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PIA Press Release

DENR-7 organizes mangrove tree planting and coastal cleanup

Cebu City (18 June) -- Students from the University of the Visayas (UV) and media joined the personnel from the Department of Natural Resources & Environment (DENR-7) in planting more than ten thousand mangrove propagules yesterday to cover about 10,000 sq.m. within the 1,028-hectares Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary in Lapulapu City.

Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary in Lapulapu City is the Philippines' first wetland of international importance for freshwater birds and covers vast mangrove forest.

Leonardo Sibbaluca, DENR-7 Regional Executive Director, in an interview said, "we want to ensure the integrity of our coastal resources by way of mangrove tree planting and other coastal clean-up activities."

"Mangrove is a type of forest growing along tidal mudflats and along shallow water coastal areas extending inland along rivers, streams and their tributaries where the water is generally salty," he added.

According to DENR 1995 statistics, conversion to fishponds, prawn farms, salt ponds, reclamation and other forms of industrial development has reduced the mangrove area to 117,700 hectares.

According to DENR, Mangroves provide nursery grounds for fish, prawns and crabs, and support fisheries production in coastal waters.

They also protect the environment and coastal areas and communities from storm surges, waves, tidal currents and typhoons.

Mangroves produce organic biomass (carbon) and reduce organic pollution in near shore areas by trapping or absorption.

Mangroves contribute 1,800 - 4,200 grams of carbon per square meter per year (approximately the contribution of the tropical rain forest and 10 times higher than primary production in the open ocean).

Sibbaluca said, "we want to convey the message that mangroves provide shelter for local and migratory wildlife and serve as roosting and forging grounds that is why we really have to protect them."

From September - November, thousands of shorebirds migrate to Olango and farther south to Australia and New Zealand after breeding in China, Russia and Alaska following the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.

Soon after winter, from March to May, the shorebirds begin their northward migration and thousands of them pass by Olango en route to the breeding areas in northern hemisphere.

The most notable shorebirds found in Olango are the Asian Dowitcher, Chinese Egret, Eurasian Curlew, Whimbrel, Black-tailed Godwit and Red Knot, among others.

The Mangrove tree planting and coastal cleanup is one of the features of the environment month 2010 celebration with the theme: "Many species. One planet. One Future." (pia7/hfg) [top]

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