2023-11-21, 15:50–16:10 (Asia/Manila), Tacloban Room
This collaborative research, conducted jointly by the Southern Leyte State University-Bontoc and the Municipal Local Government Unit (MLGU) of Sogod, Southern Leyte, aimed to establish a comprehensive database of marine resources within the territorial waters of Sogod, incorporating detailed mapping and spatial analysis.
The study encompassed various ecological components, including mangrove forests, seagrass ecosystems, seaweed communities, coral reefs, and reef fish populations, and went beyond mere species identification to include the spatial distribution of these vital resources.
The research revealed that Sogod's mangrove forests, though covering only 0.2% of the municipality's total land area, displayed intricate spatial patterns. Detailed mapping allowed for the identification of distinct zones of mangrove growth and variation in species composition across different geographical areas. These maps serve as valuable tools for the targeted conservation and restoration of mangrove habitats.
In the case of seagrass ecosystems, the research included spatial analysis of seagrass beds, enabling the delineation of areas with higher seagrass density and diversity. Maps were generated to visualize the distribution of seagrass species, with particular emphasis on the dominant narrowleaf seagrass (Halodule uninervis) and its associated ecosystems.
The research also extended to mapping seaweed beds across Sogod's coastal waters. The generated maps showcased the distribution of different seaweed species, aiding in the identification of areas with high potential for seaweed farming and resource management.
In the realm of coral resources, detailed spatial mapping was conducted to understand the composition and health of coral reefs. These maps identified areas with the highest coral cover, including Brgy. Maac, which accounted for approximately 11.45 ha of coral reef extent. Additionally, maps helped pinpoint locations with signs of crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) infestations, allowing for targeted intervention efforts.
In conclusion, the combination of comprehensive resource assessment and detailed mapping provided a holistic understanding of the marine ecosystems in Sogod, Southern Leyte. These maps not only contribute to the sustainable management of marine resources but also aid in the identification of priority areas for conservation and resource allocation, ensuring the long-term prosperity of the region's coastal communities.