How important is mangrove conservation? Let us count the ways.
Addressing Global Warming. Mangroves are noted to outperform other trees and plants in their ability to store carbon (Wood 2019); thus able to reduce global warming.
Rich Biodiversity. The Philippines is known to be a country rich in biodiversity. It is home to many species of fauna and floras, many of which are dependent on habitats and nurseries that mangroves provide. The decrease in mangrove population causes an ecological imbalance for various flora and fauna, this including the lives of humans (Garcia, Gevaña, and Malabrigo 2013).
Photography by Phil Botha, Unsplash
Natural Coastal Defense
The Philippine islands are located in an area highly prone to storm surges and typhoons. Given the mangroves’ dense forests and thick roots, they provide an effective natural defense against storm surges and flooding (Wood 2019; AMNH 2012) for coastal communities.
Life by the Sea
With the Philippines geographically located between the Pacific Ocean and the West Philippine Sea, it comes as no surprise how the lives of Filipinos are tied to the water. With the culture and livelihood of communities residing near the sea, mangrove conservation provides different forms of resources and livelihood for future generations (Salampessy 2015).
Mangrove forests are sources of food and livelihood for people living near coastal areas. During high tides, mangroves are rich fishing grounds as the fish move to these areas to protect themselves. During low tide, clams, shellfish, and shrimps can be collected by locals in the area to eat or sell in markets (AMNH 2012). Having mangroves forests that are accessible to all, instead of converting it to private fishponds, can promote better food security and equity to all stakeholders.
Phorography by Hector Prequin, Jeremy Zero, Andrew Giorgia Doglioni, Unsplash
Livelihood. Mangroves generate valuable resources that people living in coastal areas rely on for livelihood. The seafood collected in the mangrove forests are sold by the fisherfolk to generate income. Moreover, mangroves provide fuel, medicines, tannins, and wood that can be sold in the market as well (Wood 2019).
Sustainable Eco-tourism. Preserving mangrove forests can attract tourists that could potentially generate income for the community. Paid recreational activities like sports fishing, kayaking, boating, and wildlife tours can help boost the local economy. Although, it must be held at sustainable levels to protect the ecosystem (Spalding and Parrett 2019).
Photography by James Thorton, Unsplash
Infographic by students of the Ateneo de Manila University, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
An overview of the importance of mangrove conservation in the ecological, sociocultural, political, and economic
AMNH. 2012. “The Importance of Mangrove Forests: Diverse Ecosystems | AMNH.” American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved July 13, 2021 (https://www.amnh.org/explore/videos/biodiversity/mangroves-the-roots-of-the-sea/why-mangroves-matter).
Garcia, Kristine, Dixon Gevaña, and Pastor Malabrigo. 2013. “Philippines’ Mangrove Ecosystem: Status, Threats, and Conservation.” Pp. 81-94 in Mangrove Ecosystems of Asia Status, Challenges, and Management Strategies. Edited by F.-H. I. Faridah-Hanum, A. Latiff, K.R. Hakeem, and M. Ozturk. New York, NY: Springer.
Salampessy, Messalina L., Indra G. Febryano, Edwin Martin, Martha E. Siahaya, and Renold Papilaya. 2015. “Cultural Capital of the Communities in the Mangrove Conservation in the Coastal Areas of Ambon Dalam Bay, Moluccas, Indonesia.” Procedia Environmental Sciences 23:222-2229. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.proenv.2015.01.034https://doi.org/10.1016/j.proenv.2015.01.034.
Spalding, Mark and Cara L. Parrett. 2019. “Global Patterns in Mangrove Recreation and Tourism.” Marine Policy 129. doi: 10.1016/j.marpol.2019.10354Wood, Johnny. 2019. “5 Reasons to Protect Mangrove Forests for the Future.” World Economic Forum. Retrieved July 13, 2021 (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/02/5-reasons-to-protect-mangrove-forests-for-the-future/).