By Shane Chelsea Cachola
Assessment, the establishment of the project, conservation, partnership, and an overwhelming number of mangroves all happened in just a day in Cavite.
On October 12, 2020, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) CALABARZON, through the Conservation and Development Division, in partnership with the DENR-Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) of Cavite, begins the assessment of the mangrove area in Brgy. San Rafael IV, Noveleta, Cavite.
Establishing the said area as a science-based mangrove conservation and management site is a partnership between the DENR CALABARZON, Forest Foundation Philippines, and the Zoological Society of London.
Mangroves have a huge role in protecting shorelines from storms and typhoon winds, waves, and floods. They assist in preventing erosion by stabilizing sediments with their root systems. They also maintain water quality and clarity, filtering pollutants and trapping sediments originating from land. Now that climate change is affecting the predictability of the storms, shorelines become more vulnerable. The protection that mangroves can give to shorelines is needed now more than ever.
“[The] mangrove assessment in Noveleta, Cavite has the objective of determining its biodiversity components within its ecosystem in order to facilitate the science-based approach in management protection and conservation of said area. This will be participated in by different stakeholders vis-a-vis POs, NGOs, NGAs/OGAs, academe, private sector etc. Subject mangrove ecosystem can be devoted for rehabilitation, research and even for eco-tourism agenda to benefit the present and future generations,” said DENR CALABARZON Conservation and Development Division Chief Ramil J. Gutierrez.
The project site will cover the 30-hectare mangrove forest in the municipality plus almost 650 hectares of the adjacent area for future rehabilitation and management.
The assessment aims to identify the areas of conservation and management, areas of expansion, check the established nursery site and species diversity, determine possible hazards to mangroves, and the site-potential livelihood for the community.
Noveleta, Cavite being a low-land area and having multiple rivers surrounding it, is undoubtedly vulnerable to floods that even reach waist level. The mangroves’ roots retain sediments and prevent erosion, while the trunks and canopy reduce the force of oncoming waves, thus reducing flooding.
If there are no mangroves in the rivers of Noveleta, the flood level will be higher and more damaging to the people and their properties.
According to the 2015 census, Noveleta has a population of 45,846 people, which is a huge number for their narrow land area. This project is seen not only to be advantageous to the environment but also the people of the said community. Projects mean employment and income to masses of people, which will help the economy of the municipality. Covering more than 80 hectares of saline swamp and mudflats, the mangrove forest of Noveleta, Cavite, is home to various coastal flora and fauna. There are 18 types of mangrove species identified in the area, according to the records of the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office and the Municipal Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council.
This science-based mangrove conservation and management site, in partnership with the DENR Calabarzon, Forest Foundation Philippines, and the Zoological Society of London, is seen as a stepping stone to more projects concerning many environmental issues that need to be addressed.
This article was written and prepared by Shane Cachola (Student-Journalist) and Luis Rufin (School Paper Adviser) from Sangley Point National High School JHS, Division of Cavite City as a final output of DepEd-DRRMS and AYEJ.org’s Green Beat Initiative: An Online Environmental Journalism Training.