Philippines: Study highlights potentials of mangroves as major carbon sink

Philippines News Agency 27 Sep 17;

Iloilo City – A mangrove scientist here has underscored the need to protect and preserve mangroves to fight greenhouse gas emissions as his study reveals its potentials “to store more carbon than terrestrial forest.”

“Mangroves are now highlighted as a major carbon sink in relation to the greenhouse gas emission for climate change mitigation,” Dr. Rex Sadaba of the University of Philippines-Visayas who conducted the study from May to August this year.

Carbon sinks remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. “They sequester carbon dioxide and make that into their leaves, into their stem and keep it into their biomass,” he added.

“When the leaves fall, they accumulate into the soil and overtime it is accumulating, the area becomes a sink for carbon. The moment we remove the mangroves here, we increase the decomposition of the organic matter that increases the release of the carbon dioxide back to the atmosphere,” he explained during a roundtable discussions of Iloilo City public-private partnerships on Thursday.

The study “Carbon storage of mangroves in Iloilo and Batiano rivers” conducted this year was the “first ever carbon sink study in the Philippines,” said Engr. Noel Hechanova of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office-Iloilo City in an interview on Friday.

The study covered 44.56 hectares of mangroves, composed of 27.64 hectares from the Iloilo River and 16.92 from the Batiano River.

Batiano River, which hosts 19 mangrove species, has18, 491.83 tons of carbon sink while it has a potential to emit 67,865 tons of carbon dioxide.

The Iloilo River, which has 23 species of mangroves, has sequestered 34,554.78 tons of carbon and its potential carbon dioxide release is 129,817.7 tons.

“Above the ground biomass and carbon is high but the carbon stored in the soil is much higher as a result of accumulation overtime,” his study concluded.

Citing the potential, Sadaba underscored the need to “keep the mangroves intact.”

He recommended the active involvement of stakeholders for the continued protection of mangrove areas and information education campaign.