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Wrong Miguel Fortes?

Dr. Miguel Fortes D.

Head of Office


HQ Phone: +44 207 766 3492


Suite 98 3

Whitehall Court, London SW1A 2EL

United Kingdom

Company Description

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. This is e ... more

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Background Information


Board Member
Society for Conservation Biology

Web References (55 Total References)

Even for now, even if it's ...

www.abs-cbnnews.com [cached]

Even for now, even if it's isolated but obvious, give it time where nothing substantial will be done, they will lose their sand," said Dr. Miguel Fortes, head of the UNESCO's National Committee on Marine Science (NCMS).

The erosion is happening particularly at Diniwid, a 200-meter long stretch of beach in the Southern part of the island, known for its powdery white sand. Fortes said he was astonished when he saw the drastic change in the sands within two years since his last visit in 2007.
Fortes had been commissioned by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) in Boracay to conduct a study on the erosions, after local officals were alarmed by the phenomenon.
Fortes explained that the erosion is occurring too rapidly, not because of overcrowding, but mainly because resorts and locals have built "environmentally unfriendly" structures like sea walls, which have blocked the natural flow of the current that naturally replenishes the beach.
"Sand should only move in and out of the shore, in and out, and it does not move to other islands. They have modified [natural processes] by constructing something, water and air is hindered, changing wave patterns on the coast so that erosion becomes more dominant," he said.
Wind patterns determine tide patterns, which in turn, are affected by the topography of coast causing both accretion (the build-up of sand making the shoreline farther away) or erosion (the loss of sand which makes the shoreline closer and closer inland). Normally, there should be a balance between accretion and erosion processes, which would sustain the beach's natural slope.
Sea walls and other structures that block the currents, Fortes said, are in danger of crumbling because waves have a stronger and harsher backlash when they slam against a wall.
Boracay should be protecting tourist destinations which are diving, boating, glass bottom boats," Fortes said after conducting initial investigations with a team of scientists in February. (see video)
He explained that coral reefs and seagrass act as buffers against wave impacts, but they have become less effective because of destruction, as well as sea level rise caused by climate change. He added that powdery white sand comes from coral reef organisms called "foraminiferans" but they can no longer replenish the coast because they have also been destroyed.
However, Fortes said this proves unsightly for tourists.
Boracay has also constructed bio-reefs to encourage more fish to come back to the area. Fortes said these are just quick fix solutions and recommended that Boracay's annual income should be used instead for long-term solutions like preserving the marine ecosystem in the area.
But it takes at least double the time for it to recover," Fortes said.
He was hopeful, however, that the problem could be solved if local government agencies, Boracay residents, and business establishment owners work together.

World Seagrass Association Committee Members

www.worldseagrass.org [cached]

Vice President - Prof. Miguel Fortes

Miguel is be Head of Office of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Regional Secretariat for the Western Pacific WESTPAC) until 2006.The organisation is mandated to develop, monitor and coordinate research projects and programmes on oceanography (coastal and oceanic) of 20 Members States.He is on secondment from the University of the Philippines.Miguel has been able to incorporate seagrass-related concerns e.g. SeagrassNet.SeagrassWatch and WSA, into the main thrusts of the office's capacity building plan for 2005-2008.

Dimitris Sgouros and Rostropovich at the 1994 International Sakharov Festival

www.sgourosmp3.com [cached]

Professor Miguel Fortes, Professor of Marine Science, Marine Science Institute

Mindoro / Paniquian | SeagrassNet

www.seagrassnet.org [cached]

Dr. Miguel Fortes (sitting on the far left) is the team leader.

Mindoro / Sabang | SeagrassNet

www.seagrassnet.org [cached]

Dr. Miguel Fortes (sitting on the far left) is the team leader.

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