Monday, December 18, 2017
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  • South Pacific Integrated Area Development Foundation, Inc. (SPIADFI)

    Securing Biodiversity in High Conservation Value Areas (HCVA ) in the Mt. Nacolod Landscape
    To protect and manage High Conservation Value Areas (HCVA ) in Mt. Nacolod through LGU and community mobilization
    18,640 hectares of Mt. Nacolod mountain range in Southern Leyte
    200 farming communities
    July 2016 to March 2018

    Mt. Nacolod is a 18,688-hectare mountain range in Southern Leyte and is one of the biologically diverse areas in the Philippines. In 2001, it was recognized as a habitat of highly threatened bird endemics including the Philippine cockatoo, Visayas wattled-broadbill and the forest specialist Walden’s hornbill. Biodiversity resources and the forest cover of Mt. Nacolod, however, is being threatened by unlawful collection of timber products and poaching of wildlife. Due to limited livelihood opportunities, forest areas are being used for planting food crops as well as wood gathering for fuel and construction. The unclear land tenure situation of the mountain range allows open access of people to timber products in the forest.

    USAID, through the Philippine-American Fund, supports South Pacific Integrated Area Development Foundation, Inc. (SPIADFI) in harmonizing local government units’ (LGU) efforts for the protection and management of High Conservation Value Areas (HCVA) in the Mt. Nacolod mountain range. SPIADFI expands HCVA research and uses information to mobilize LGUs and local communities in protecting the mountain range and the wealth of biodiversity that it hosts. In areas already declared as HCVAs, stronger governance mechanisms and community involvement are being promoted. Alternative regenerative economic activities are also being explored and tested.

    SPIADFI continued implementation of the HCV trigger species Survey in Barangays Catmon, Upper Bantawon and Kahupian. The survey seeks to establish the full characterization and population of High Conservation Values as well as the endangered and critically endangered species namely: Mindanao Bleeding-Heart, Philippine Tarsier, Forest ground frogs, and Philippine Cinnamons. The survey would serve as a guide in identifying the appropriate governance and programmatic interventions for Mt. Nacolod.

    The project conducted 16 community assemblies for the popularization of HCVA results in the month of March. The activity aimed to highlight the uniqueness and richness of the Philippines’ biodiversity as well as to increase communities’ awareness. The series of assemblies had a total of 793 participants (54 percent women).

    To enhance the degraded habitats and ecosystems areas in Mt. Nacolod, the project conducted community-based reforestation activities in selected barangays. Four nurseries were established in Barangay Upper Bantawon in the municipality of Hinunangan and Barangays San Vicente, Cabadbaran and Kauswagan in the municipality of Sogod which can accommodate 7,000 seedlings. These seedlings will be used to rehabilitate selected patches within the mountain range.

    Based on the recommendation of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), another request was made to incorporate additional activities into the gratuitous permit issued earlier. The new terms and conditions include (1) the collection and preservation of leaf, fruits and bark strips of cinnamon; (2) ear and tail-tip biopsies of the Philippine Tarsier; and (3) profiling of at least 2 specimens per study site. While awaiting the official response of DENR to the second request, the project continued to conduct the HCV trigger species survey focusing on research only, as approved by the gratuitous permit issued earlier.