Rehabilitating Mangroves in the Philippines

Planting mangroves in the Philippines

World Parks Congress logoZSL has been working in collaboration with the IUCN SSC Mangrove Specialist Group to produce a statement for the 2014 World Parks Congress: Mangroves: Protect, Restore, Expand. Please follow the link to read the full statement.

Mangrove forests are one of the most severely threatened and undervalued ecosystems on Earth. They provide a wide variety of ecosystem services currently valued globally at US$1.6 billion. For many coastal communities, mangrove ecosystems provide livelihoods, essential sources of protein and coastal protection. Compelling evidence suggests that mangroves play an important role in climate stabilisation, possessing a carbon storage and sequestration potential considered to be greater than that of tropical forests.

Mangrove forest at low tide, Philippines
Mangrove forest at low tide, Philippines

Mangroves are being cleared at an alarming rate and there are numerous threats to these forests, including; land development, pollution, deforestation for fuel and climate change. One of the major reasons for the loss of mangroves has been to establish fishponds for aquaculture. It has been estimated that since 1980 between 20 and 35% of global mangroves have been lost, with current losses around 1% per year. The last IUCN assessment highlighted that more than one in six mangrove species are currently under threat of extinction.

ZSL’s mangrove work is currently focused in the Philippines, where over 50% of mangroves have been lost. The recent super-typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) has highlighted the vital role mangroves play as nature’s bioshields for vulnerable coastal communities. ZSL is working to protect the remaining mangroves and restore lost forests, especially through fishpond reversion, helping to ensure greater food security, improved protection against natural disasters and increased household incomes for local communities.

 

ZSL-led projects in the Philippines have rehabilitated and protected over 100 hectares of abandoned fishpond mangroves - around the size of 140 football pitches!

 

Rehabilitating Mangroves

ZSL started its mangrove rehabilitation work in 2007 through the Community-based Mangrove Rehabilitation Project (CMRP), with the aim of increasing coastal protection, food resources and diversifying livelihood options. This was achieved through empowering local communities to protect remaining mangrove forests and developing science-based methods for communities to rehabilitate lost forest sites. Over a four year period, close to 100,000 mangroves were planted, with the rehabilitation of 107.8 hectares of mangrove forest well underway. This project resulted in manuals that provide detailed biological and socioeconomic guidance on community-based mangrove rehabilitation and on fishpond reversion to mangroves.

Fishponds to mangroves

In the Philippines, most mangrove forests were lost due to the creation of fishponds for commercial fish and shrimp farming. Often these fishponds are then left abandoned and by law, this should mean they are returned to the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources for reversion. Unfortunately this rarely happens. ZSL has been working to have these Fishpond Lease Agreements (FLAs) cancelled and new healthy mangrove forests to be cultivated at these abandoned pond sites. Our focus has been in Panay, Philippines, which has the highest area of fishponds in the Philippines. We have developed a technical manual demonstrating methods for fishpond reversion. 

Collared kingfisher sitting in mangrove, Philippines
Mangroves are home to an enormous diversity of species, like this collared kingfisher

Mangrove ecotourism

ZSL helped establish a mangrove eco-park in Panay, Philippines:  The Kantunggan It Ibajay Eco-park in Aklan has over 1km of boardwalks for visitors to explore the extraordinarily diverse mangrove forest and associated wildlife. Highlights of this eco-park are the centuries old mangroves in the centre of the forest which are over eight metres in diameter. This eco-park is managed by local community groups and helps raise awareness of the importance of mangroves, while providing valuable additional income for the local communities who manage the park. A second mangrove eco-park is under construction in Pedada, Ajuy, which is also on Panay island.  

Mangroves in Marine Protected Areas

ZSL is taking a new approach by integrating mangroves into marine protected areas (MPAs). Current MPAs are largely focussed on coral reefs with the average size on an MPA in the Philippines of between 10-30 hectares. By adopting a strategy of combining mangroves, seagrasses and coral reefs the average size of these MPAs has increased to around 400 hectares. So far ZSL have successfully integrated mangroves into six MPA sites in Panay and Bohol.

Mangrove and Beach Forest training course 

ZSL-Philippines has built a solid track record of 21 training courses on mangrove rehabilitation over the past six years, graduating more than 1000 participants from various institutions and organisations. 

The Mangrove and Beach Forest training course is a three-day course, which aims to enable communities to become more resilient to natural disasters, using the science-based protocols for the protection and restoration of their coastal greenbelt through a series of lectures and field visits.

The Training of Trainers course is a five-day programme, which includes a series of lectures, group exercises, field visits and practicum sessions. It aims to build the capacity of the participants to train mangrove workers, practitioners, people’s organisations and advocates using science-based protocols in mangrove and beach forest conservation and rehabilitation. Find out more

Project information

Manuals

ZSL's team of mangrove researchers have published the following manuals:

IUCN SSC Mangrove Specialist Group

Established in 2013, the IUCN SSC Mangrove Specialist Group (MSG) aims to support mangrove research and conservation projects by bringing together experts in the field to share their knowledge. Hosted by ZSL, the group aims to assess the conservation status of mangroves; identify, quantify and prioritise threats; and develop plans to conserve the most threatened species and habitats.

IUCN Mangrove Specialist Group Statement for 2014 World Parks Congress: Mangroves: Protect, Restore, Expand

PDF icon IUCN Mangrove Specialist Group Statement for 2014 World Parks Congress: Mangroves: Protect, Restore, Expand (188.41 KB)

People involved

Dr Heather Koldewey is the Head of Marine and Freshwater

Godofredo Villapando is the Philippines Country Manager

Dr Jurgenne Primervera is the ZSL Cheif Scientific Mangrove Advisor

Ana Pinto is the Conservation for Communities Projects Co-ordinator

Dr Nicholas Hill is the Conservation for Communities Technical Specialist

Surshti Patel is the Junior Conservation for Communities Technical Specialist

Partners and sponsors

Department of Environment and Natural Resources; Bureau of Aquatic Resources

Kindly sponsored by: Big Lottery Fund; GIZ ACCCoast initiative; Waterloo Foundation; Darwin Initiative; International Institute of Rural Reconstruction  (IIRR); Philippines Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation, American Forests. 

Mangrove and Beach Forest Training Course

ZSL-Philippines has built a solid track record of 21 training courses on mangrove rehabilitation over the past six years, graduating more than 1000 participants. Find out more about our courses and how to apply:  2018 MBFRC Training Application (1.68 MB)

IUCN SSC Mangrove Specialist Group logos

The recently established IUCN SSC Mangrove Specialist Group, aims to support mangrove research and conservation projects by bringing together experts in the field to share their knowledge. Hosted by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the group aims to; assess the conservation status of mangroves; identify, quantify and prioritise threats; and develop plans to conserve the most threatened species and habitats.


**Annual Mangrove Symposium of the IUCN-SCC Mangrove Specialist Group **

***UPDATE***

The MSG meeting following the mangrove symposium at Bremen was attended by 14 MSG members as well as Olivier Hasinger and Dorothy Herr from IUCN. Heather Koldewey and Olivier participated via internet video link. Dom Wodehouse was also invited to contribute to our discussion on mangrove restoration related to the Global Mangrove Alliance (GMA) - the main topic of the meeting. Dorothy gave an informative introduction to the GMA, and members expressed views on how the MSG could contribute to this initiative, mainly as advisors for scientific matters. 

The discussion then focussed on the renewal process and tasks (e.g. Red List workshop) for the 2017-20 new quadriennium, potential locations for future symposia, and special issues for scientific papers presented at the Bremen meeting. 

IUCN MSG Group Photo Bremen
IUCN MSG Group Photo Bremen


Our very own Aldrie Amir had an article publised in Science Magazine in March of this year

Given the increasing threats from global climate change, and mangroves' outstanding ability to efficiently fix and store atmostpheric carbon, Malaysia must waste no time in making plans to fully conserve all remaining mangroves.

PDF icon Aldrie Amir - Mitigate risk for Malaysia's mangroves (145.34 KB)

 


IMPORTANT DATES 2018/2019

Below you will find a snapshot of this month's important dates for anything mangrove related. The full calendar is available in the useful documents section. 

IUCN SG Dates July 2018
IUCN SG Dates July 2018