In the wake of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan), the government allocated P347 million, since then increased to P1 billion, to rehabilitate mangroves in devastated areas.
1. The dominant naturally occurring mangrove species in Eastern Samar are “pagatpat” (Sonneratia alba) facing the open sea, “bakhaw” (Rhizophora apiculata and R. stylosa) behind pagatpat or along the leeward margin of islands; and “saging-saging” (Aegiceras floridum), and in Leyte are pagatpat and “piapi” (Avicennia marina, A. officinalis).
Plantations in both provinces are of bakhaw and nipa (Nypa fruticans) varieties.
2. Most of the mangrove stands in the 14 locations showed only partial to minimal damage, based on the presence of new shoots on defoliated branches and on branchless trunks of trees, to none at all.
3. Fringing mangroves (lining the shore) showed a pattern of greater damage in a) seaward (vs landward) plots; b) western (vs eastern) side; and c) planted (vs natural) stands.
4. Damage caused by factors other than Yolanda are:
* Encroachment of settlements of marginalized coastal dwellers who have no means to purchase land;
* Mangrove conversion to ponds which is illegal (under Republic Act No. 9171), e.g., in Ormoc City;
* Conversion to nipa plantations; and
* Reclamation (filled in with soil) in Carigara.