January 11, 2018
A team of experts from Japan, Philippines, and Indonesia initiated a joint research project that will help boost local efforts to conserve and improve the resilience of the coastal ecosystem in the Coral Triangle and thereby to contribute to mitigating global warming.
The Coral Triangle, the global center of the marine biodiversity, includes the waters of the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste, and Solomon Islands.
The project entitled "Comprehensive Assessment and Conservation of Blue Carbon Ecosystems and their Services in the Coral Triangle (BlueCARES)" is a 5-year cooperation (2017-2022) under the Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS) Program supported by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST).
"This project that aims to conserve the blue carbon ecosystems can contribute to mitigating the adverse effects of climate change in the context of sustainable development," said JICA Chief Representative Susumu Ito during the recent joint coordination committee (JCC) meeting of the project, in which experts participated from Tokyo Institute of Technology, University of the Philippines Diliman, Indonesia's Marine and Fisheries Research and Development Agency under the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, and others.
Blue carbon is simply the carbon captured by the world's oceans and coastal ecosystems. When these systems are damaged, an enormous amount of carbon is released to the atmosphere, adversely contributing to climate change.
The project, according to Japanese Chief Technical Adviser, Professor Kazuo Nadaoka, will cover more than 80% of the total area of blue carbon ecosystems (e.g., mangroves, seagrasses) in Indonesia and in the Philippines. Project pilot sites include Busuanga Island, Honda Bay, northern and eastern coast of Panay Island, Bolinao and Boracay Island in the Philippines as well as Derawan Islands, Northern Sulawesi Peninsula, Nusa Penida Islands, Karimunjawa Islands and central northern coast of Java Island in Indonesia, and Japan's Yaeyama Islands in Okinawa.
"The research team would like to contribute in establishing a framework to conserve blue carbon ecosystems based on scientific research output, and come up with a Blue Carbon Strategy that can help policy makers at national and local levels," added Nadaoka.
Already, the research team has finished initial surveys in Busuanga and Panay Islands.
In the Philippines, the SATREPS initiative helped advance science-based policies in the conservation and adaptive management of select sites in the Philippines including Boracay, Puerto Galera, and Bolinao among others in 2015 and supported Filipino seismologists to enhance earthquake and volcano monitoring in 2011.