While taking photographs of the breathtaking seascape of sitio Taisan (San Vicente, Bulusan), I noticed some tree stumps on the shoreline bed. There is no doubt what these stumps are. These are mangrove stumps maybe several decades old. It points to one thing that this area was once a lush mangrove forest. No wonder there is a mud-like quality to the sea bed.
These photos (above) are images of a deforested mangrove swamp. A desolate landscape crying for help.
To reclaim the mangrove forest that once upon a time existed in this coast will entail a gigantic and heroic effort.
If not planted with more mangroves, the shoreline will continue to recede. And most importantly during typhoons there will be no vegetation to block the raging surge from the sea. It is already an established fact that mangroves are effective barrier and protection in the coastline that save communities.
With the mangroves back, the kinis (mudcrab) will flourish abundantly more than the local paraagahid (pole net fishermen) can catch for their livelihood. Mangroves are natural habitats of mudcrabs.
I hope these images will convey an SOS to coastal environmentalists including those based in Bulusan. The few surviving juvenile mangroves from the initial replanting activity (photo) are reminders that there’s hope that the mangroves of Taisan could be reclaimed.
Let us bring back the mangroves of Taisan.
It is to the credit of Tribu Bulusanon (http://tribubulusan.orgfree.com/#), a local environmental group, that the first mangrove reforestation project in this coast took off.
But it was just a beginning. More is needed.
Photos: Alma P. Gamil
Bulusan, Sorsogon, Philippines