First Biophysical & Bioclimatic Characterization of Mangrove Sites in La Union (using GIS) Completed by FEED DMMMSU Scholar

30 June 2017, Bacnotan, La Union.  Following the November 10th, 2016 approval of FEED’s first scholar from Don Mariano Marcos Memorial University (DMMMSU) in Bacnotan, La Union Province, 20 year old Renalyn M. Canillo, from Barangay (Tag., town) San Francisco, Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro, Philippines proceeded to conduct first ever Biophysical & Bioclimatic Characterization of Mangrove Sites in La Union using Geographical Information System (GIS).

In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Forestry degree passed on March 30th, 2017 accepted and approved by DMMMSU.


“There were thirteen verified areas located at the different municipalities of La Union. For biophysical characteristics the mangrove sites in La Union are located in elevations up to 14 meters above Mean Sea Level and slopes ranging from 0-18%. Mangrove commonly grows in Annam clay loam type soil. Proximity to land cover, mangrove sites are far from cropland while mangrove sites were found to be near built-up areas, fishponds and very near to other bodies of water. For bioclimatic characteristics, mangrove receives up to 500mm of rain on a yearly basis and annual temperature of 25-50 degrees Celsius. Water salinity ranges from 0-19.3 ppt.” (See image below on Soil Types)


Mangrove Sites & Mangrove Species per Site, La Union

Listing of Mangrove Species Found per Site, La Union (1/3)IMG_2861IMG_2862


Based on the results of the study, the following recommendations were found by BSc Forestry Renalyn M. Canillo:

  1. The findings of the different biophysical and bioclimatic characteristics of the existing mangrove sites could be used as basis in establishing new mangrove sites to ensure plate and site suitability.
  2. Mangrove sites nearby built-up areas, fishponds and cropland should be well protected by Local Government Units (LGUs).
  3. This information should be disseminated to LGUs.

FEED approved Ms Canillo’s scholarship exactly because La Union Province’s Ridge to Reef require significant interventions in biodiversity conservation, watershed protection, integrated coastal zone management, flood protection, pollution prevention, and livelihood development as part of the province’s overall sustainability approach. Currently, La Union Province’s focus is on agri-tourism development, which a number of agencies are aligning with to ensure no overlaps in collaborative efforts and resources.

FEED’s next steps are to work with DMMMSU Bacnotan to ensure a relevant community guide is produced as a result of this technical thesis, to be led by Director of Strategic Partnerships & Special Projects, Prof. Lilito Gavina of DMMMSU.

One immediate intervention for the communities affected by coastal and river protection is to work with LGUs and environmental community leaders and organizations – among others, La Union Soul, La Union Surf Club (LUSC) and Lupon ng mga Indibidwal na Nangangalaga sa Kalikasan (LINK) – to establish / upgrade / rehabilitate nurseries with the relevant species at relevant sites, as well as mangrove forests and practical training for community leaders who will achieve these recommendations.

“Sustainably Stoked” Community Events

FEED endorses and will continue soliciting the active participation of youth leaders as well as the public, private and NGO sectors’ involvement in a continued series of community events, for example, the most recent one organized by La Union Soul, aptly titled “Sustainably Stoked”.   Join us! Contact (text or call +0917 552 4722) for more information.

Sustainably Stoked.png

This is how mangrove forests protect the coast:

Mangroves More Carbon Rich and Important for Climate Change

Mangroves are one of the most productive ecosystems on the earth. They perform a variety of useful ecological, bio-physical, and socio-economic functions, and are the source of a multitude of benefits to coastal populations.

The timber from mangrove forests is used for a variety of purposes, including for making houses, boats, and fish traps. In many countries, mangrove wood is used to produce charcoal, and as firewood. There are a number of other non-timber benefits extracted from the range of mangrove forest species, including honey, tannin from bark, thatch material, edible fruits, fodder,

and medicinal properties of certain species with potential commercial applications and recreational values.

The entangled roots of mangrove forests help to stabilize coastal areas through sediment capture and bio-filtration of nutrients and some pollutants from the water, and reducing coastal erosion. The aerial roots of mangroves hold back sediments and reduce pollutants from sewage and aquaculture in estuaries and coastal waters.Coastal protection is another important function of mangrove forests, serving as a natural barrier against storms, typhoons, and tsunami, and thus protecting coastal inhabitants. Recent experiences of tsunami and major storms in Southeast Asia and other parts of the world have shown that mangroves can and have played important roles in absorbing and weakening wave energy as well as preventing damage caused by debris movement.

Mangrove forests play an important role in providing breeding grounds and habitats to a variety of fishes and other marine species of high commercial value, including mud crabs, mollusks, and prawns. Mangroves have been estimated to support 30% of the fish catch and almost 100% of the shrimp catch in Southeast Asia. The valuation of mangroves to fisheries alone has been estimated at US$ 1,700 per hectare per year in Matang, Malaysia. Mangroves as a food source

Role of Mangroves in Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

The capacity of mangroves, sea grasses, and salt marshes to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is becoming increasingly recognized at an international level. Of all the biological carbon, also termed as ’green carbon’, captured in the world, over half (55%) is captured by mangroves, sea grasses, salt marshes, and other marine living organisms, which are also known more specifically as ’blue carbon’.

Mangroves, salt marshes, and sea grasses form much of the earth’s blue carbon sinks. These coastal vegetations sequester carbon far more effectively (up to 100 times faster) and more permanently than terrestrial forests. Further, studies have shown that per hectare, mangrove forests store up to five times more carbon than most other tropical forests around the world. This ability of mangroves and other coastal vegetation to store such large amounts of carbon is, in part, due to the deep, organic rich soils in which they thrive. The entangled root systems of mangroves, which anchor the plants into underwater sediment, slow down incoming tidal waters, allowing organic and inorganic material to settle into the sediment surface. The sediments beneath these habitats are characterized by typically low oxygen conditions, slowing down the decay process and rates, resulting in much greater amounts of carbon accumulating in the soil. In fact, mangroves have more carbon in their soil alone than most tropical forests have in all their biomass and soil combined.

Mangroves roots

Carbon offsets based on the protection and restoration of coastal vegetation could therefore be far more cost effective than current approaches focused on terrestrial and peat forests, even before taking into consideration the enormous additional benefits to fisheries, coastal protection, and the livelihoods of coastal inhabitants.Therefore, cutting down mangroves means releasing larger amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. This in turn causes the wet soil to dry up, leading to the release of even more stored carbon into the atmosphere. Estimates suggest a range of between 150 million to 1 billion tonnes of CO2 that is emitted annually due to the destruction of mangrove forests globally. Thus, at the global scale, coastal wetland destruction could account for 1-3% of industrial emissions; a number that is on the rise as more and more coastal wetlands are destroyed every year around the world.

Thus, mangrove forests offer a unique and highly efficient approach to climate change mitigation and adaptation.”

Source: Center for People and Forests,

Related Stories:

© FEED, Inc.