Monday, December 18, 2017
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  • Philippine Eagle Foundation, Inc. (PEF)

    Philippine Eagle (Photo by: Klaus Nigge)


    Enhancing Biodiversity Conservation within the Unprotected Region of the Mt. Apo Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA)

    To manage unprotected forests as local conservation areas (LCAs) and promote sustainability through conservation financing and knowledge management
    Davao City and the municipalities of Arakan and Magpet in North Cotabato
    Area for Protection: 30,000 hectares of natural forests within Mt. Apo KBA
    Indigenous and migrant communities, Local Government Units of Davao City, Arakan, and Magpet
    2 years

    Mt. Apo is one of the Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) in Mindanao known to host four (4) pairs of the International Union for Conservation of Nature critically-endangered Philippine Eagle and other equally important biodiversity. However, out of the 99,000 hectares of KBA, only two-thirds is legally protected. Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) engages local communities in expanding protected area management of the Mt. Apo KBA.

    The direct threats to biodiversity targets at the Apo KBA are (a) agriculture (farms, swidden plots, and plantations), (b) biological resource uses (logging, wood harvesting, wildlife hunting, killing, trapping, poaching and accidental trapping), (c) human intrusions and disturbances (farming too close to breeding sites), and (d) natural system modification (e.g. fires).

    Key biodiversity attributes continue to be ‘stressed’ by habitat loss and degradation. Outside the natural park, PEF reported that nearly 10 hectares of forests were felled and cleared for farming in 2013. Ancestral domains were also sold due to poverty of communities residing within. According to PEF, such “distress” land sales are rampant in Mt. Apo and are a result of poor law enforcement. This clearly links upland poverty to loss of biodiversity and natural resources.

    USAID, through the Philippine-American Fund, assists PEF in addressing biodiversity threats by using the Philippine Eagle and other focal species as flagships for biodiversity conservation. PEF improves quality of life of local communities living in the unprotected areas of Mt. Apo.

    PEF trained more than 180 community members in forest patrolling and wildlife protection. In November 2016, a total of 130 members passed the exam of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and were deputized as Wildlife Enforcement Officers (WEO). WEOs assisted the DENR in implementing the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act through forest patrolling and reporting of violators. The WEOs took oath on Feb. 27, 2017 during the Watershed Stakeholders Summit in Davao City.

    Approximately 10,000 hectares of forest domain and watershed were declared as sacred by the Manuv’u Tinonanon of Arakan through the signing of a Limlimluwan Declaration – a binding indigenous conservation agreement.

    Community Development Plan (CDP) formulation was completed for all sites.  For this quarter, the team assisted the Obu Manuvu of Magpet in the formulation of their community development plan. Copies of the CDP of the Davao cluster were printed. The CDP of Arakan and Magpet are still being validated. Based on the CDPs, a total of 31,166 hectares of forest domain and watershed covering 52 barangays were already declared as sacred by the indigenous communities.

    The project facilitated the review of the second draft of the Arakan Forest Land Use Plan (FLUP). The updated draft now incorporates biodiversity conservation and sustainable development initiatives of forest guards, as well as inputs to the CDPs and Limlimuwan IP environmental governance.  It also included 41 digitized thematic and indicative FLUP-ready maps as baselines for the enhanced Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan. The draft was presented to the officials of the Arakan local government unit (LGU) for validation, which was attended by13 LGU officials, (15 percent women).

    The project continued to implement activities related to the management of endangered or critically endangered species, including a density study and rapid appraisal. Initial reports from activities revealed the following:

    1.    A total of 34 detections of the Southern Rufous Hornbill or “Kalyawa” for the Obu Manuvu in Tambobong and none in Tawantawan.  Encounter rate for this bird is 1.42 per km., or three (3) birds seen for every 2 km traversed.  Abundance is critically low at 0.07/ha.  Only 1 nest was found in Tambobong.  
    2.    A total of 86 bird species were recorded under 35 Families and 64 genera; 48 species in Carmen, 38 species in Tawantawan, 42 species in Tambobong, and 58 species in Salaysay.
    3.    Notable species documented are Philippine Eagle and Southern Hawk Eagle, listed in IUCN as Critically Endangered and Endangered species, respectively.
    4.    Five (5) independent photos were captured of the Philippine Deer or “salarung” to the Obu Manuvu.  Its relative abundance is low at 0.01/day based on camera trap data.  

    The satellite tracking of the juvenile eagle reported as tagged last quarter indicates that the bird has been moving away from the nest site.  Based on latest reading, the eagle was about two kilometers away from the suspected nest tree. Its activity area covered about 160 hectares of land area around the Mt. Apo KBA.