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Philippines

Abatan River

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Conservation benefit: Protection of Abatan River and the mangroves along Maribojoc Bay for 10 years

Community benefit: Rebuilt docks and amphitheater for ecotourism

Date Approved: 02.2016

Mangroves

This project protects mangroves, which trap more CO2 than any other kind of forest and as a result, slow global warming.

The lush Abatan River estuary is home to one of the most diverse mangrove forests in the Philippines. It covers almost 1,000 acres and includes 32 mangrove species. Eight species of firefly congregate along the river; one of them is very rare and endemic to the Philippines. The estuary is a perfect spot for wildlife conservation and ecotourism.

Before tourists can come, however, facilities at the Abatan Main Village Center need extensive repairs. In 2013 and 2014, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake and two supertyphoons severely damaged them. The docks at the visitor centers, and the amphitheater where cultural shows were staged, are unusable. Without tours run by local nonprofits, villagers cannot sell their hand-woven products and local delicacies without taking them to town centers or paying middlemen.

A Seacology grant will fund repair of the docks and amphitheater. The Abatan River Development Management Council, which promotes conservation of the river, has pledged to protect the mangroves along the river and in Maribojoc Bay (where the river empties) for 10 years.

Seacology will partner with PROCESS Bohol, a well-regarded NGO that since the 1980s has been working for sustainable resource management in poor Philippines communities. We have worked with PROCESS Bohol on two other successful projects.

Project Updates

January 2017

All repairs have been completed, and the mangrove area is being protected.

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November 2016

The small dock has been repaired. The bathrooms and the water tank that supplies them have also been completed and are in use. The amphitheater is 90% finished. European and Chinese tourists have already begun to return, enjoying the “Abatan River Community Life Tour.” Our NGO partner is working with the Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources on mangrove protection measures.

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May 2016

The design and work schedule for the project have been finalized after an on-site inspection and meeting with the contractor. Work on the toilets and installation of the water tank began in April, as scheduled.

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