CALABANGA, CamSur: Pests have descended upon more than five hectares of mangrove plantation in Barangay Cagsao of this town, affecting about 80% of the trees, even as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) assures that the plague can be arrested.
Gilbert C Gonzalez, acting regional executive director of the DENR V, said the technical team of the DENR was sent to the mangrove plantation to validate the concern raised by Calabanga Mayor Evelyn Yu of pests attacking the leaves of mangrove trees planted in the once barren shores of Cagsao.
Planted more than three years ago, the mangroves had spread across the tidal flats with an area of more than five hectares of barrier against storm surge.
The mangrove plantation was initiated by the community in partnership with the local government, line agencies, non-government organization, private entities, and individual volunteers in line with disaster risk management program.
Feliciano Lauricio Jr, DENR’s surveillance officer, said the mangrove plantation is being attacked by Tussock moth (Lipedoptera Lymatriidae) whose larvi – caterpillars - gobble the leaves of mangrove trees wilting the weak ones.
Lauricio assured the pests can be easily checked and eradicated with the use of indigenous materials and manual eradication of the pests.
The more than five hectares of mangrove plantation is a green canopy rising and creeping above the shallow tidal flat which was established in 2009.
Some 371km south of Manila and 39km northeast of Naga City, the mangrove plantation is part of the disaster risk reduction and mitigation project of the community, according to Barangay Chairman Pascual Sta Ana.
Cagsao, a coastal village with high vulnerability to storm surge, nestles on the side of a steep hill that drops to a narrow shore line, is home to 1,629 inhabitants, mostly depending on fishing for their livelihood.
There are 582 households with 730 families clustered in seven zones.
Sta Ana said the mangrove plantation is one of the small-scale mitigation measures the community embarked on to build a natural buffer against storm surge. – Bicol Mail