Reflecting the Value of Ecosystems and Biodiversity
in land reclamation policies in the Philippines
The Philippines has rich and diverse natural resources and is one of the world’s 17 megadiverse countries. However, the country’s biodiversity is increasingly threatened and is in various states of exploitation and degradation. More than 93% of the country’s forest cover has been lost in the last 500 years, 70% of the country’s coral reefs are in poor or fair condition, a large amount of mangroves have disappeared, and over-fishing and other destructive fishing practices are rampant.
As a country with one of the world’s longest coastlines and highest coastline-to-area ratios, the Philippines has invested in land reclamation to increase the area available for infrastructure development and to stimulate growth. However, development along the coastlines can negatively impact near-shore ecosystems including coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangroves.
TEEB Philippines informs land reclamation and coastal development plans for Manila Bay, where there is a planned reclamation covering 685 hectares. One of the areas that could be affected by this reclamation project is the Las Piñas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA). This 175-hectare area was declared a “Critical Habitat” in April 2007 by Presidential Proclamation No. 1412, and was named a Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar Site) in 2013. The site attracts migratory birds as well as indigenous and endemic species of waterbirds, including some that have been classified as threatened by the IUCN. It is the only sanctuary for wildlife in the heart of Metro Manila.
An Environmental Compliance Certificate has been issued for the reclamation project in Manila Bay. TEEB will inform the compliance process by providing the Department of Environment and National Resources of the Philippines (DENR) with information about the impacts of land reclamation on LPPCHEA.
TEEB Philippines employs a conservation, reclamation, and development scenario analysis focusing on mangroves. The study will characterize and, where possible, value potential changes in ecosystem service provisioning. The study will also identify the constituencies affected by trade-offs in ecosystem service provisioning, with a focus on vulnerable coastal population groups.
Ecosystem services focus
During a scoping workshop, participants identified storm protection, aesthetic and spiritual services, and raw materials provisioning as some of the services that may be valued as part of TEEB Philippines.
Regulation of extreme events: Storm surges may increase due to the deforestation of mangroves and loss of other coastal buffers. These losses, as well as the potential impacts of reclamation on ground subsidence, are examined under different scenarios.
Aesthetic appreciation, cultural inspiration, and spiritual experience: The study examines the impact of reclamation on aesthetic values in project sites.
Provision of raw materials: The study examines how the provisioning of raw materials in these three sites would differ under various scenarios. Examples include fuelwood or construction materials from mangroves and seagrass from seagrass beds.
Special features of TEEB Philippines
- Focus on policy recommendations and outputs that generate multiple, gender-sensitive co-benefits related to poverty alleviation and food security, consistent with ecosystem based management goals.
National focal point
Other engaged actors: BIOFIN, World Bank WAVES project, Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, ASEAN Council for Biodiversity, National Economic and Development Authority, Laguna Lake Development Authority, Climate Change Commission, Biodiversity and Watersheds Improved for Stronger Economy and Ecosystem Resilience, Foreign Assisted and Special Projects Office, and Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau.
TEEB focal point
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