Community-based Mangrove Rehabilitation Project in the Philippines
Panay Island, in the Western Visayas of the Philippines, used to be home to over 12,400 hectares of lush mangrove forests. However, extensive clearing to make way for fish/shrimp ponds has left them as little more than barren coastlines and muddy fish ponds with only 300 hectares remaining in 1988.
This has not only had disastrous consequences for biodiversity but has robbed the local communities of this island of their livelihoods and natural resources.
ZSL has joined forces with the Department of Environment and Natural resources (DENR) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in the Philippines to implement a demonstration project for successful mangrove rehabilitation. ZSL has already been working in this area for over 10 years delivering sustainable resource management through Project Seahorse . Through the experience and knowledge gained from our existing work with the Philippines coastal communities and the coastal and marine environment, a need for mangrove rehabilitation was identified and ZSL’s Community-based Mangrove Rehabilitation Project (CMRP) began in 2008.
This project supports the coastal communities in the Aklan, Capiz and Iloilo Provinces of Panay. We hope to revert 80 hectares of idle fishponds and rehabilitate deforested coastal areas back to mangrove forestland.This will provide the local communities with increased coastal protection, food resources and income through the sustainable and equitable forest management.
We have three different strategies:
- Eco-tourism sites set up by ZSL to help restore the mangrove forests and generate income for the community.
- Establish greenbelt sites for mangroves by planting seedlings that hopefully will eventually form successful mangrove forests.
- Cancellation of existing FLAs (Fishpond Lease Agreements) on abandoned fishponds obtaining the tenurial rights for the coastal communities to manage the resources sustainably through Community-based Forest Management Agreements.
With participation from community groups, capacity building at all levels from governmental to the fishpond operators and building alliances throughout the entire network, this project will leave a lasting legacy for sustainable management in future generations. As a successful demonstration project, this will set a precedent within the Philippines. Through our promotion it will influence government opinion that it is possible to re-establish government mandated greenbelt, coastal protection and the ecosystem services that mangroves provide.
A boardwalk created as part of an eco-tourism site
ZSL's eco-tourism sites in the Philippines
ZSL's recovery of FLA sites in the Philippines
ZSL's greenbelt sites in the Philippines
A newly planted mangrove sapling.