Mangroves are an important tree species that thrive well on inter-tidal zone of sheltered coasts around estuaries and lagoons. Known as the “rainforest of the sea,” it covers approximately 17 million hectares in 112 countries in Asia, Africa, Australia and the Americas (NACA, 2009).

Southeast Asia harbors the largest mangrove areas, covering some 4.9 million hectares or about 35% of the world’s total. It is also the most diverse in terms of plant and animal composition. Of the 268 plant species recorded from these mangrove areas, 52 are considered true mangrove species, the rest are mangrove-associated species.

In the Philippines, there are at least 40 species of mangroves known to grow well in the coastal areas. Unfortunately, the extent of mangrove forest in the country has been experiencing a sharp decline in the last century. From an estimated 450,000 hectares in 1918, only about 200,000 hectares exist today. The reduction is being attributed to the development or conversion of mangrove swamps into different land-uses like aquaculture ponds, salt beds, reclamation of areas and other agricultural uses, among others.

Thus, in a move to integrate, re-focus and update the research directions in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region in light of climate change, among others, the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is organizing the First ASEAN Congress on Mangrove Research and Development to be held in Manila on December 3-7, 2012.

The congress shall serve primarily as a venue for the exchange of research information and updates among researchers and managers on the status of mangrove resources management in the ASEAN region.

Relative to this, the ERDB-DENR is calling for submission of abstracts/research papers on mangrove R and D for presentation in the ASEAN Congress. For those who are interested, they may submit an abstract, either for paper or poster presentation, of no more than 500 words to the ERDB ((This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) . Deadline is set on August 31, 2012.

The research paper or poster may cover either a completed or current research project dealing on any of the following topics: ecosystems functions and fisheries; silviculture, forest and stand; climate change adaptation and mitigation; and socio-economic issues and valuation.

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