Mangrove Management Essay

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MANGROVE MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT IN THE PHILIPPINES 1 Dioscoro M. Melana, Ph.D 2 , Emma E. Melana, MF 3 , and Amuerfino M. Mapalo, BSB 4 INTRODUCTION Filipinos, whose main daily diet consists of fish and rice, are highly dependent on the coastal resources. Traditionally in the Philippines, the development of coastal resources, including mangroves, has been exploitative in nature. Government policies, which dictated development in both the uplands and coastal areas, have been based mainly on abundant available resources without due consideration for sustain- able options for future generations. In the 1950’s, vast tracts of mangroves were awarded to concessionaires and logged over for firewood and tanbarks. Mangrove firewood was the preferred fuel source in coastal villages and most bakeries because of its high heating value, but a greater volume was exported to Japan as firewood, which reportedly became the source of rayon. In the 1960’s, the government adopted a policy aimed at increasing fish production by convert- ing large areas of mangroves into fishponds for the culture of milkfish (Chanos chanos) and prawns. Such policy was promoted by a government program, which classified and released mangrove timber- land for fishpond development and opened loan windows in most government banks to finance fish- pond development. It was only towards the end of the 1970’s when the government realized the fishery value of mangroves. A National Mangrove Committee was formed in the then Ministry of Natural Resources, and a Mangrove Forest Research Center was created under the Forest Research Institute of the Philip- pines. The former was charged with the formulation of policies/recommendations for the conservation and sustainable management of the remaining mangrove forests in the country, while the latter worked for the generation of technology for the

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