By Rudy A. Fernandez Updated January 25, 2009 12:00 AM
[ philstar.com ]
SAN FERNANDO, La Union – A program to rehabilitate the degraded mangrove ecosystem in La Union is on.
Launched by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Region 1, the program also aims to provide livelihood opportunities to people in the affected areas through the production of propagules (planting materials such as seeds, cuttings or spores) and fish culture.
The DENR researchers involved in the project will also undertake activities to enhance awareness of stakeholders on the importance of mangrove ecosystems and strengthen their partnership with the DENR, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and local government units (LGUs) on the protection and management of coastal environment.
The progress of the project was reported at the Ilocos Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (ILARRDEC) R&D symposium held recently in this city.
ILARRDEC is one of the government’s 14 regional R&D consortia coordinated by the Los Baños-based Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCARRD).
DOST-PCARRD, headed by executive director Patricio Faylon, is one of the project’s evaluators.
Dr. Leila Amorica of PCARRD reported that the project covers seven sites: Paraoir in Balaoan town; Talogtog, San Juan; Pugo, Bauang; Samara, Aringay; Sta. Rita Central, Agoo; Cupang, Sto. Tomas and Carlatan, all in this city.
DENR-Region 1 has so far rehabilitated and enriched degraded mangrove stands and plantations in these sites through the out-planting of about 100,000 mangrove seedlings.
The researchers recommended greater involvement of project cooperators, especially barangay councils and people’s organizations because they have the biggest role in the project.
“Regular monitoring, all-out collection/procurement of propagules and other planting materials, and stronger linkages with stakeholders and law enforcement agencies are also needed to ensure the complete rehabilitation and development of the mangrove ecosystems in the area,” they said.
In launching the project, DENR stressed that mangrove ecosystems protect coastlines; stabilize shorelines; serve as habitat nursery and breeding ground for different fish species, birds and other fauna; and provide fuel wood, timber and poles.