Monday, December 18, 2017
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    Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park (NSMNP):
    “Ating Buhay-Ilang, Ating Gubat, Ating Bahay”
    (Our Wildlife, Our Forest, Our Home)
    To protect biodiversity and natural resources in the NSMNP by effectively engaging local communities in protected area management
    San Pablo, Cabagan, Tumauini, Ilagan, San Mariano, Maconacon, Divilacan, Palanan and Dinapigue in Isabela
    Area for Protection: 360,000 hectares in NSMNP
    25,000 community residents
    2 years and 8 months

    The 360,000-hectare Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park (NSMNP) in northeast Luzon is one of the largest and most diverse protected areas in the Philippines. Forty-two globally threatened species in the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list have been recorded in the park, including the critically-endangered Philippine eagle, Isabela Oriole, Philippine crocodile and Hawksbill Turtle (Van Weerd 2014). The NSMNP has been identified as an Important Bird Area, a Conservation Priority Area and a Key Biodiversity Area (CI, DENR & Haribon 2006).

    Threats include illegal logging, agricultural encroachment, poaching, hunting and use of destructive fishing practices. The illegal resource extraction activities are partly driven by poverty of upland communities, but are largely the result of a lack of community organization, law enforcement and knowledge.  For local communities, the NSMNP remains abstract and irrelevant due to lack of understanding of biodiversity and its benefits. The local government units (LGUs), on the other hand, lack the knowledge and capacity to significantly contribute to the park’s management.  

    USAID, through the Philippine-American Fund, supports the Mabuwaya Foundation, Inc. (MFI) in protecting nine flagship species and their habitat in areas covered by the NSMNP.

    The project trains local communities for the conservation of identified species supported by strong advocacy, research and proper management. It also strengthens sharing of information on the NSMNP, its biodiversity resources and its supporting management plan. MFI brings conservation work closer to the hearts of the communities through familiarity with the species and emphasizing their strong relationship with the latter through their slogan: “Ating Buhay-Ilang, Ating Gubat, Ating Bahay” (Our Wildlife, Our Forest, Our Home).

    The project continued to collect data for the NSMNP library, 23 articles were added for printing and reproduction.  A total of 859 students was recorded to have used the NSMNP library at the Environmental Information Center in Isabela State University Cabagan Campus.

    The initial results of the biological survey, including identified threats, were presented to the municipality of Cabagan.  The municipal government expressed its full support for the declaration of the High Conservation Value Area (HCVA) identified during the survey. The LGU requested that pictures be displayed at the municipal lobby to inform the people of the endangered species in NSMNP.

    Teachers in the schools of Cabagan Science Elementary and San Mariano Central School were trained on the biodiversity of NSMNP. The training serves as an entry point for the adoption of biodiversity topics in their lessons in science and araling panlipunan (Social Studies).