mga bakawan sa Davila

mga bakawan sa Davila, Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte

The importance of mangroves

Mangroves, or bakawan, the backbone of tropical and sub-tropical ocean coastlines provide more than 10 percent of essential dissolved organic carbon that is supplied to the global ocean from land. These plants with finger-like roots protect coastal wetlands against the ocean; provide protection from typhoons, storm surges, erosion and deadly flooding like tsunamis; and serve as fish habitats

Mangrove forests in the Philippines

According to a report by Haribon Foundation, in the past 100 years, the Philippine mangrove forests have been reduced from 500,000 hectares to around 100,000 hectares with only 5% primary or old growth forest left. Mismanagement of coastal resources, a manifestation of economic and political symptoms, is to blame. Conversion into aquaculture ponds, urban and agriculture lands, beach resorts; timber poaching; exploitation of resources; destruction of coral reefs continue to contribute to their rapid decline.

Also, according to Haribon, there is no rational mangrove forest conservation program in the Philippines. However, there are some noteworthy efforts being done by local government units (LGUs), academe, NGOs and People’s Organizations (POs). These initiatives have been properly recognized but remain mostly as reforestation projects with single species or monoculture stands due to scarcity of information on the mangroves’ economic, ecological and aesthetic importance and how to manage them properly.

boat sanctuary?

boat sanctuary?

The mangroves in Davila, Pasuquin

In Ilocos Norte, the mangroves in Davila, Pasuquin face treat as there is no agency directly managing the area. The old DENR office within the area was beaten-up by typhoons in recent years. According to RTD (for forestry) Remilio Atabay, DENR lacks funds for its renovation. The LEAD Movement found a  fishing vessel docked among the mangrove trees in May 2006. Upon close inspection, trees were cut to accommodate the fishing vessel. The sighting was reported immediately to the Environment Committee Head of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Ilocos Norte and the PENRO. On Earth Day 2009, last April 22, part of the itinerary of the Earth Day Caravan, spearheaded by the DENR, in cooperation with various NGOs and the academe, was a visit to the Davila mangroves, as requested by the LEAD Movement. The same fishing vessel was still there on the same spot — an eyesore to the beautiful mangrove foliage landscape. The DENR officials announced it would immediately facilitate its removal.

DENR officials lecturing about mangroves

DENR officials lecturing about mangroves