Mangrove and beach forests among Iloilo coastal towns, once ravaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, has gotten stronger after its reforestation which began in the latter part of 2013.
An eighty six percent (86%) accomplishment in the implementation of Mangrove and Beach Forests Development Program (MBFDP) by the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO)–Iloilo was validated by a third party validating team, conducted last February 19–23, 2016. The results of the said validation are recently relayed to PENRO Iloilo during an exit conference.
PENRO Iloilo implemented the MBFDP in eighteen (18) sites covering 811 hectares among the coastal towns of Btac. Nuevo, Dumangas, Ajuy and Concepcion. The mangrove and beach forest plantations attained a survival rate of 86 percent.
The third party validating team has made three recommendations to further improve mangrove survival, namely: 1. Avoid planting on non-plantable areas such as boat passage ways, seagrass beds and rocky areas; 2. Put fences to protect the area from goats and other stray animals; and 3. Monitor the areas regularly, remove filamentous algae or lumot and barnacles.
“We have worked hard to strengthen the coastal areas especially those damaged by typhoon Yolanda since we do not want to have a repeat of what happened. Our field personnel wasted no time in implementing the project, seeing that it is a must. We needed to protect not just properties, but more so the lives of the people,” stressed PENR Officer Raul Lorilla.
Yolanda-affected coastal areas in Region 6 were identified by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and were included in its MBFDP, a component program under the National Greening Program (NGP). It was implemented by DENR Region 6 in December 2013, a month after super typhoon Yolanda ravaged most of the coastal towns in Northern Iloilo.
With balding mangrove forests, there was nothing to serve as wind and water breaker in coastal areas, thus the tragedy occurred. The event has since become an eye opener to the government and the people in general.
Aside from being “guardians of the coasts”, mangroves serve as valuable nursery areas for shrimp, crustaceans, mollusks and fishes. It also helps prevent soil erosion by stabilizing sediments using their tangled root systems. They filter pollutants and trap sediments originally from land and thus maintain water quality and clarity.
“The first lines of defense of our coastal areas are the mangrove forests. It has since served as the wind and storm breaker. It seems we have forgotten that one important thing and we have left off the rehabilitation of mangrove areas. Now we know better and through our MBFDP implementation, we are strengthening mangrove and beach forests not only in Region 6 but the whole country,” said Regional Director Jim O Sampulna of DENR 6.
As to the importance of rehabilitating mangrove and beach forests, DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje stressed that “they serve as natural barriers against tsunamis, storm surges and other wave action and therefore should be preserved and not destroyed.
This is a press release from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources