Proceedings of the 1st ASEAN Congress on Mangrove Research and Development
The 1st Congress on Mangrove Research and Development in the ASEAN Region was held December 3-6, 2102 at the Century Park Hotel, Manila City, Philippines. It was attended by 81 participants distributed by country as follows: 14 Indonesia; 3 Malaysia; 1 Myanmar; 59 Philippines: 1 Singapore; 1 Vietnam; and 2, United States. The Congress aimed to : (a) provide forum for exchange of research-based information on mangrove R&D among scientists, researchers, managers, and interest groups; (b) stimulate interest in mangrove R&D development; (c) identify research gaps and research priorities in the region, and (d) integrate science in mangrove restoration, conservation, preservation and management for each country represented in this meeting and the region in general.
The opening program was highlighted by welcome remarks, keynote message, overview of the congress, and exhibit featuring poster papers on results of several mangrove R&D eff orts in the region. Paving the way to the congress proper was a plenary paper on “Community-based Mangrove Rehabilitation Project: Paradigm Shifts in Mangrove Reforestation” by Dr. Jurgenne H. Primavera, Scientist Emerita of SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department and Chief Advisor of the Zoological Society of London. The paradigm shifts identified are as follows: planting to consider correct species, site, and season; use of wildings, cluster planting, and barriers; inclusion of monitoring component; broadened networking; and tapping community/PO labor contribution as basis for their ownership of the project and commitment to care for the plants.
A series of plenary sessions for paper presentations of selected mangrove researchers followed through during the next two days. Themes for each session were assigned as follows: Session 1 Silviculture, Forest, and Stand; Session 2 Socio-economic and Valuation; Session 3 Ecosystem Functions and Fisheries; and Session 4 Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation.
Session 1 tackled papers on impact of sedimentation on growth of mangrove trees and soil surface elevation; soil profi le and health level of mangrove stands; assessment of mangrove forest and rehabilitation options; and applicability of radar and optical image in monitoring mangrove forest. Session 2 featured papers on community-based experience in mangrove rehabilitation; costs and benefi ts of carbon sequestration in mangrove forest; revegetation potential of brackish water ponds; socio-economic challenges on mangrove restoration; and gender participation in community-based mangrove management. Session 3 covered some novel research on nekton communities as indicators for restoration and post-typhoon faunal recolonization in mangroves; reproductive biology and pollination of a particular bee species and its contribution to mangrove forest sustainability; structure community of gastropods and bivalves in post tsunami mangrove ecosystem rehabilitation areas; eutrophication of mangroves linked to depletion of foliar and soil base; and canopy gap dynamics and the natural regeneration of mangroves. Papers in Session 4 focused on monitoring mangrove vulnerability and resilience to sea level rise; carbon stock assessment of mangrove plantation; and soil properties and carbon pools of mangroves.
Issues and concerns surfaced during each session and they are summarized as follows:
Silviculture and Forest Stand: consider a standard set of factors as basis for determining appropriate mangrove rehabilitation options (e.g. land use and cover, soil analysis, water level, soil and water salinity, etc); exert greater effort to consider site and species matching in mangrove rehabilitation; look into the cost implications of the use of radar and optical imaging methods for inventory; ensure more conclusive fi ndings on areas aff ected by sedimentation by supporting the studies with data on other factors such as circulation pattern of the water, variation in the seasonality, dynamics of the waves, among others; use radar and optic imagery more appropriately for wider areas and combine it with data on community structure, sand basal area, biomass, and density; determine first if rehabilitation option is worth investing (e.g., geotube) before making the investment; use high-resolution satellite to help identify mangrove species; recommend the use wildlings for mangrove rehabilitation only when they are potted in the nursery prior to planting; conduct additional studies to determine relationship between sedimentation and species growth; establish/strengthen networks/links among the researchers; document and share innovative techniques used in monitoring and evaluating mangrove forest rehabilitation efforts.
Socio-economic Valuation: establish an entry point for mangrove development that can respond to basic needs of communities such as livelihood; livelihood should only be transitory and the myriad benefi ts from the mangrove should lead to community development; ensure that livelihoods consider appropriateness and readiness of communities; evaluate the impacts of livelihoods on communities; start research on productivity level of aquasilviculture; explore the application of aquasilviculture on abandoned water ponds; conduct baseline and mapping of brackish water ponds to determine appropriate interventions.
Ecosystem Functions and Fisheries: re-strategize and develop a more holistic view of mangrove rehabilitation by expanding one’s focus from the mangroves to the greater scope of the ecosystem where the mangrove is a part of; encourage collaboration among research teams and experts from diff erent fields to refi ne existing frameworks being adopted; establish the mangrove forests’ value not only for its carbon stock and its role as the initial line of defense for environmental calamities but also as a source of sustainable livelihood, e.g. bee cultivation; adopt a streamlined set of variables to be considered for diff erent mangrove studies and actively search for papers with possible link to studies conducted; solicit critique from fellow researchers; and contextualize findings of cases cited to determine their implications in the local settings more accurately as in the case of the use of wildlings for mangrove rehabilitation.
Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation: collaborate on future mangrove studies to answer queries and/or to validate hypotheses shared among researchers.