The community of San Vicente, in Maribojoc, Bohol, has a rich 56.25-hectare (139-acre) mangrove forest with 25 different species of mangrove trees. But an increasing number of fish traps, as well as indiscriminate cutting of mangroves, were harming the fish stocks of nearby traditional fishing grounds.
To preserve the mangroves, the community formed the San Vicente Mangrove Forest Association. They entered into a 25-year Community-Based Forest Management Agreement with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in 1999.
With help from a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer, the village built a 500-meter (547-yard) bamboo boardwalk and ecotourism information center. These structures both provide an alternative source of income and are crucial for the mangroves’ protection. The village’s “Mangrove Adventure Tour” achieved some success, attracting tourists over the years. Of late, however, the number of visitors has been decreasing, mainly because the boardwalk is becoming dilapidated and less attractive.
Working with local organization PROCESS Bohol, Seacology is funding the repair and extension of the boardwalk to 800 meters (875 yards). In exchange, the community is committing to protect their mangroves for at least another 12 years.