HARIBON Foundation together with the Maralitang Mangingisda ng Munting Sabang Association (MMMSA), Municipal Government of Infanta and the Sangguniang Barangay of Dinahican planted 3,500 of mangrove seedlings to restore one hectare of mangrove forest in Brgy. Dinahican, Infanta, Quezon Province.
Mangroves are a vital component of the coastal and marine ecosystems that consist of sea grass and coral reefs—homes of marine wildlife. They serve as barrier from storm surges, waves, tides and current, act as carbon sink by reducing organic pollution along shore areas, stabilize the coastline by reducing erosion, and serve as recreational grounds for wildlife enthusiasts. Mangroves are daily faced with natural dangers like typhoons, pests and diseases, and rising sea levels due to global warming, and yet the biggest threats are man-made.
In the case of Infanta, rampant illegal activities such as kindling cutting for the following purposes—charcoal making, local wine or lambanog making and other domestic needs like backyard fencing, dynamite blasting for easy mass fish kill, and conversion of the site into fish ponds, the mangrove is at great risk of total devastation.
This could greatly impact not only the biodiversity that thrives in this area but also humans who directly depend on its biological and socio-economic benefits. Without the mangrove ecosystem’s support, disasters would significantly increase to an extent where more lives would be endangered. And that is exactly what the residents are most fearful of, to go through the same harrowing experience once more.
In fact in 2004, the Quezon Province became the headline news of a horrific tragedy when Typhoon Winnie devastated the towns of Real, General Nakar and Infanta that killed more than 1,500 due to flashfloods and land slide that submerged the region with an estimated 15 to 20 feet flood height.
The locals then began to realize the immeasurable value of forests and mangroves in their daily activities and survival. Through Haribon Foundation’s community Information Education and Communication or IEC drives, the communities were bolstered to take action particularly in mangrove restoration. In turn, they became supportive of one another as the transformation progresses. They also became active in protecting the mangroves they continuously restore.
This is a three-year project supported by Birdlife International Tokyo and Ricoh Company, Ltd. to bring back the community’s mangrove ecosystem, support biodiversity and to reduce impact brought about by climate change. It provides MMMSA the opportunity to share in ensuring the gradual restoration of mangrove forest in Brgy. Dinahican, Infanta. MMMSA also receives livelihood and operations support through the funds allocated from the project for the production and maintenance of seedlings in a nursery, out-planting of hardened seedlings including the three-year maintenance. This undertaking further encourages them to reduce human pressure to the ecosystem and be financially independent without resorting to prohibited activities.
“Kami po ay taos pusong nagpapasalamat sa Haribon Foundation, BirdLife at Ricoh sa walang sawang pagtulong at binigyan nila kami ng magandang project. Ang aming mga miyembro ay dedikado para sa ikakaganda pa ng proyekto,” says Eduardo Grizola Sr., MMMSA president.
Haribon along with its community and organization partners envision this project as a long-term solution to mitigate climate change effects and sustain the various ecosystems that mangroves offer.
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