Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mangrove protection

8/23/11 - DAPA, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte, Philippines – Government officials and environmentalist groups pooled their resources to protect the mangrove forest plantations in Northeastern Mindanao, particularly on Siargao Island where the vast mangrove plantations are located.

Efforts to conserve and protect these vast mangrove forests are being undertaken through intensive information drive regarding its importance.

In some parts of the region, these mangrove forests continue to disappear due to continued use of mangrove as firewood.

On this island alone, about 8,600 hectares of mangrove forests already exists, and considered as one of the biggest mangrove forest reserves in Mindanao.

With this, more than 4,000 hectares are found in the municipalities of Del Carmen and San Benito in the province of Surigao del Norte.

Fringing contiguous mangrove forest is also found in the municipalities of Dapa, Pilar, San Isidro, General Luna, Santa Monica, and Socorro, all of Siargao Island.

Local government unit officials, non-government organizations and concerned government agencies also conducted patrolling, and reforestation and rehabilitation projects in all mangrove areas in the region, especially on this island.

Found on sheltered coastlines and rivers deltas, mangroves grow in brackish wetlands between land and sea where other plants can’t grow.

They protect the coastline and prevent erosion by collecting sediment from the streams and slowing down the flow of water.

Mangroves also have important ecological functions as well as economic uses.

These include: protection of the shoreline, sea grass beds, and coral reefs; nursery for some species of fish, shrimps, and mud crabs; and provide food and sanctuary for other marine life.

Meanwhile, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) also intensified the protection of marine flora and fauna on this island.

Just recently, a big number of marine turtles were returned to the sea by local officials.

Surigao Island is endowed with rich marine flora and fauna, where the sea grass serves as the haven and refuge of marine fauna.

They are important as nurseries for fish, shrimps, lobsters, scallops, and other valuable invertebrates.

Dugong, marine turtles, some sea urchins, fishes and invertebrates feed directly on this habitat.

Sightings of dugong and reports of confiscation of marine turtles are indications that this place is a viable habitat of these endangered species.

The beaches and coastal areas of Siargao and Bucas Grande Island are known to be home of the four marine turtles out of the seven species in the world.

Marine turtles play major roles in nutrients recycling of the marine ecosystem.

They graze on sea grass that helps in the formation of fresh, young leaves with higher nutritional content.

Over the time, these grazed areas offer food and shelter to various small organisms, including small fishes/fingerlings.

All marine turtles serve as nutrient exporters from their foraging habitats to their resting and nesting ground.

It was learned that the population of sea turtle has rapidly declined in the world.

Heavy demand for turtle by-products as wall d├ęcor, jewelry pieces, guitars, bags and shoes, egg poaching, pawikan hunting, and loss of nesting sites threatened the remaining stocks of the sea turtles. (Manila Bulletin)

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