Photo by on Unsplash

Nature-based Solutions

Reverting Fishponds to Mangroves for Coastal Protection

Mangrove ecosystems are known to contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation for its valuable ecosystem services. Unfortunately, mangrove populations are continually dwindling due to anthropogenic interventions as well as climate impacts. In order to take advantage of the mangrove ecosystem services, seafront rehabilitation has been attempted by planting projects but gained little success [2].

Climate Adaptation Effectiveness

In the Bakhawasan site in Buswang, Kalibo, it was observed that the natural and rehabilitated mangrove areas provided good coastal protection for the shore while only requiring narrow greenbelt widths [2].

Climate Hazards

  • Sea Level Rise
  • Tropical Cyclone


  • Bakhawan Ecopark, Buswang, Kalibo, Kalibo, Aklan, Region VI (Western Visayas)
  • Ermita, Dumangas, Iloilo, Region VI (Western Visayas)
  • Nabitasan, Leganes, Iloilo, Region VI (Western Visayas)
  • Dumangas, Iloilo, Region VI (Western Visayas)

Adaptation Sectors

  • Biodiversity
  • Coastal Areas
  • Disaster Risk Reduction
  • Ecosystem-Based Approaches
  • Marine and Fisheries

CCET Instuments

  • Action Delivery

Target Group based on Vulnerability

Basic Sectors:
  • Artisanal Fisherfolk
  • Children
  • Farmers and Landless Rural Workers
  • Indigenous Peoples
  • Persons with Disabilities
  • Senior Citizens
  • Women
  • Workers in the Informal Sector
  • Youth and Students


Economic / Financial Effectiveness

Reverting fishponds to mangrove forests would benefit the coastal communities, specifically their livelihood because of improved fisheries. In addition, it would provide coastal protection for the local communities in typhoon-prone areas of the Philippines. However, prior to implementation, it is important to first assess which areas have the possibility of rehabilitation to avoid misallocation of resources, funds, and the time and effort of local communities [2][7]. In Dumangas, Iloilo, 96.7% of the coastlines with abandoned fishponds were identified with high rehabilitation potential. If the funding from the Philippines’ National Greening Program for seafront planting is allocated to the targeted reverting and rehabilitation of fish ponds, it would be a much more cost-effective approach to establishing mangrove ecosystems [1][2]. Even if the initial cost for fishpond rehabilitation is high, on a 15-year projection, the benefits would outweigh the cost [3].

Technical Feasibility

Aside from funding, another problem encountered in fishpond reversion is the Fishpond Lease Agreement (FLA) issued by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). When terms under the FLA for an area are not met, the FLA is subjected to cancellation. The authority is then handed over to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources which would order the rehabilitation of the fishpond. However, due to disputes in the guidelines and terms of the FLA and lack of coordination between the agencies, not all of the FLAs are cancelled. This lowers the area available for evaluation for mangrove rehabilitation [3].

Social Acceptability

In order to implement this solution, assistance from the agencies are needed to cancel the disused FLAs to determine which areas can be rehabilitated. Capacity building and training of members of the community are also required to proceed with mangrove rehabilitation [6].

Environmental Impact
Mid (+)

Observations in rehabilitated areas show that there is a significant decrease in coastal erosion from mangrove coastal protection, increase in productivity, and increase in the biodiversity of aquatic organisms [4][5].

Mitigation co-benefit

Mangrove rehabilitation plays a big role in achieving climate change mitigation and adaptation. Aside from coastal protection, biodiversity and livelihood enhancement, the large areas covered by mangroves increase its ability to store carbon input [2].


fishponds, mangroves, coastal protection, seafront rehabilitation, climate change mitigation and adaptation, mangrove restoration


[1] Blankespoor, B., Dasgupta, S., & Lange, G. M. (2017). Mangroves as a protection from storm surges in a changing climate. Ambio, 46(4), 478-491.
[2] Duncan, C., Primavera, J., Pettorelli, N., Thompson, J., Lorna, R., and Koldewey, H. (2016). Rehabilitating mangrove ecosystem services: A case study on the relative benefits of abandoned pond reversion from Panay Island, Philippines. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 109, pp. 772-782.
[3] Ferrer, A. J. G., Hopanda, J. C., Orquejo, M. Q., Moscoso, A. D. E., & Sadaba, R. B. (2016). Reverting Disused Fishpond Lease Agreement Areas to Mangrove Forests in Region VI (Western Visayas), Philippines. In Marine and Coastal Ecosystem Valuation, Institutions, and Policy in Southeast Asia (pp. 201-224). Springer, Singapore.
[4] Hashim, R., Kamali, B., Tamin, N.M., Zakaria, R.. (2010). An integrated approach to coastal rehabilitation: mangrove restoration in Sungai Haji Dorani, Malaysia Estuar. Coast. Shelf Sci., 86 (2010), pp. 118-124.
[5] Primavera, J.H., Savaris, J.P., Bajoyo, B.E., Coching, J.D., Curnick, D.J., Golbeque, R., Guzman, A.T., Henderin, J.Q., Joven, R.V., Loma, R.A. and Koldewey, H.J. (2012). Manual on community-based mangrove rehabilitation. Mangrove Manual Series, 1, p.240.
[6] Primavera, J.H., Yap, W.G., Savaris, J.P., Loma, R.J.A., Moscoso, A.D.E., Coching, J.D., Montilijao, C.L., Poignan, R.P. and Tayo, I.D., (2014). Manual on mangrove reversion of abandoned and illegal brackishwater fishponds
[7] Walton, M. E., Samonte-Tan, G. P., Primavera, J. H., Edwards-Jones, G., & Le Vay, L. (2006). Are mangroves worth replanting? The direct economic benefits of a community-based reforestation project. Environmental Conservation, 33(4), 335-343.