vast area of mudflats, it is now a beautiful mangrove forest and a tourist attraction. The Magat Dam reservoir has been reported to cut its probable life span of 100 years to 25 years. This affects reforestation as much as other environmental programmes. “We have laid to waste millions of hectares of forest land, as though heedless of the tragic examples of the countries of Africa, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean, where large areas have become barren, if not desertified,” Alvarez said. Building of Resilient Communities through the Integration of Income Generating Projects and Rehabilitation of the watershed Areas Affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Instead of building seawalls, he suggests planting mangroves in areas susceptible to storm surges. Even just 1 Euro or Dollar will make a difference. “There are 25 to 30 species of true mangrove trees and an equal number of associated species,” says Dr. Miguel D. Fortes, a marine science professor and technical consultant to various national and international institutions. There is, as yet, no consensus on the number of mangrove species occurring in the Philippines. The construction of tourism infrastructures like hotels and restaurants has also contributed to the destruction of mangroves. Surging population has compounded the problem. “Fry that gather in mangrove areas are very important for aquaculture.”. In The Philippines alone, nearly three quarters of the mangrove forests are gone. Panay Island in the Western Visayas is a classic example. Old-growth mangrove forests are mainly found in Mindanao (4,582 hectares) and Palawan (5,317 hectares). In the past, forest resources helped fuel the country’s economy. Volcanic eruptions have also devastated some of the country’s tropical rainforests. The Philippines’ once sprawling 16 million hectares (39.5 million acres) of virgin forests dominated by hardwoods is now down to only 700,000 hectares (1.7 million acres). 75% tree cover reflects a dense canopy. A Philippine community sees life-saving payoffs from restoring its mangroves For more than 30 years, a community in the central Philippines has been actively involved in reforesting and protecting a mangrove site, which has expanded from 50 hectares to … Promotion of Sustainable Communities across the Philippines through Silk Production Philippines Deforestation Threats and Reforestation Issues. Silonay Island: A Successful Mangrove Reforestation Program - See traveler reviews, candid photos, and great deals for Calapan, Philippines, at Tripadvisor. Most sabotaged the program.”, The bluntness seemed to echo an earlier study of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, entitled “Sustainable Forest Management,” which stated, “Most of the (Philippines’) once rich forest are gone. SUCCESS: Reforestation of China Advertisement In 2002 the Chinese government began an ambitious project to reforest 5% of the nation, an area the size of California. the drivers that have determined reforestation success inthePhilippines.Wedothisbysurveying43reforestation projects on Leyte Island, covering 98 potential drivers and 12 success indicators. A couple of years ago, the Philippine Congress released a study that said about 123,000 hectares of the country’s forest cover are lost every year. Deforestation of mangroves is causing severe problems to the environment. The discussion spreads over related issues on common causes of failed restoration projects, results of studies on the biophysical and socioeconomic dimensions of deforestation and reforestation, lessons learned from selected restoration and reforestation projects, and key elements of a proposed restoration framework for the Philippines. Jose Ma. The barangay is located at the mouth of the Aklan River and, in the past, the community was directly exposed to the ravages of the sea and severe river flooding during typhoons and heavy rains. When Ferdinand Magellan “rediscovered” the Philippines in 1521, forests blanketed 95% of the country. Despite the economic and ecological benefits they provide, mangroves are on the verge of disappearance. The mantra these days: “We can bring the Pasig River back to life.”  Perhaps, aside from cleaning the river from all the waste and sludge, the river can be brought back to its former self by planting mangroves along the river banks. “All over the country, whatever coastal province you visit, you see the same plight – desolate stretches of shoreline completely stripped of mangrove cover and now totally exposed to the pounding of the ocean’s waves,” deplores an environmentalist. “Forests were decimated at an astonishing rate of 300,000 hectares per year,” Tan deplored. “The Philippine eagle has become critically endangered species because the loss of the forest had made it lose its natural habitat,” said ex-president Fidel V. Ramos, who declared the eagle as the country’s bird icon. Pasig River was once of the most captivating tributaries to watch as it was once touted as “the Venice of the East.”  The river was so beguiling that it captivated the heart of Dr. Jose Rizal. By 2020, the population will surge to 111.7 million, National Statistical Coordination Board projects. “Approximately two-thirds of the country’s original mangroves have been lost,” noted Population Reference Bureau’s Kathleen Mogerlgaard. Studies show that a pair of Philippine eagle needs at least 7,000 to 13,000 hectares of forest as a nesting territory. “Notwithstanding, our mangroves are disappearing due to unabated deforestation,” informs Dr. Guerrero, former director of the Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development. Study region and reforestation programs The Philippines is one of world’s seventeen mega-diverse Over the past century, the islands that make up the Philippines have lost nearly three-quarters of their mangrove forests. “Asphalt is often the last harvest for many forests,” the late National Scientist Dioscoro Umali, a Ramon Magsaysay Award recipient, once said. In the case of the mangroves as seawall in Manila Bay, “there will be minimal need for maintenance plus the added bonus that this will bring back fishes and crustaceans back to Manila Bay which would be a boon to all the marginal fishermen from Manila, Paranque, Las Pinas, Cavite and even Bataan.”. It happened to New Buswang, the flood-prone barangay of Kalibo, Aklan. The said statement, according to veteran journalist Marites Dañguilan-Vitug, is a “doublespeak.”  In an article she wrote for “World Paper,” a Boston-based magazine, she explained: “For, in reality, over 20 years (1965-1985) he used his power to grant and revoke licenses of logging concessions to enrich himself, his family and his friends. Recent satellite images analyses indicated that Mindanao has the most mangrove areas in the country (29 percent of the country’s total) while Luzon and Mindoro had the least. Today, it is considered “a wood-pauper,” to quote the words of multi-awarded journalist Juan Mercado. 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