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Barrel-bottom survival rates

June 7, 2007

By Juan Mercado

High-profile disasters, like the Solar I tanker oil spill that blackened Guimaras’ coastline, shoved lowly mangroves into the headlines. But the more lethal threat to this threatened resource rarely makes prime-time news because it is silent: the barrel-bottom survival rates of replanted trees.

In Magallanes, Agusan del Norte, 53.8 hectares were replanted at a cost of P2.28 million. But trees survived in only one hectare, Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (Seafdec) scientists report. Floods swept the rest away.

Isn’t this stumbling backward into the future?

“Hundreds of millions of dollars [went] to rehabilitate thousands of hectares over the last two decades,” Seafdec’s Jurgenne Primavera and J.M.A. Esteban told a De La Salle University conference. “[But] long-term survival rates of mangroves — the main and only meaningful index of success — hover at 10 percent to 20 percent.”

(For the rest of the story, click Asian Journal, June 5, 2007.)

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