DENR 7 to provide mangrove saplings

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Region 7 will provide mangrove seedlings and saplings to local government units in Central Visayas to protect coasts from storm surges, a government press release said.

DENR 7 regional executive director Isabelo Montejo said LGUs that want to help plant mangroves should coordinate with their Community Environment and Natural Resources Office for seedlings and saplings.

He added the DENR will help identify suitable planting sites for mangroves.

He said that typhoon “Yolanda” has taught a lesson that storm surges could happen and have devastating effects to communities and coastlines. “It is high time that we reflect on the degraded coastal forest and how we could regenerate it through mangrove reforestation to make our coastlines less vulnerable to extreme weather events, Montejo said in the press release.

He said storm surges, or sea waters carried or lifted by strong winds to engulf coastal areas, occurred in Tacloban City and Dulag town in Leyte; Guiuan, Llorente and Balangiga towns in Eastern Samar; and Basey in Samar at the height of “Yolanda” a month ago.

Rep. Benhur Salimbangon (Cebu, 4th District) said Bantayan Island off northern Cebu mainland was fortunate it was not hit by a storm surge because it was low tide at the time the typhoon made landfall.

Montejo said mangroves, ranging from small shrubs to tall trees, thrive in salty environment, are woody and bear seeds called propagules. They grow along sheltered inter-tidal coastlines and in association with estuaries and lagoons, he added.

Aside from protection against several causes of calamities, mangroves can increase food production because it provides nursery grounds for fish, prawns and crabs, and support fisheries production in coastal areas.

Mangroves have extensive rooting structures that slow water movement to trap sediments. Pollutants washed from the land, particularly those that adhered to sediment particles, are filtered and absorbed by mangroves. The trees anchor the soil and absorb and dissipate the energy of the waves, slowing their passage in land, the press release added.

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