Calls for accelerated reef restoration in Philippines

administrator . Industry, Conservation, and Legislation 2142

A prominent Filipina scientist said a laid back attitude to ecological restoration may cost the Philippines further loss of its coral reefs, biodiversity and, eventually, source of food.

“Within the human-dominated system, restoration have to be integrated within the broader context of all the main driving factors of ecosystem degradation, in which agriculture often has central importance,” professor Rhodora Azanza of the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute said, echoing findings of scientists in 2009. Azanza spoke at the National Research Council of the Philippines general membership assembly last week.

Azanza said previous efforts have been focused on conservation, which has helped increase production of food, “but mostly for aquaculture.”

Citing Bureau of Agricultural Statistics data, Azanza noted that for a decade beginning 1999, commercial and municipal marine fisheries production failed to steadily catch up with aquaculture as total marine production hit nearly 5 million metric tons.

“Marine reserves fall short of the required 25 to 35 percent of 25,000 [square kilometers] of coral-reef areas that need to be protected to get meaningful and faster results to protect [and/or] stabilize biodiversity and enhance productivity of these areas.”

These marine areas total 1.61 million hectares comprised of the provinces of Antique, Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Negros Oriental and Samar.

Azanza added that the framework for the ecorestoration of coral reefs should be “robust.”

She opts for restoration since conservation efforts comprise of “passive measures, allowing natural processes to mitigate impacts without or with only minimal human interference and far more used [and/or] biased toward animals.”

Restoration, on the other hand, emphasizes more “active measures… [and] has, at its core, the assumption that at least some proportion of habitat loss is recoverable through positive action.”

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