Rehabilitated and restored mangrove ecosystems have essential ecological, economic, and social values for coastal communities. Contributing to achieving the University’s vision of being a premier research university transforming communities in the ASEAN and beyond, the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) conducted the first phase of its extension program titled “Bakawan Para sa Kinabukasan” at Barangay Peñaplata, Poblacion, Island Garden City of Samal,” on March 29, 2023.
The CAS extension team has pioneered several initiatives to harness the power of nature for the benefit of the Samalenyos and the coastal ecosystem. One of these efforts is this innovative approach to mangrove biodiversity rehabilitation and restoration. The effort will demand commitment to research and adaptive management techniques, increase public understanding of the value of mangroves, and involve the community in planting mangrove trees and protecting the mangrove environment for future generations.
The Bakawan Program Leader, Professor Marnie Grace I. Sonico, claims that once restored and maintained, mangrove forests contribute to the balance in the ecosystem and offer the community a wide range of benefits. “It is a program worth replicating for how local coastal communities like IGaCoS can use nature to prevent the severe effects of climate change while simultaneously creating new economic opportunities for people,” she added.
The participants, especially the women, the youth, IP representatives, Barangay officials, and staff who actively engaged with the focus group discussion (FGD), were fully aware that the marine life in mangrove ecosystems supports fisherfolks, providing food and revenue for coastal communities. Aside from providing a home for marine life and supporting people’s livelihoods, mangrove forests protect the structure of the coastline itself.
Words by: Genilyn P. Hilario, CAS Extension Intern
Photos by: Paul Angelo E. Boncan, CAS Extension Intern