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Task force SOS bares result of Guimaras mangrove review

November 8, 2006

TWO months after the oil spill, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) created teams to conduct assessments on the oil-affected mangrove areas in the provinces of Guimaras and Iloilo.

The assessment covered three municipalities with 18 barangays covering Nueva Valencia, Sibunag and San Lorenzo. Except for the Taklong and Tandog Islands Protected Landscape and Seascape (TTIPLS), the 24 observation sites established will also be subjected to monitoring and assessment impacts.

It should be noted that DENR Regional Executive Director Julian D. Amador had recommended to the Task Force to leave all mangrove areas to be untouched by the clean up operation because of its fragile ecosystem and people are not yet taught the proper procedures of handling the clean up operation in these areas.

The TTIPLS mangrove areas were also exempted from the clean up until such time when the University of the Philippines in the Visayas had determined the areas for their research studies. This is one reason why people can still see some portions in Guimaras as uncleaned of oil-coated debris.

After the oil coated debris along the seashores had been cleaned and hauled by Petron, the DENR through the funds of the United Nations Development Program had made a rapid assessment of the oil affected mangroves as basis for rehabilitation program and at the same time to check on the stand on its response to the oil spill.

Out of the 24 sites, the Assessment Team led by the personnel of the Ecosystems Research and Development Services of the DENR, had identified six areas for immediate clean up of floating oil coated debris.

These areas are Punta Aragoy, Tamsik, Dungkaan and the island of Nadulao in Nueva Valencia and two sitios in Silagon, Ajuy and Plandico in Concepcion.

The DENR presented the report to the Task Force SOS and will be presenting the result to the Task force Sunrise in Guimaras.

In relation to this, the Task Force SOS had decided to form teams composed of foresters to oversee the mangrove clean up and will orient them of the guidelines set for cleaning operation.

Labor shall also come from the local residents where the clean up will be done and the laborers shall be given an orientation of the proper handling of mangroves before the actual work.

Amador said only those that were oriented shall be hired to do the clean up.

Meanwhile, the orientation of the supervisors shall be done on March 8, 2007 who will be responsible to orient their own workers. The supervisors will stay at the area for the whole duration of the cleaning period.

Amador also required the teams to distribute the proper protocols in cleaning the mangrove that was translated into the dialect so that this can be understood clearly. The protocol will also be distributed during the orientation.

So far, Amador reported that out of the 24 sites, three strategies for clean up was recommended. Sites located in coves or inlets need some bioremediation, one site for pilot testing on oil dispersant and the rest are for manual clean up only. Rehabilitation had also three recommendations.

One is plantation establishment in adjacent areas that are near the affected areas to buffer the stand that showed signs of defoliation, others are for enrichment planting because only a few patches are showing signs of deterioration, and some are for Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR). The ANR are for sites that are now showing some signs of life after the tree trunks had been coated with oil but gradually being cleaned by strong waves brought about by the intertidal change.

“The method used in the rapid assessment is scientifically-based”, Amador reported.

“We just cannot make a physical observation because every report should be backed up by scientific methods”, he added.

The transect line method was used in the assessment and inventory of mangrove stands. It utilizes 10-meter wide transect lines running perpendicular to an established baseline from the seaward zone going up to the edge of the mangrove vegetation in the landward zone.

The transect line method was used in order to capture the trend of change in vegetation and mangrove zonation pattern. Data requirements for analyzing the stand included the species, tree trunk diameter, height, specific location within the segment, and regeneration data. Vertical and horizontal profiles were also drawn to depict a graphical representation of the mangrove stand assessed.

Damage assessment were also done scientifically based on the data collected from the stand’s basic information such as area, location, type of forest, growth stage, severity of damage inflicted, to include signs, symptoms, distribution and incidence. Each site had its own presentation for each indicators so that monitoring of the stand could be easy in terms of identification and gradual changes.

Amador said assessment of the mangroves is a long-term job. The initial findings will serve as the baseline and the monitoring period shall be done frequently on the first two years.

“We are not only monitoring Guimaras and Iloilo but we are also doing monitoring in Semirara Island, another oil spill affected area”. We may have learned some lessons in Semirara but because of the unique situations of Guimaras and Semirara, we cannot compare the two islands in terms of mangrove clean up.

However, the Task force had agreed to have a pilot site for the use of oil dispersant only after a careful study of the composition of dispersant to be used”, Amador added. (Sunstar Iloilo, Nov. 8, 2006)

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2 comments

  1. Hello,

    I am a Planning Officer Working at the Guyana Forestry Commission in Guyana. I would like some information on how to establish a mangrove PSP.
    Thank you


  2. Kindly click UPV Oil Spill program on the blogroll. This is the site of the University of the Philippines in the Visayas. You may wish to contact its scientists for info on establishing mangroves.

    Thanks for visiting the blog and good luck in your endeavor.



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