Adapting to a Changing Environment

Network of Sustainable Livelihoods Catalysts, Inc

Entry Overview

General Info
Email :
Organization Address: 
CASAFI Compound, Liboton Street
Naga City, 4400
Population Impacted: 
Partido Area (4th District of Camarines Sur): comprising 299 barangays (10 municipalities) with population of nearly 372,548 (NSO, 2007). Primary users/coastal villagers: 122 coastal barangays with population of nearly 152, 324 (NSO, 2007)

200 075 hectares

Major Occupations: 
Fishing and Farming
Local resources the community depends on, and for what purpose: 
Nearly forty percent of population lives in coastal areas and are directly dependent on local fishery resources as their primary and secondary source of livelihoods.
Local threats to resources: 
Overfishing was identified as the biggest threat to the fisheries resources in Partido Area. Compressor, dynamite and cyanide fishing are rampant. There are also incident of commercial fishers using more efficient gears poaching in municipal waters. Anoth
Climate Hazards: 
According to David, there are ten types of climatic conditions happening in the Philippines that are attributed to climate change. Based on the figure, Tinambac belongs to Cluster 9, where increase in the sea surface temperature is expected to be within medium range. Other factors such as increase in precipitation and seas surface heights (SSH) are medium to high. In focus group discussions and interviews conducted by NSLC revealed that coastal residents have been experiencing storm surge during typhoons and witnessing frequent occurrence of coral bleaching in the past decades. Community residents are also worried of coastal erosion (receding coastline) and decreasing income from fishing and seaweeds farming due to longer period of high sea surface temperature.
Level of exposure to these hazards: 
Bicol Region is frequently visited by average of 20 typhoons per year. Coastal communities in Partido Area are highly vulnerable during typhoon season for they are facing the Pacific Ocean where most of the typhoons visiting the Philippines originate.
Level of sensitivity: 
Longer period of high sea surface temperature can bleached the coral and can caused sea water to become more acidic. These could stress and weaken the fishes and other marine organisms. Stressed and disturbed fish can result to poor fish biomass and dipping fish fecundity. Increase in water temperature can cause coral to bleach and algae to have massive colonization. Coastal communities are also vulnerable for the country is situated where high Sea Level Rise is happening. Studies show that here has been a steady Sea Level Rise in the Philippines from 1993 to 2009. Bicol Region where Partido Area is located has an average seal level rise of 7-8mm/year. Sea level rise will cause erosion (increase in areas for sediment deposition but since there is not much sources from the land, the sediments from the beach will erode to fill-up those spaces. (source: vulnerability assessment, February 2012). The massive mangrove cutting and deforestation also hastens sea level rise. Low fishery productivity lowers the income from fishing and seaweed farming. It has detrimental effect to local economy.
Level of adaptive capacity: 
Coastal communities in Partido have low adaptive capacity and coping mechanisms due to the following factors: a. Poverty- mostly of coastal barangays poverty incidence of 50% or higher b. Poor governance- majority of coastal barangays especially island barangays have poor enforcement of fishery laws. There are marine sanctuaries though but 80% has MPA level 0 (using MEAT) c. Environmental degradation ? Dynamite and cyanide fishing is rampant in far flung coastal barangays and unregulated fishing activities. d. Uncontrolled population growth- increasing number of fishers e. High dependency of constituents from government support (from birth to death) f. Very limited livelihood options g. Limited access to communication h. Belief that fishery resource if infinite
Describe Your Solution: 

NSLC team members have been working with fishers and coastal communities in the Philippines for more than forty years. It was observed that after ?fisheries? program phase out from the community, local fisher slides back to their old and unsustainable practices. As a result, local resources became more degraded. It was also observed that there is disconnect between resource conservation and livelihoods from fishers? perspective. Lastly, community ownership to the conservation process was lost along the process of change for it was always emphasize in writings and in speeches that it was a global initiative or NGO initiated or government owned. Community role has always been undermine. NSLC in partnership with IUCN-NL, Rare and Local Government of Tinambac designed a process to enhance community?s ability to take the lead in protecting their marine sanctuaries and other marine resources and improve community?s ability to adapt to changes caused by changing climate. Marine Protected Area (MPA) is not new in the Philippines. There were about 1,600 MPAs in the country, however only 10% is functional and working. In Partido Area alone, around 21 MPAs have been established by the local government and local community with main goal of protecting marine habitat from illegal fishers and improving fish biomass and abundance. However, majority of the MPAs in Partido are not strictly enforced and are not being managed well. Only AGCA Sanctuary achieves MPA Level 3 (MEAT Score) for NSLC team and community members used social marketing strategies to get community buy-in of MPAs and achieve conservation result. Through the assistance from Rare and IUCN-NL AGCA Pride Campaign was run and resulted to a positive change ( ). NSLC observed that those barangays with locally-owned and managed MPAs enjoys good and more abundant harvest of seaweeds and fish compared to those barangays without MPA. Improved hazard risk management. To manage the hazard risks, MPA is regularly monitored both by a science team from academe and local monitoring team and being feedback MANCOM and TWG. Crown-of-thorn infestation is being watch and monitored by local fishers with local law enforcers. Improved use of marine ecosystem services MANCOM and volunteers developed a logbook system to record MPA related activities. The logbook system is one of the innovation/solutions in improving MPA Management by engaging local fishers and leaders in monitoring and analysis. Every day, bantay-dagat record their daily activities; observations; violations observed; action taken and expenses. They summarize and report it to the MANCOM and to the barangay captain at the end of the month. The results serve as very important input in the evaluation and planning at the end of the year. This is a very simple process but powerful if done consistently. It guides the barangay and municipal officers for informed decision making.

Ecological Costs: 
Loss of Fishing Ground
Ecological Benefit: 
Reduce Near shore Fishing Pressure Increased Fish Recruitment Increase Coral Cover Improved Fish catch near MPA Improved Fish biomass inside and near MPA Improved Fish Abundance inside MPA
Economic Indicators used to measure benefit: 

Benthic survey Fish visual Census Fish test Perception survey

Community/Social Cost: 
Time away from family / home for the pursuit of livelihood Less Time for Family/Recreations
Community/Social Benefit: 
Increase Knowledge Increased skills / capacity High Level of Awareness In-Place Enforcement System Increase Networking Capacity
Community/Social Indicators used to measure benefit: 
Inspired other coastal barangays/municipal to establish new MPAs More support from the government
Economic Cost: 

Travel to find new fishing ground (additional gasoline cost) Increase capital, increase expenses for fishing trip

Economic Benefit: 

Increase fish catch, bigger fish Tourism Potential Business stimulation Increased investment opportunities

Ecological Indicators used to measure benefit: 

Household survey

What were/are the challenges your community faced in implementing this solution?: 

Even well-trained trained volunteer fish wardens and local officers can be tempted to intrude in the MPA. So setting up barangay and municipal- LGU level oversight system is necessary. It can also be overcome through strengthening of local organizations and collective community mobilzations to maintain behavior change.

Describe the community-based process used to develop the solution including tools and processes used: 

Fishers were identified as one of most vulnerable sectors in the society from the impacts of climate change. In the assessments mentioned above showed that they are one of the major causes of threats/risks to the local resources. Most of the time, they were considered problems, threats, and sometimes pests. Fishers are the target audience and main actors in the innovation/solution developed. They are the key to social and environmental change. From the very start they have been involved already. In this manner, fishers have big role in decision-making processes on restoring and managing local resource. NSLC started working with fishers from two coastal barangays of Tinambac in Partido (as pilot site) using a combination of community-based coastal resource management (CBCRM) approaches and social marketing (SM) strategies. Several assessments had been done, to name a few: Community Needs Assessment; Participatory Coastal Resource Assessment; Knowledge, Attitude, and Practices Survey, Marine Protected Area Assessment, Vulnerability Assessment to Climate Change, Organizational Diagnosis; Action-Reflection-Planning Cycle of Learning etc. The innovation/ solution is a collaborative effort among resource users themselves, Non-Government Organization (NGO), Local Government Unit (LGU), Rare/UP-MSI/GIZ, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Department of Environment and Natural Resources(DENR), Church, Academe, media, community-based organizations and private sectors. Implementation started during the establishment of the sanctuary on 2006 and continued up to nnow. To sustain the effort local chief executive issued an Executive Order for the creation of- The Policy making body called Technical Working Group (TWG) and implementing body called Management Committee (MANCOM). The TWG was composed line agencies, NGO representatives and sectoral representatives. The MANCOM is the oversight committee on the AGCA Sanctuary management body. They discuss issues and provide updates to the bigger public and solicit reactions and thoughts coming from a community with a wider sectoral representation. Mostly of the MANCOM members are fishers.

Climate hazard of concern: 
Sea surface temperature rise
How does your solution reduce the exposure of and buffer/protect the ecosystem affected?: 

Ten years ago, AGCA Community is the mostly feared fishing village in Tinambac, Philippines because people here were perceived to be as outlaws. Aside from occurrences of unsolved crimes, it was a haven of dynamite fishers and illegal fish traders. MPA was established. Policy was made and environmental education was conducted. But still people continue with their old practices. In addition, the communities were also experiencing coastal erosion by 2-3 meter/decade. This receding of coastline is also happening along the beach/coast line in Partido. Increase sea surface temperature hastens thermal expansion hence experiences coastal flooding and sea level rise. The community is highly vulnerable in terms of Socio ? Economic (SEA) parameters. This is due to decreasing fish catch and limited livelihood activities at the site. Therefore, it is imperative to strengthen fisheries laws (with combination of soft and hard enforcement; diversify livelihood activities in the site; and continue with the protection of coral reefs and mangrove forest.Exposure to strong waves and storm surge was minimized by protecting the coral reefs and maintain good stands of mangrove forest. They make use of natural wave breakers. Coastal erosion was minimized by employing sloping rocks along the shoreline.

How does your solution reduce the sensitivity of the ecosystem affected?: 

The solution resulted to about 10% (from 29.3 to 38) increase in Hard Coral cover inside MPA. This positive change can be attributed to the threat reduction from dynamite blasting and cyanide fishing and presence of active law enforcers, a result of pride campaign activities. Although coral cover has not yet recovered significantly, fishes have already started to come back to the core zones where they are safe from extraction. More importantly, fishes observed in the MPA were able to grow to their large mature sizes. The fish biomass inside the MPA has significantly increased from 32.8 MT/km2 to 55.6 MT/km2 from 2011 to 2012 (Figure 3. 3). This puts AGCA in a very high category in terms of fish biomass according to Na�ola et al., (2006). In contrast, fish biomass has declined outside the MPA, where fishing is allowed. This underscores the benefits of protection to reef-associated fishes in the MPA.

How has your solution increased the capacity of the ecosystem to adapt to potential climate changes?: 

Strictly enforced MPA can result to healthy corals and more fish. MPAs strengthened the ?immune system? of the sea to become more resilient to the changing climate. It enhances the ability of corals to recovery from bleaching. It also improves ability of fish to cope from stresses by providing a more secure and comfortable refuge zone. Maintaining mangrove forests also help in reducing sedimentation and coastal erosion.

How does your solution reduce the exposure of and buffer/protect the communities affected?: 

Conservation of coral reefs and mangrove forest protect the communities from exposure to the hazards.

How does your solution reduce the sensitivity of the communities affected?: 

The solution reduces the sensitivity of the community affected through its incentive program. The local chief executive supports 5 deputized bantay-dagat, 3 bantay-bakawan, 2 bantay-baybayon. The local government increase the budget for the construction of guardhouse from PhP 150,000 to 650,000.00 to make it typhoon proof. They provided raincoat, flashlight, and cellphone with hotline number. They helped in spreading the message that the sanctuary is owned by community. It is their legacy to their children. There was also a billboard, wherein the community can refer as to where the NTZ was located. Regular patrolling and guarding was in placed. Regular mancom meeting was held monthly. There was a regular recording in the logbook. As a result compressor fishing was stopped and poaching inside MPA was reduced. There were also capacity program were local people attend a values formation and skills enhancement trainings offered. They will be the new breed of community residents to lead in the sanctuary related activities, assist the PO and LGU in managing and enforcing the sanctuary.

How has your solution increased the capacity of local communities to adapt to potential climate changes?: 

Before the establishment of MPA almost 80% of local fishers are engaged in illegal and unsustainable fishing practices. Community participation is needed to strengthen its enforcement and governance infrastructures and get 100% community buy-in to support the sanctuary. Fishers will revert back to unsustainable practices if sustaining mechanisms and infrastructure will not be installed. The solution has improved coordination among enforcement system through logbook system, regular meeting, and conduct of regular monitoring and evaluation; improve voluntary compliance from fishers, and came up with a good management plan that is climate change proof.

Can this solution be replicated elsewhere?: 

Yes this can be replicated. Pride Campaign is currently being replicated in four sites in Partido Area. We?ve got, Sagnay Pride Campaign, Siruma Pride Campaign, Tiagon Pride Campaign and Caramoan Pride Campaign. Prize from this search will be used to run mini-Pride Campaign to other coastal communities with MPA that needed technical and financial support. Solutions to address from different community vary depending on the exposure and sensitivity of local resources and community and on the adaptive capacity of the local people. What matters is that there is community ownership and accountability of the problem and they take pride in finding the right solutions.

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