Happy World Mangrove Day!
It’s the International Day for the Conservation of Mangrove Ecosystems! To celebrate, we wanted to highlight some of the important ecosystem services that mangrove forests provide.
In the Philippines, mangrove environments are a notable aspect of society. First and foremost, mangrove forests are known by many names: “bakhawan” in Tagalog, “parakad” in Ilokano, “katunggan” in Bisaya, and a lot more! Second, many coastal communities around the country rely on mangroves for livelihood and protection against natural disasters. Yet, mangroves are vulnerable to destructive human activities such as waste pollution and the conversion of natural mangrove stands to fishponds and other developments. They are also indirectly affected by human-induced climate change due to the strengthening of typhoons and sea level rise.
We want people to see that mangroves have value that extend further than what the public perceives. They are one of the best ecosystems that can sequester (capture and store) carbon dioxide, a well-known greenhouse gas, that contributes to global warming and an altered climate. They serve as an important habitat to a variety of marine species, giving refuge to our biodiversity. They can filter waste water discharged to our rivers and seas and have potential in the sustainable ecotourism industry.
Although one may usually perceive mangroves as stinky and muddy areas, they sure are worth protecting!
Baloloy AB, Blanco AC, Sta. Ana RRC, Nadaoka K. 2020. Development and applicaton of a new mangrove vegetation index (MVI) for rapid and accurate mangrove mapping. ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 166: 95-117. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.isprsjprs.2020.06.001
Salmo SG III, Malapit V, Garcia MCA, Pagkalinawan HM. 2019. Establishing rates of carbon sequestration in mangroves from an earthquake uplift event. Biology Letters 15:20180799. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2018.0799
Seriño MN, Ureta JC, Baldesco J, Galvez KJ, Predo C, and Seriño EK. 2017. Valuing the protection service provided by mangroves in typhoon-hit areas in the Philippines. EEPSEA Research Report No. 2017-RR19. Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia, Laguna, Philippines.