DENR to prioritize rehab of Mt. Nacolod in S. Leyte
TACLOBAN CITY—Massive rehabilitation of natural forests and conservation of Mt. Nacolod’s biodiversity will be prioritized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) following the discovery of two new species of frogs and 229 floral species in Southern Leyte.
Purificacion Daloos, DENR-8 regional information officer, said the discovery of new flora and fauna in the forests of Mt. Nacolod has pushed the government to enhance its environmental protection program in the region.
“Despite Mt. Nacolod’s infamous reputation of having highly fragmented and degraded forests, the impressive list of flora and fauna demonstrates the underappreciated biodiversity of the country,” Daloos said.
A biodiversity resource assessment conducted in the forests of Silago, Hinunangan, Sogod, Tomas Oppus, Malitbog and Maasin City in Southern Leyte in November 2011 resulted in the discovery of two new frog species belonging to the Platymantis guentheri group andPlatymantis hazale group.
Through the surveys, 229 floral species were also discovered, 31 of which are unique to the country. At least 212 terrestrial vertebrate species were also discovered, among these, 112 are birds, with 41 only found in the Philippines and with 11 of which are threatened to become extinct.
There were also 36 species of mammals and 64 species of amphibians and reptiles found.
“The department is poised to enhance the protection management system and start the rehabilitation of Mt. Nacolod within this year,” Daloos said.
Mt. Nacolod is a 14,000-hectare mountain and rises 1,007 meters above sea level. It straddles the municipalities of Silago, Saint Bernard, Libagon and Hinunangan in Southern Leyte. The two significant forests on the mountain are the Buac Watershed Forest Reserve and the Hinabian-Lawigan Watershed Reservation.
“For the national government, the discovery of new species will spur forest protection and rehabilitation efforts under the Philippine National REDD-Plus Strategy as part of the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAPP) and the National Greening Program (NGP),” Daloos said.
“Aside from the DENR, local government units are also encouraged to design appropriate management systems and monitoring protocols useful in protecting forest ecosystems, establishing local forest and biodiversity areas and to steer the rehabilitation of forests towards and efficient and more ecologically sound path,” Daloos added.
Daloos said the discovery of the new species on the fragmented forests of Mt. Nacolod intensifies the potential of REDD-Plus for effective protection and rehabilitation of natural forests and conservation of biodiversity, while benefiting local communities.
By REYAN ARINTO,
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