Mangrove Ecosystem Services
Through this project the impoverished coastal communities will be able to utilise the environmental services that a healthy mangrove forest provides such as:
Food, nesting and nursery grounds
Many animals including commercially important fish, prawns and crabs spend a part of their lives sheltering and feeding in the complex network of mangrove roots or nesting and hunting on the substrates formed by the mangroves, supplying coastal communities with a sustainable food source.
Improved access to safe water and sanitation
Mangroves are the Earth's natural filtering system, capable of absorbing pollutants such as heavy metals and other toxic substances, as well as nutrients and suspended matter (e.g. sewage).
Not only this but they facilitate soil accretion thus stabilising the coastline by catching sediment washed downstream. This essential service helps to protect coral reefs and seagrasses that have developed a dependent relationship with mangroves over thousands of years.
Corals and seagrasses need clear water in order to feed, photosynthesise and thrive creating yet more habitat for all manner of marine creatures.
Reduced vulverability to environmental shocks and stresses
Mangroves and coral reefs form natural barriers which provide shore protection both under normal sea conditions and during typhoons.
At least 70-90% of the energy of wind-generated waves is absorbed by mangroves depending on their health and maturity. Mangroves also provide a buffering capacity to tsunamis for which Panay is a high risk zone.
This was demonstrated in late June when Typhoon Fengshen (Frank) ripped through the Philippines hitting the shores of Panay Island and devastating the provinces of Iloilo, Aklan and Capiz. According to the Provincial Government of Iloilo the typhoon caused injury to 1,011 people, killed 135 people with 69 still missing in Iloilo alone as well as capsizing the passenger ferry 'Princess of Stars' killing 800 of the 850 people on board.
The storm caused P 1.7 billion in damage to property and destroyed P 500 million crops throughout the Philippines, killing over 1000 people in total and leaving thousands stranded and homeless.
Carbon dioxide absorbtion
Mangroves absorb carbon dioxide, storing carbon in their sediments therefore lessening the impact of global warming.
By reinstating the buffering capacities of the coastal mangroves and the legally mandated 'green-belt' along the inlets, the reverted mangroves will reduce the vulnerability of the coastal communities to environmental shocks and stresses caused by storms and typhoons.
It will also help with the constant coastal erosion leading to property loss and improve water quality for associated marine ecosystems, providing safe haven and nursery grounds for important marine species.
Mangroves not only supply a rich and diverse habitat for wildlife but indigenous peoples have relied upon mangroves for thousands of years to sustainably provide:
- Construction materials
All of these natural ecosystem services will improve access to food resources and increased income for the coastal communities through sustainable livelihood initiatives.