Authors such as Melana et al (2009), Inniss et al (2016), Polidoro et al (2010), and Kathiresan (n.d.) have discussed the mangroves in urban areas of the Philippines. Among these authors, what is commonly mentioned is that the mangrove forests in the Philippines are gradually depleting despite the benefits it is able to offer.
The areas of mangroves in are most likely transformed into fish and shrimp ponds in order to expand country’s fish production. On the other hand, Polidoro et al (2010) figures that the impact of the loss of the mangroves is expected to appear in the next few years. Thus, an institution focuses on managing mangroves was established.
The number of mangroves found in the Philippines were said to be slowly decreasing, explained by Melana et al (2009). Other countries’ mangrove forests are mentioned to see how mangroves not only give benefits in the environment, but also to tourism which the country Philippines lack. Mangroves are found in regions that have dry seasons, and are prone to tidal flooding, by which “the frequency of tidal flooding decreases progressively toward the more landward zones of the forest leading to an accumulation of salts” (Inniss, et. al.
, 2016). These develop within the suitable temperate areas. The largest area where mangroves could be found is in the Indo-Malay Philippine archipelago, followed by the Caribbean region as reported by Polidoro et al (2010). Indo-Malay Philippine archipelago being the largest area of mangroves, they are considered also among the highest rates in extinction mostly for the reasons of transforming it into shrimp and fish ponds. Of all the mangroves globally, about 90% percent of it grows in the developing countries, whereas it is near extinction (Kathiresan, n.d.
). 279,000 hectares of mangroves in the Philippines from 1951 were reduced into half in the 1988, primarily because of changing the area into a culture ponds for fish or shrimps. Melana et al. (2009) mentioned that 70% of coral cover in the Philippines have been destructed, “with 25% still in good condition and only 5% in excellent condition”. Melana et al.
(2009) discussed the management and development of mangroves in the Philippines. The expansion of fish and shrimp ponds became rampant in 1960s when the government implemented a policy which its goal is to increase the fish production particularly milkfish and shrimps in the country. On the other hand, the Mangrove Forest Research Center under the Forest Research Institute of the Philippines was formed. This focused more on the actual work or experimentation for the “rehabilitation, production and sustainable management of mangroves” (Melana et.al.
, 2009). Polidoro, et. al (2010) stated that it has been extensively analyzed for its ability to protect the community from flood. He mentioned that the various reasons of the slowly degradation of these species are due to coastal development, agriculture, aquaculture, as well as for timber and fuel production. ‘Clear-felling, aquaculture and over-exploitation of fisheries in mangroves’ were specified to be the most severe threats that could be expected over the next 10–15 years. He mentioned that the continuing loss of mangroves will have repercussion economically and environmentally for the coastal communities.
Through its ecosystem services, these were valuable to humanity. Ecosystems like forests of mangroves have the ability to contribute positively in the ecosystem by providing a support to the other marine ecosystems, usually the coral reefs. In an urban place in Hongkong, the Hong Kong Wetlands Park, preserving mangroves was prioritized and even became a popular destination for the tourists.
Thus, the mangroves attract the birds and fish (O’Malley, 2014). Issues in pollution like throwing solid wastes in the mangrove area especially in urban places greatly damage the ecosystem (Kathiresan, n.d.
). Some of Melana et al.’s (2009) recommendation was to have the same protection and rehabilitation to its equally important ecosystems; addressing gaps by giving strenuous efforts most especially among political leaders in influencing the community in reforestation activities.
Sitio Pulo, NavotasThe information about Sitio Pulo of Barangay Tanza, Navotas are authored by Melican (2014) and the Messiah Missions. In 2014, Melican featured the site to promote in saving Navotas bird haven. He discussed the importance of sustaining the forest not only for the growing mangroves, but also for the migratory birds.
The Messiah Missions wrote up about the condition of the community located in the island wherein they endure hunger and poverty. According to the report of Nathaniel Melican of Philippine Daily Inquirer (2014), the 30 hectares island of Sitio Pulo in Navotas is connected to the mainland by 500 meters long of bamboo bridge. If it is at low tide, it could be walked through the bamboo bridge, otherwise, it is accessible only by a boat (“The Isla Pulo Community”, n.d.). It was unofficially considered a nature sanctuary, but not until in the 1990s where informal settlers moved in to the island.
Fishing and charcoal production are the main sources of income of the families of Sitio Pulo. The community of Sitio Pulo experiences poverty. “They work hard to survive” in order for them to acquire the necessities of their families. Their houses do not have electricity. Fortunately, through small generator, they will be able to spend a few hours during the night with electricity. Organizations such as the Messiah Missions and the South Korean ministry Adopt Asia provide spiritual aid to the community (“The Isla Pulo Community”, n.
d.). The island is not only covered with mangroves, it is also a home or stopover for at least eleven bird species. During winter in places of northern and southern hemispheres, about 2000 birds.
As for the mangroves, they have adapted already their condition of being choked by the garbage. The island was declared a marine tree park which meant maintenance was necessary. Thus, there have been activities such as tree-plantings, according to the village chair of barangay Tanza, Carlito de Guzman (Melican, 2014). Around twenty plant species grow in Sitio Pulo, wherein a variety of bungalon covers mostly the area. Putting up a boardwalk going to the island of Sitio Pulo was said to be their plan project for better accessibility.
A floating restaurant was also one of the plans that could be offered to the visitors. However, it was explained that due to the mud, boats were not able to dock near the shore. Admittedly, it will be difficult for them to restore Sitio Pulo even with regular cleanup activities.
In addition to the problem of way too many garbage collected, it is reported that the informal settlers cut trees to make charcoals for a living. But believed to be the biggest threat of the island is the existence of the 40 hectares landfill alongside the island. For Relos, the botanist of DENR assigned to the island, is that “It’s the biggest irony on this island. We have here a haven for birds, but with a landfill sharing the land. Ideally, the dump should not be there” (Melican, 2014).
Theoretical FrameworkThe researchers decided to use the Theory of Common Pool Resource which serves as a basis for researchers to understand why individuals engage in agreements to devise institutions to cope with the problem of Common Pool Resource, as well as what types of rules would make the institution successful (“CPR Theory”. n.d.
). The Theory of Common Pool Resource states that the existence if institutional arrangements manages and prevents the depletion of resources. Common Pool Resource are resources that is beneficiary to a group of people, a community, yet if pursued by an individual for his or her own self-interest, the benefits it provides diminishes to everyone.
This theory is applicable to the thesis for it firstly engages with the cause of the issue which is the vulnerability and threat of environmental resources and later on applies this knowledge in developing institutions, if not arrangements, to cope with the problem.A framework chosen (see figure 1) to accompany this theory is the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework (IAD). The IAD (see figure 1) is designed for the analysis of institutions, which will be helpful for this research as to it focuses on the institutional arrangements and development plans, and their formation. It also used for comparative analysis which would aid in the achievement of the research’s aim to evaluate the development plans and policies in effect of the institutions (ocsdnet.org).
Figure 2 shows Ostrom’s Institutional Analysis and Development Framework applied to the situation of Sitio Pulo. Here the threat and vulnerability of the area is stated focuses on three factors: the settlement, improper waste management and exhaustion of resources. Following these are Institutional Arrangements, actions taken my institutions and the outcome. This framework application is done for a better understanding of Ostrom’s original framework and in line with the Thesis.