Cal Academy partnership helps Philippines after typhoon
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Beyond the human tragedy created by the Philippines' typhoon there is also serious concern about the environment. Two and a half years ago, ABC7 News traveled to the Philippines with Bay Area scientists, so we took a look at how the research and partnerships developed during that expedition are paying off.
Long before Typhoon Haiyan ripped through the Philippines, the California Academy of Sciences was already working to protect this island nation's fragile habitats. Now that effort is kicking into high gear.
"The awareness it's created is more profound than anything I've seen in the Philippines in 20 years. Everybody is paying attention," said the academy dean of science and research Terry Gosliner, Ph.D.
In 2011, Gosliner -- a marine biologist -- led a team to the Philippines and it was the largest expedition in the Academy's history. American and Filipino scientists explored from the top of volcanoes to the bottom of the ocean.
It will take years to study everything they found, but some of the research is already being put into action. Just days after the typhoon hit, Gosliner was back in the Philippines, invited by a provincial government to talk about managing and protecting the coastline.
"It's really fundamentally important from the standpoint that a healthy environment is going to help moderate storms like this typhoon," said Gosliner.
A lot of the typhoon damage came from huge waves that swept through low lying communities.
"This is tied to climate change and this is the future that everyone sees and they are going to have to be really ready and prepared for that," said Gosliner.
A critical part of that preparation is keeping coral reefs healthy and protecting mangrove trees with extensive root systems along the shore. The trees and reefs act as buffers for the coast, blunting the energy of a storm surge, but many are threatened by human activities. Government leaders want to turn things around.
"This is really new territory and really exciting that they've asked us to be their partners," said Gosliner.
Academy research shows the benefit of creating large underwater parks where no fishing or human interference is allowed. They become nurseries that replenish the rest of the ocean.
Research also shows saving mountain rainforests directly affects the coral reefs. The forests hold in soil so it does not flow downstream into the ocean and cover the reefs with silt.
Over the last year, the Academy brought five Filipino scientists to San Francisco for training. Ivy Ambor Lambio is a professor at the University of the Philippines -- a key partner with the Academy in the protection of bio-diversity.
"The knowledge, the instruments, the expertise that they bring in to help us access this bio-diversity is really great," said Lambio.
Philippine forests and coral reefs are also critical to the country's growing eco-tourist industry because it is one of the richest eco-systems in the world. And despite the typhoon's destruction, most of the country is still open for business. Philippine officials say most of the popular tourist areas were not damaged in the storm. They hope international visitors will keep coming to boost the economy and help pay for the years of typhoon recovery that lie ahead.
Written and produced by Jennifer Olney.
philippines, storm, disaster, rescue, california academy of sciences, climate change, assignment 7, dan ashley
- Amber Alert canceled for child from Long Beach
- Fremont firefighters investigate three suspicious fires
- Two hospitalized after acid spill at Tesoro refinery
- Investigators to speak with shot San Francisco officer
- Tuolumne County man found guilty in I-580 shooting
- 6.9 earthquake rattles Northern California
- Bill introduced to have utilities develop security plan 44 min ago
- Local entrepreneur facing domestic violence charges
- Petaluma police searching for suspected drive-thru thief
- Stolen EBMUD truck found in Castro Valley
- Barry Bonds back in Giants uniform as camp coach
- Conn. shooter's dad: 'You can't get any more evil'
- weather: Bay Area weather forecast for Tuesday
- roundup: Fremont fires; Crash victim ID'd
- Bay Area weather forecast for Tuesday
46 min ago
- Bill introduced to have utilities develop...
44 min ago