Updated: Dec 3, 2018
DID YOU KNOW? Mangrove ecosystem has the capacity to mitigate large amounts of CO2 with each tree absorbing up to 1 tonne of CO2 in its 50-year lifetime which is up to 5 times more efficient than typical rainforest trees. The Mangroves, as well as other wetlands, absorb most carbon through soils, rather than terrestrial forests' trees - (scientificamerican.com). Although they occupy just a fraction of the world’s surface, mangrove forests are among the most carbon-rich habitats on the planet. Moreover, mangroves protect coastlines, treat polluted waters, provide livelihoods and resources for some of the world’s poorest people and are home to an impressive number of species – many of which are commercially important. It’s been suggested that the majority of the global fish catch relies, either directly or indirectly, on mangroves.
But our mangrove ecosystem is in real trouble. "Over the past four decades 35% of global Mangrove forests have been destroyed" - (conservation.org). A World Bank study found that the removal of the typical coastal wetland has added about 2,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per square kilometer per year to the atmosphere over 50 years (ClimateWire, April 12, 2011).
HUMANS have become adept at destroying natural habitats. Indeed, we’re so good at it we’ve changed the very makeup and climate of our planet. Not to mention destroying their natural watercourses and polluting the ground they grow in.
In the Philippines for example, mangrove forests have dramatically decreased in area since the start of the century when about 400,000 to 500,000 ha of mangrove stand existed (Brown & Fisher 1918). By 2000, only 256,185 ha were left (PMC Isodata ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). This represents a 50% reduction of the country’s total mangrove forest.
In the province of Palawan, Philippines, there are 63,532 ha of mangrove forest, with 23 mangrove species under 11 families in 2010 (PCSD 2015). Although Palawan is declared as a Mangrove Forest Reserve through Presidential Proclamation 2152 in 1981 (http://www.gov.ph/1981/12/29/proclamation-no-2152-s-1981), its mangrove forests are still under threats by the following: shoreline development, cutting of mangrove trees for firewood and charcoal making, materials for building houses, erosion, siltation, pollution, and conversion to fishpond.
The importance of mangroves however, is increasingly being recognized and efforts are underway to restore mangroves as coastal greenbelts and rehabilitate abandoned fishponds and shrimp ponds. Through partnering with a local non-profit organizations, which empowers local inhabitants to protect their environment and actively participate in the tree-planting programs, we were able to support their work to create community-based solutions on mangrove conservation and healthy wetlands.
With the help of our dear friends, conservationist, planet physicians and community development enthusiasts, we were able to support some of the most important activities to protect and expand our mangrove ecosystem. And that is through "Mangrove Tree Planting". To ensure the ecological value of this project, a proper risk assessment and consultation of mangrove restoration experts is carefully considered.
The happy volunteers planting mangrove (Rhizophora stylosa Local name: bakhaw) propagules.
Above is the location of the 4th quarter tree planting program last November 16, 2018.
Could mangroves be the heroes we need to save us from climate change? Yes Indeed. Protecting them, a recent study says, could yield climate benefits, biodiversity conservation and protection for local economies for a nominal cost.
The knowledge that mangroves could both benefit from a changing climate and protect us from some of its worst effects demands a renewed vigour in promoting these wetlands. At Grove, we know that it is time to act towards saving our planet and be the ecosystem physicians, giving healing to healable habitats like mangroves and give nature back what it deserves best.
Spread the word and make a difference.
Many thanks to Mr. Ben Herrera for coordinating with POs and making this event worthsome.