The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is hoping to bring the historic nilad mangrove plant back in Manila Bay as part of its rehabilitation.
DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu led last Dec. 29 the planting of nilad mangrove trees around the Baseco lagoon in Tondo, Manila to kick off the “Nilad for Maynila” project of the DENR research arm Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB).
Mangrove species, such as nilad, has the capacity to sequester carbon three to five times more compared to forests in the mountains.
During strong typhoons, an area with bountiful mangrove trees can protect coastal communities against storm surges as these will act as buffer, the DENR said.
“Nowadays, we can hardly find nilad growing in this place. We lost nilad in Manila primarily because of massive urbanization,” Cimatu said.
In the olden times, Cimatu said, the shores of Manila Bay were lined up with lush nilad trees, thus, Manila or Maynila means “may nilad” or “there is nilad.”
“This is what we hope to relive in Manila to allow this generation and the future ones to also experience the beauty and bounty of the bay,” he added.
“This is our new project cum study on the use of nilad mangrove in re-greening the coast of the city of Manila,” said ERDB Director Henry Adornado.
“It is also the ERDB’s contribution and complementary activity to the ongoing Manila Bay rehabilitation efforts of the DENR,” he added.
According to Adornado, the project aims to revert nilad to where it used to thrive.
Mangroves, he added, will also help in combating air pollution and provide defense against waves, thereby increasing community resilience.
Around 150 planting materials consisting of earth-balled nilad from Quezon, its close associate, tawalis, and the endangered gapas-gapas, were planted around the Baseco lagoon.
“We used earth-balled materials because these have higher survival rate compared to seedlings which grow in nurseries,” Adornado said.
Aside from Baseco, ERDB has identified other possible planting sites for the nilad. These are the areas behind the sewage treatment facility on Roxas Boulevard and H20 Hotel both in Manila.