April 5, 2014
TIGBAUAN TOWN, 20 kilometers south of the provincial capital Iloilo City launches today its ambitious program that aims to protect its people from calamities, restore its marine life and push back the sea.
Mayor Suzettee Tenefrancia Alquisada says the “beach reforestation program” aims to cover 10 hectares of buffer zone stretching through nine coastal barangays.
Gov. Arthur D. Defensor leads the launching this morning of the first beach reforestation project with the planting of 5,000 mangroves along the tidal flats and “mangrove cousins” in beaches unreached by tidal flow.
The seedling include “bakhaw”, talisay (Terminalia catappa), beach agoho (Casuarina equisetifolia), coconuts (cocos nucifera) and “kamunsil” (kamatsili or Pithecellobium dulce).
Some 1,500 volunteers this morning trooped to the venue the mouth of the Sibalom River. The gather turns out both into tree planting and some sort of forum with Defensor taking time narrating the success story of a fishing community in an island in Negros Occidental.
“Their lives as illegal fishers changed after enlisted them in beach regreening. “In less than two years, their daily catch of various marine products dramatically increased,” Defensor says.
This rown’s shoreline has been receeding as sea level rises. Past coastal reforestation program of the Iloilo provincial government focused largely on mangrove planting.
Defensor vows to replicate the project in other coastal towns. He represents Iloilo Province in the Visayas Sea Marine Bio-Diversity Coalition, which seeks to revive the worlds richest fishery area in terms of biodiversity.
Dr. Jurgenne J. Primavera, retired scientist from the South East Asia Fisheries Council, a consortium of East Asian countries, writes that mangroves and its cousins, beach forest trees, are crucial in mitigating the impact of global warming because “they sequester carbon and other green house gases 10 times more efficient than inland forests,” serve as better natural coolants.
Primavera, recipient of international awards for her studies on mangroves, now serves as consultant on mangroves for Norway.
Aside from that, they serve as “first line of defense” against floods, tsunamis, sea surges, storms, sea intrusions, and even pest and diseases. They reclaim the sea, serve as biofilter cleaning the water, and habitat and breeding ground of fishes, thus, ensuring food security.
Still, they are sources of fuel, housing materials, medicines, and fabrics, among others.
Alquisada says the beach reforestation program will continue after the provincial subsidy ends in 2016.