AKLAN, Philippines — In December 1989, Elizabeth Ramos, now 63, heard from a neighbor that a mangrove reforestation project was underway near her home in the province of Aklan in the central Philippines. The meeting Ramos joined that day was for a reforestation effort by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), which had hired 30 local families to plant 50 hectares (124 acres) of mangroves in the mudflats of the adjoining villages of Old and New Buswang. Ramos was not one of the villagers originally selected to participate in this livelihood scheme, which offered people 75 centavos (then about 4 U.S. cents) per tree planted. But when other participants backed out, Ramos stepped in, ultimately becoming an integral part of a program that would reshape both her life and her community. The mangrove park in Kalibo, Aklan, Philippines has expanded to 220 hectares after three decades of community-led reforestation efforts. Image by Jun N. Aguirre Three decades since that meeting, the initial 50 hectares has expanded to 220 hectares (544 acres), thanks to both ongoing planting efforts and natural reforestation. The Kalibo mangrove is considered a major tourist attraction; in 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the mangrove forest registered 38,455 foreign and local tourists, and the Kalibo Save the Mangrove Association (KASAMA), founded by the planters, has received several national awards. The regenerated mangrove forest is also credited with shielding nearby villages from the worst of the impacts of Typhoon Fengshen in 2008 and Typhoon Haiyan in…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer