Quezon seen as PH mangrove havenBy Delfin T. Mallari Jr.
Inquirer Southern Luzon
LUCENA CITY—In five years, Quezon will be known as the Philippine’s “mangrove haven” with the high survival rate of more than two-million propagules that were mass-planted along the province’s coastal areas in June, an environment official here said on Friday.
Manny Calayag, community coordinator of the Quezon-Environment and Natural Resources Office (Quezon-Enro), said the latest compiled report of their monitoring teams showed an average of 80-percent survival rate of the planted propagules.
He said the coastal residents were taking care of the propagules to ensure their growth as a result of the education campaign on the importance of the mangrove being waged by the Quezon-Enro.
“Barring any major typhoons at this early stage of their growth, Quezon will soon be known as the most mangrove-rich province of the country in the next five years,” Calayag said.
On June 30, Gov. David Suarez led thousands of volunteers in the historic massive planting of more than two-million mangrove propagules in a single day along the province’s 1,066-kilometer coastline.
Quezon is the eighth-largest province in the country with an area of 892,601 hectares.
Some of the newly planted mangroves along Lamon Bay that were hit by recent typhoons suffered a minor mortality rate when some propagules were destroyed by strong waves, according to Calayag.
“The positive side of it was that the coastal villagers themselves were the ones requesting for new propagules to replace the destroyed ones,” Calayag said as he showed several documents all requesting new mangroves for planting.
He said their office, in coordination with the city government, has also started preparing to replace the fully grown mangroves illegally cut from a 1-hectare coastal area in Barangay Salinas here early this month.
Calayag said volunteer planters were just waiting for the go-signal from their office to join the planting of mangroves in the villages facing Tayabas Bay.
“We will now protect the mangroves in our place. That massive cutting will never happen again,” Salinas fisherman Jose Carlos told the Inquirer as he unloaded his day’s catch at the fish port in Barangay Dalahican on Thursday.
Carlos said the village fishermen made a pact among themselves to remain vigilant in defending the remaining mangroves in the village.
Mangrove forests, also known as the “rainforest of the sea,” are an important part of the marine ecosystem, as the roots of the trees provide shelter for marine life while their fallen leaves become feed for fish and other marine animals.
Cutting of mangrove trees is banned by Presidential Decree No. 705 or the Forestry Code of the Philippines and Republic Act No. 8550, otherwise known as the Philippine Fisheries Code.
Charcoal production and commercial fishponds are being tagged as among the major causes of mangrove tree depletion in Quezon’s coastal areas.
To protect the mangrove areas and its fragile forest, the provincial board in a resolution early this month prohibited charcoal production using wood products in any parts of the province.
The demand for wood charcoal, especially those from mangroves, has increased as a result of the roast pig business in Metro Manila and other parts of the country preferring to use wood charcoal.