DENR-13 set aside P71 million for mangrove rehab
By Eric Gallego
BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 28 (PIA) - DENR Caraga regional director Nonito M. Tamayo, on Monday, has announced that about P70 million was set aside for the rehabilitation of mangroves and beach forest in 1,938 hectares coastline and beaches in Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Dinagat province and Agusan del Norte.
Director Tamayo said the DENR shall rehabilitate the mangrove and beach forests particularly in the disaster-risk areas since they are considered effective natural defenses against calamities.
He said several teams of forest technicians were sent in those provinces to conduct site development, assessment and mapping were the mangrove propagules will be planted. Even the beach owners along the coasts of Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur including Siargao have been asked to participate in developing a beach forest. The rehabilitation program shall be supervised by the Ecosystem Research and Development Cluster Office headed by Forester Maricar Aguilos.
The Department of Budget and Management is expected to release this month the P1 billion budget for the project on top of the P6.8 billion fund allocated for massive reforestation activities under the National Greening Program (NGP) all over the country. Director Tamayo said the DENR is pursuing the rehabilitation of mangrove areas considering the devastation caused by strong typhoons that hit 171 cities and municipalities in the Visayas and Mindanao in previous years.
The mangrove forests extent in the country have dwindled to about 120,000 hectares over decades based on a study “Mangrove Rehabilitation in the Philippines” conducted by J.H. Primavera and J.M.A. Esteban. The study cited the expansion of fish and shrimp culture and pressure from growing population as the cause of decline.
The authors said there were attempts in the past years to rehabilitate mangrove forests but “the long-term survival rates have been founded to be generally low at 20 percent survival rates."
The poor survival was attributed to inappropriate species and site selections. “The favored but unsuitable Rhizophora are planted in sandy substrates of exposed coastlines instead of the natural colonizers Avicennia and Sonneratia,” the authors said.
“A wider policy direction is also needed to make mangrove rehabilitation more effective,” the study said. (DENR-13/PIA-Caraga)