Mangroves are salt-tolerant trees, also called halophytes, and are adapted to life in harsh coastal conditions. They contain a complex salt filtration system and complex root system to cope with salt water immersion and wave action. They are adapted to the low oxygen (anoxic) conditions of waterlogged mud. Mangroves act as filters for water supply but they also reduce erosion, serve as nurseries for fish and nurture marine biodiversity. They can act as “carbon sinks,” which reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Because of all this they are some of the most productive, complex, and beneficial natural wonders of our planet.
One of those nature wonders you can find in Mindoro island in Puerto Galera. The mangrove conservation site in Puerto Galera is measuring 22 hectares, it is an eco-tourism destination and is a combined project by the provincial government, the embassy of Canada and organization called MFI, it is managed by community-based organisations of barangays Tabinay and Dulangan.
There are about 80 different species of mangrove trees. All of these trees grow in areas with low-oxygen soil, where slow-moving waters allow fine sediments to accumulate. Mangrove forests only grow at tropical and subtropical latitudes near the equator because they cannot withstand freezing temperatures.
Puerto Galera Mangrove Conservation is located on the way from Puerto Galera town to Dulangan on left side. It is not very visible and easy to find, so better use your waze or you might miss it. If you are truly nature lover, it is must visit once you are in Mindoro. Entrance fee is only 30 pesos.
Importance of mangrove forest.
– Mangroves are essential to maintaining water quality. With their dense network of roots and surrounding vegetation, they filter and trap sediments, heavy metals, and other pollutants. This ability to retain sediments flowing from upstream prevents contamination of downstream waterways and protects sensitive habitat like coral reefs and sea grass beds below. Source: A World Without Mangroves?
– Home to an incredible array of species, mangroves are biodiversity hotspots. They provide nesting and breeding habitat for fish and shellfish, migratory birds, and sea turtles. An estimated 80% of the global fish catch relies on mangrove forests either directly or indirectly.
– Mangroves are the first line of defense for coastal communities. They stabilize shorelines by slowing erosion and provide natural barriers protecting coastal communities from increased storm surge, flooding, and hurricanes. In 2003, it was estimated that a quarter of the world’s population lived within 100 kilometers of the coast and at 100 meters of sea level. Robust mangrove forests are natural protection for communities vulnerable both to sea level rise and the more intense and frequent weather events caused by climate change.
– Carbon storage. Mangroves “sequester carbon at a rate two to four times greater than mature tropical forests and store three to five times more carbon per equivalent area than tropical forests” like the Amazon rainforest. The Philippines originally had around 450,000 hectares of mangrove forest, but it is unfortunate that despite their importance, the country has lost more than half of this area. The leading causes of this loss are the conversion into fishponds and excessive logging of mangrove trees for the production of charcoal, firewood, and timber.
Pacific Islanders are at the forefront of climate change; experiencing its varying impacts on coastlines, biodiversity, economy and most importantly on livelihoods. The conservation of mangroves and associated ecosystems is a key natural adaptation strategy and mitigation measure to climate change. Mangrove ecosystems provide goods and services highly valued by the people of the Pacific. However, this unique ecosystem faces continuing threats from overharvesting, degradation and land reclamation.
PLEASE PROTECT MANGROVE FORESTS!