Best of 2015: On Philippine coasts, rebuilding nature’s barriers to stormier seas

Sunset over mangroves in Southern Leyte, Philippines.

Sunset over mangroves in Southern Leyte, Philippines. Mangrove forests serve as a natural barrier for coastal communities, protecting them from storm surge. (© Kevin Schneider)

Editor’s Note: As 2015 comes to a close, we’re recapping some of Human Nature’s top stories of the year. See more here. 

Two years after Typhoon Haiyan crashed into the Central Philippines in November 2013, the storm’s widespread devastation is still very much in the lives and minds of many Filipinos — including Susset Enolva, a mother whose family still resides only feet from where the waves swept their house away.

But good changes are on the way, thanks to a new agreement signed at the climate talks in Paris.

Through this agreement, Conservation International, the French Global Environment Fund (Fonds Français pour l’Environnement Mondial, or FFEM) and the government of the Philippines will deliver more than US$ 1.6 million to help the island country become more resilient to such storms, which may become more frequent and intense in the coming years due to climate change.

Reported from the Philippines, this story traces a community’s journey after Haiyan — and how protecting nature could protect it from future storms.

Molly Bergen is the senior managing editor of Human Nature. 

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