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This profile was last updated on 8/12/14  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Dr. Miguel D. Fortes

Wrong Dr. Miguel D. Fortes?

Board Member

Phone: (202) ***-****  HQ Phone
Society for Conservation Biology
1017 O St Nw
Washington Dc , District of Columbia 20001
United States

Company Description: The Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) is an international professional organization dedicated to promoting the scientific study of the phenomena that affect...   more

Employment History

  • Team
  • Marine Scientist and Professor of Marine Science
    University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute
  • Professor of Marine Science
    Marine Science Institute
  • Manager, UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Regional Secretariat
    Western Pacific
  • University of the Philippines

Board Memberships and Affiliations

  • Head of the National Committee On Marine Science
31 Total References
Web References
Society for Conservation Biology | Board, 12 Aug 2014 [cached]
Miguel D. Fortes, International Officer University of the Philippines, Philippines
Bolinao/ Ilog Malino, Pangasinan | SeagrassNet, 28 Oct 2014 [cached]
Dr. Miguel D. Fortes heads the SeagrassNet team at Bolinao/ Ilog Malino, Pangasinan.
Even for now, even if it's ..., 21 Mar 2009 [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.
Seagrass-Watch | seagrass news 2007 archives, 9 July 2007 [cached]
Dr. Miguel Fortes, a marine scientist and professor of marine science at the UPMSI, said that of the marine habitats, corals are the most popular, mangroves the most disturbed and seagrass beds the least studied.
Fortes said in the past, studies on the three marine ecosystems were done separately but "evidence shows the connection between them, that if you destroy mangroves, you destroy corals, and you destroy seagrass beds. Except the Philippines, the other countries shared common problems like the lack of good assessment of seagrass beds, including the factors that destroy them. The Philippines has also the most seagrass species, "but only maybe because more studies have been conducted here," Fortes said.
Bolinao trip
The participants were brought to an exposure trip to the flat reefs of Cape Bolinao where coral reefs abound and where the largest concentration of seagrass beds in the country (22,500 square kilometers, 10 species) is found. Fortes said seagrass beds and coral reefs should be considered as a macro-system of the tropical world that needs an integrated approach for management and protection. But seagrass beds have not been given much attention because "they are grass and not as attractive as the colorful corals," he said. "But they are as useful as corals," said Fortes, who has been studying seagrass for 20 years.
Some fish need both seagrass meadows and coral reefs to thrive, Fortes said. He gave as an example the rabbit fish which residents of this town make into padas (bagoong) when in juvenile stage, and into danggit (sun dried) when in adult stage. "Some species of rabbit fish spawn in sea bed about 12 kilometers from shore. The young fish are herbivores and graze at seagrass beds but when they are sexually mature, they stay at coral reefs," he said. Other species of rabbit fish stay at mangrove areas. But the seagrass, though hardy, is also affected by environmental degradation, Fortes said.
Dimitris Sgouros and Rostropovich at the 1994 International Sakharov Festival [cached]
Professor Miguel Fortes, Professor of Marine Science, Marine Science Institute
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