Groups launch alliance to halt, reverse mangrove forest loss

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More than half of the country’s beach and mangrove forests have been lost to deforestation due to harvesting for wood and charcoal production, conversion to fishpond for aquaculture use, and the unbridled development in coastal areas that include dump-and-fill activities.

To halt and reverse this rapid rate of mangrove loss, Philippine-based environmental groups launched on Tuesday the Philippines Chapter of the Global Mangrove Alliance (GMA), a global alliance dedicated to the restoration of mangroves.

Often referred to as “fish factories” for their ability to facilitate the reproduction of fish and other seafood, mangroves are also considered life-saving ecosystems because of the natural defense system they provide to communities against storm surges and tsunamis.

The latest forestry statistics—the 2021 Forestry Statistics of the Philippines prepared by the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)—reported that only around 301,400 are left of the country’s mangrove forests, a decline of slightly over 2,000 hectares compared to the 2015 mangrove forest cover estimated at 303,373 hectares.

Launched in 2018 during the World Ocean Summit by Conservation International (CI), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Nature Conservancy (TNC), Wetlands International, and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Global Mangrove Alliance (GMA) now includes over 30 member organizations that share the aim of scaling up the recovery of mangroves through equitable and effective expansion of both mangrove protection and the restoration of former mangrove areas. 

GMA works worldwide in supporting research, advocacy, education, and practical projects on the ground with local and community partners.

With the theme, “Turning the Tide: Synergies to Accelerate Mangrove Conservation and Halt Loss,” the GMA Philippines was launched to halt mangrove deforestation and restore what was lost due to unbridled coastal development and conversion into fishpond for aquaculture purposes.