The effort toward restoring lost mangroves in the Philippines has been commendably immense, specifically during the past two decades. In light of such, it is important to evaluate outcomes and, where appropriate, apply the lessons learned to the current strategies in mangrove forest management. This article synthesizes the results from several research projects assessing the performance of planted mangroves across the country. Overall, there is a widespread tendency to plant mangroves in areas that are not the natural habitat of mangroves, converting mudflats, sandflats, and seagrass meadows into often monospecific Rhizophora mangrove forests. In these nonmangrove areas, the Rhizophora seedlings experienced high mortality. Of the few that survived (often through persistent and redundant replanting), the young Rhizophora individuals planted in these nonmangrove and often low intertidal zones had dismally stunted growth relative to the corresponding growth performance of individuals thriving at the high intertidal position and natural mangrove sites. From this evidence, this article argues that a more rational focus of the restoration effort should be the replanting of mangroves in the brackish-water aquaculture pond environments, the original habitat of mangroves. For such, a number of management options can be explored, the implementation of which will ultimately depend on the political will of local and national governments.
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Vol. 37 • No. 4