Community-based Mangrove Conservation and Rehabilitation

Schoolchildren visiting Ecopark (© ZSL - Lopez)
Published: 04 August 2015
Last edited: 30 September 2020
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Mangroves and beach forests provide coastal greenbelts that act as a protective buffer to sea level rise and storms. Moreover, they are particularly effective in mitigating global warming and rising carbon dioxide levels by capturing and storing carbon in both above- and below-ground biomass. On Panay Island, protection of remaining mangroves and rehabilitation of degraded areas is carried out by local communities and supported by local governments.


Southeast Asia
Scale of implementation
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Ecosystem services
Local actors
Tropical cyclones / Typhoons
Tsunami/tidal wave
Ecosystem loss
Lack of technical capacity


Panay, Western Visayas, Philippines


  • Increasing frequency and intensity of typhoons as impacts of climate change
  • Low survival rates of seafront mangrove plantings due to lack of science-based protocols
  • At present the mangrove-fishpond ratio is 1:1, which is way below the 4:1 ratio required for ecological sustainability


Local communities and governments, students as well as the whole society.

How do the building blocks interact?

Seafront planting

  1. biophysical considerations (use of seedlings, assisted natural regeneration, site selection, breakwater)
  2. nurseries
  3. outplanting
  4. protection and maintenance
  5. monitoring protocols

Eco-park development

  1. engaging local government
  2. organizing local communities
  3. mapping
  4. municipal ordinance
  5. training park managers
  6. launching

Pond reversion

  1. establishing tenure of fishponds
  2. biophysical reversion to mangroves



  • Food security
  • Mangrove plantation for domestic consumption
  • Higher income for local cooperative members who manage the mangroves


  • Increase in biodiversity (27 out of 35 mangrove species in the Philippines)


  • Increased awareness of mangrove importance among local communities, out-of-town visitors, and especially schoolchildren and students who use the eco-park as a living laboratory


The success story of Vincenzo Sagun town in Zamboanga del Sur is one of mangrove destruction and subsequent rehabilitation by the local community, with the continuing support of various NGOs and LGUs. Large tracts of the 496-ha mangrove area were cleared for pond development in the 1980s-1990s. This negatively impacted livelihoods (from reduced fish catches), compromised food security (no more shellfish gleaning), and threatened safety of fishers (from storms and pirates in offshore waters). From 1992 through 2010, mangrove reforestation and coastal resource management (CRM) programs were initiated and funded by a series of NGOs – PAMALAKAYA, CoSEED, Lutheran World Service, Christian Aid and Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation (PTFCF). The latter collaborated with CoSEED on a project which rehabilitated more than 200 ha of mangroves, including 26.5 ha of abandoned ponds. With the PO-NGO-LGU networking efforts, thousands of hectares of mangroves and abandoned ponds have been turned over to the local government and protected by a municipal ordinance that also established a fish sanctuary. Aside from LGU involvement, enabling factors were the empowerment of the community itself through NGO support, effective IEC (e.g., training courses, billboards), and conversion of poachers and illegal pond operators to mangrove conservationists. The Bgy. Bantay Katunggan Task Force (BBKTF) was integrated into the Municipal Development Plan and deputized to apprehend violators. BBKTF members were provided zero interest loans, free health insurance, patrol equipment and gears, guardhouse and mangrove foot walk. Two decades of mangrove and CRM initiatives have stopped mangrove cutting and illegal fishing; restored fish and wildlife diversity, increased fisheries catches and fishers’ income, and allowed women to harvest shellfish once more and men to fish in the safety of municipal waters.

Contributed by's picture

J. H. Primavera Zoological Society of London (ZSL)

Other contributors

Zoological Society of London (ZSL)