Mangrove Restoration and Conservation Training with Tagbanwa Community

Date 03 August 2017

Rainalyn of Decabobo helping out Ms. Antoinette Taus, UNDP Ambassador, to plant a mangrove seedling

The Mangrove and Beach Forest Restoration and Conservation Training was conducted with the Tagbanwa community in Coron, Calamianes Islands, Palawan, Philippines. It aimed to provide the basic skills to Tagbanwa women and youth for a community-based mangrove rehabilitation and conservation project. Participants included the Tagbanwa women and youth Manig-amlig or caretakers under the SGP-UNDP-funded project “Capacitating Tagbanwa Women and Youth as Ancestral Domain Caretakers and Conservation Leaders.”

The training is the continuation of initiatives to revive community led conservation in Tagbanwa ancestral domains across the Calamianes landscape. In March and April this year, a technical assessment was conducted in selected ancestral domains to determine the feasibility of a Calamianes-wide mangrove restoration and conservation project. The technical assessment report found eight species of mangroves in the municipalities of Coron and Busuanga, as well as excellent grade of regeneration of mangroves. What was more interesting, during the training, participants were able to identify two more species, making the mangrove biodiversity in Calamianes as significantly hight. Immediate restoration and conservation was recommended. This validated the needs that were expressed by Tagbanwa communities, that protection of their remaining mangrove areas and bringing back the old mangrove stands to help protect their coastlines and continue providing subsistence for their families.

Typhoon Haiyan had greatly damaged a wide spread of mangrove areas in year 2014. These areas have slow natural recovery and hence, an assisted natural regeneration. It has been observed that various restoration efforts by government in the last 3 years proved futile, leading to high mortality of planted mangrove seedlings.

The trainees came from the 5 communities, which shared contiguous mangrove and beach forest areas. Samdhana staff, who attended the Training of Trainers course for Mangrove & Beach Forest Rehabilitation and Conservation conducted by the Zoological Society of London - Philippines in Iloilo City last June, facilitated the training with community. Samdhana developed localized modules, and translated relevant materials for better understanding by the community. The topics included Biology and Taxonomy, Nursery Establishment, Outplanting, Monitoring, & Maintenance, and Rehabilitation Planning for both mangrove and beach forest species. It was emphasized that the main objective for restoration and conservation of mangrove and beach forest areas is to establish a coastal greenbelt that will secure better livelihoods for coastal communities through increased resilience against natural disasters and higher fisheries productivity (ZSL).

Participants enjoyed identifying mangrove species, collecting wildlings and doing hands-on activities for skills building. Based on the pre- and post-test results, the training participants demonstrated good grasp of the concepts and practicum activities. Each community crafted their Rehabilitation Plans incorporating their learnings from the training. Samdana has already sourced out funds for the implementation by some communities, and is already planning on conducting a training for a 2nd Batch of other Tagbanwa community partners. ###