What is a Bakawan?

Bakawan | Image Source: Creative Common License (Flickr)

Bakawan (Rhizopora Mucromata) is a type of tree that grows in seawater and river water.

It is usually seen growing near the ocean.

Its roots are unique because they can live on the surface or underwater. Its roots have special properties that enable it to live on both surfaces and underwater.

This tree usually grows from two (2) to ten (10) meters in height.

The term “bakawan” has another definition or meaning.

Bakawan can refer to a large tree or mangrove tree (bakawan), a place in the center between land and an ocean where fish are located.

The mangrove tree is said to be the source of the material used in boat making and furniture making.

It is also used for charcoal making.

The extract of leaves and bark is used as a coloring component. It can also contain food such as honey, vinegar, and oil used for cooking.

Mangrove (Bakawan) is very important to our environment.

It provides shelter not only to fish but also to birds and other wild beasts. It also helps clean up the air and waterways because of its strong leaves and roots.

It also protects the nearby houses and shelters because it prevents wind gusts and waves from the ocean, especially during storms or tropical cyclones.

The term “mangrove” or bakawan covers any of the 70 or so species of shrubs or trees that grow in saline or blackish water. Each kind of mangrove is uniquely suited to its ecological niche, and the wrong kind in the wrong place won’t survive.

Mangroves are important ecosystems that provide livelihoods for coastal communities, as well as protection from waves and water movements. In addition, mangroves are important in mitigating climate change. A hectare of mangrove forests can store up to five times more carbon than most tropical forests around the world.

The bakawan is also called

  • bakaw,
  • bakawang babae,
  • bakhaw,
  • bako,
  • bukaw,
  • mangrove, and
  • tagasa

Today, July 26, is International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem.

Mangroves thrive along tropical and subtropical coastlines. They have the ability to withstand high salinity, tidal flooding, and low oxygen levels. Mangroves provide a rich habitat for many organisms. Mangrove conservation is critical for preventing coastal erosion and reducing atmospheric carbon.

Mangroves serve as a crucial link between marine and terrestrial ecosystems. From their roots to their trunks, and to their branches, Mangroves support the diverse and complex ecosystems that humans heavily rely on.

However, this fragile interconnectedness of life and biodiversity is threatened due to the rapidly disappearing, destruction, and continuing threat to mangrove ecosystems worldwide.

In today’s anthropocentric era, we are facing climate emergencies and threats to our Common Home. Hence the need for a global sense of awareness, participation, and advocacy building. Let’s heed the call of the worldwide advocacy toward the protection, restoration, and preservation of our mangrove ecosystems.

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