Principles on Mangrove and Beach Forest Rehabilitation in the Philippines

August 8, 2017 | Author: Dazzle Labapis | Category: Mangrove, Restoration Ecology, Ecosystem Services, Beach, Forests
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Launched by Rehabilitating Ecosystems and Livelihoods Affected by Yolanda (RELAY), these principles are disseminated for...


Principles on Mangrove and Beach Forest Protection and Rehabilitation Rationale Super Typhoon Haiyan wrought havoc along the coastal areas of Eastern Visayas, and the northern ends of Cebu, Panay and Palawan. Although some areas reported up to 80% loss, most mangrove forests were untouched or only partially damaged and are recovering. Some coastal villages were protected from the destructive wind and waves by existing mangrove stands that acted as buffers. Mangroves and beach forests (Primavera and Sadaba, 2012) protect coastal areas from storm surges, waves and strong winds. In addition to wave attenuation, these forests have important ecological functions that support the livelihoods of coastal communities. The protection and rehabilitation of mangrove forests and other ecosystems are essential to the recovery and resiliency of coastal communities.

Restoration of mangroves and beach forests Restoration or rehabilitation has been defined by the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER, 2002) as the process of assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged or destroyed. Restoration or rehabilitation may be recommended when an ecosystem has been altered to such an extent that it can no longer self-correct or self-renew. Under such conditions, ecosystem functions have been severely degraded and the normal processes of natural recovery from damage are inhibited. Site specific and appropriate restoration and management approaches should be considered as part of integrated coastal area management. Mangroves cannot be restored, rehabilitated and protected in isolation from other coastal and upstream processes. The participation of local stakeholders, especially community members, is critical to the success of rehabilitation efforts. Ensure consultation with and participation of local stakeholders in all mangrove rehabilitation, protection and management activities.

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Protection of Recovering Mangroves Despite apparent damage to coastal areas, mangroves are resilient and are able to recover naturally without human intervention. We have documented regrowth of leaves on bare trunks and branches in natural mangrove stands as early as a few weeks post-Yolanda to as late as 4-5 months after the super typhoon. If unavoidable, cleaning of large debris, such as nets, timber, and plastic materials may be done in mangrove areas. As much as possible, they should be left to act as tree guards to naturally recovering trees and emerging seedlings. As they represent the present generation of mangroves, surviving stands should be protected and maintained. Take note of available seeds or wildlings which will contribute to the future generation of mangroves. Both surviving trees and seedlings indicate that mangroves are recovering and should be protected. Local communities shall be engaged in mangrove monitoring and protection. Such activities may be integrated into the regular activities of fishermen or deliberately planned as part of a cash-for-work program

Mangroves and Beach Forests Protection and Rehabilitation Basic Considerations In critical areas, establish protection forests using mangroves and beach forests. A protection forest is developed primarily to keep an area safe from damaging wave action, and also to provide additional refuge for fauna. These forests are not meant to be harvested but to maintain ecological processes, including among others, the capture and storage of carbon. Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR) or planting can restore full cover in 3-5 years and should be applied if the need for rehabilitation is urgent, as natural regeneration (NR) takes 15-20 years to restore mangroves. Mangrove plantations should be considered only in areas where regeneration is not possible. Mangroves should not be planted on mudflats (where migratory birds feed) nor on seagrass beds. Stakeholders should aspire to meet the required 4:1 mangrove-fishpond ratio for ecological sustainability (Saenger et al., 1983).

pg. 2 Principles on Mangrove and Beach Forest Protection and Rehabilitation

Site Selection, Planting and Maintenance Since most planting in the country is done along shorelines exposed to strong waves, it is important to prioritize areas with mangrove stands at present or in the past. Conditions for growth and regeneration may be suitable in these areas. Site assessments are important in evaluating mangroves. It is important to have baseline information on a given mangrove site. If there are no previous assessments, mangrove and beach forests site assessment must be conducted to guide rehabilitation. Immediate assessments must be done right after a severe disturbance to evaluate the conditions of mangroves and beach forests. Assessments must also be done four to six months after a severe disturbance to examine the extent of regeneration of mangroves. The information generated from these assessments shall provide evidence-based recommendations on mangrove and beach forest rehabilitation and management. Site identification should be based on tidal elevation, type of substrate, presence of mangroves, absence of sea grass beds, and coastal resource use practices in the area. It is important to assess tidal elevation and hydrology (duration and frequency of tidal inundation) to determine suitable planting areas and species. Abandoned fishponds reverted to mangroves give much higher survival rates (than seafront planting) and should be prioritized. Choose species of mangroves based on those that are naturally found in the area, and on elevation, water salinity, substrate and other site characteristics. The use of nurseries to grow mangrove seedlings for 4 to 6 months ensures a reliable source of planting materials of the required species and quantities at the appropriate planting time. Nurseries can provide sturdy plants with lower outplanting mortality compared to lower survival of directly planted propagules. Schedule the planting activity during the season of least wave action and consult a tidal calendar to determine the best time to plant during the day. Planting should start from the landward portion in a seaward direction rather than the opposite. Apply strip planting of a few rows, add new rows progressively if the first rows show good growth and survival. Maintenance activities during regular visits include removal of debris, barnacles and other pests, installation of fences and other structures to protect the young plants. Replacement of dead and dying plants should be done regularly (i.e. quarterly). Meaningfully engage local communities in mangrove protection, planting, maintenance and monitoring. They are in the best position to take responsibility and care for mangroves, as de facto onsite managers. The mere number of propagules or seedlings planted should not be considered indicators for successful mangrove rehabilitation. Monitor mangrove rehabilitation areas over time using simple, empirical and standardized techniques which can involve communities and LGUs. Monitoring of mangrove rehabilitation should be until 3 years from planting (or at first maturity/reproduction) and should engage local communities. pg. 3 Principles on Mangrove and Beach Forest Protection and Rehabilitation

Sustainability Support partnerships and co-management arrangements involving local communities, civil society groups, the private sector and government as these are essential to achieving long-term results. Build the capacity for mangrove conservation of coastal communities and local government units through participatory learning activities and support from local academia and/or scientific groups. Implement interventions that improve the livelihood of coastal communities, preferably by providing more income diverse, alternative livelihood opportunities, to reduce the pressures on mangrove and other coastal resources. The full ecological and economic value of mangrove ecosystem goods and wealth accounting and value of ecosystem services should be estimated so that sound development planning decisions can be made. Sustaining mangroves means sustaining communities. As mangrove managers, the short-term and long-term needs for community welfare should be provided. To enhance community ownership over the mangroves, land tenure and resettlement issues must be addressed including other governance and institutional issues. Promote payments for ecological services (PES) to local communities who rehabilitate and otherwise manage mangroves. Incentive/reward mechanisms such as PES/ecosystem services to local communities and volunteerism must be explored to address short-term and long term needs of communities.

Adoption and Action Institutional, organizational, and individual signatories to this “Principles on Mangrove and Beach Forest Protection and Rehabilitation” commit to adopt, live by, and act in accordance to the said Principles. Moreover, the signatories pledge to advance and integrate the Principles in their respective policies and procedures as well as in their program, projects and activities. Concretely, the signatories shall commit to contribute expertise, resources, and time to ensure that the Principles are applied in protecting and rehabilitating the mangroves and beach forests damaged by Yolanda as well as other future calamities that the country may yet again experience. Together, the signatories collectively aspire to see the Principles guide current and future actions as a concrete manifestation of the philosophy of “building back better”.

pg. 4 Principles on Mangrove and Beach Forest Protection and Rehabilitation

Sources: Melana, D.M., Atchue, J. III, Yao, C.E., Edwards, R., Melana, E.E., Gonzales, H.I, 2000. Mangrove Management Handbook. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Manila, Philippines through the Coastal Resource Management Project, Cebu, Philippines, 96 p. Primavera JH and RB Sadaba. 2012. Beach forest species and mangrove associates in the Philippines. SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department, Iloilo, Philippines and UNESCO Office, Jakarta. 157 p. Primavera JH, Savaris JD, Bajoyo B, Coching JD, Curnick DJ, Golbeque R, Guzman AT, Henderin JQ, Joven RV, Loma RA & Koldewey HJ. 2012. Manual for community-based mangrove rehabilitation – Mangrove Manual Series No. 1. London, UK: Zoological Society of London, viii + 240 p. philippines/ iucn-mangrove-specialist-group,2261,AR.html Saenger, P., Hegerl, E.J. and Davie, J.D.S. 1983. Global status of mangrove ecosystems. IUCN Commission on Ecology Papers No. 3. Gland, Switzerland, 88 p. Sinohin, V.O., Garcia, D.C., Baconguis, S.R., 1996. Manual on mangrove nursery establishment and development. Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, College, Laguna, Philippines, 18 pp.

pg. 5 Principles on Mangrove and Beach Forest Protection and Rehabilitation

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