DENR urges the public to protect wetland areas in C. Luzon

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga --- Official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here urges the public to protect and conserve wetland areas in the region as important migratory sites and habitat of migratory birds that frequent the country from the month of October to March.

Francisco Milla, Jr., regional director of DENR in Central Luzon said wetlands are critical parts of the natural environment and ecological system, and home to migratory birds, including Angat Dam in Bulacan, Pantabangan and Paitan Lake in Nueva Ecija, Puerto Rivas in Bataan, Uacon Lake in Zambales, Canarem Lake in Tarlac and Candaba Swamp in Pampanga.

“Wetlands provide countless ecosystem services and benefits to humanity, ranging from freshwater supply, food, biodiversity, and serve as flood control, groundwater recharge, and for climate change mitigation,” he explained.

He said migratory birds as far as China, Korean, Japan, Australia and New Zealand are frequent visitors of the region’s rich wetland areas particularly the 32,000-hectare Candaba swamp as a wintering refuge, feeding and breeding area to escape cold climate.

“Candaba Swamp has been identified as one of the three “most important wetlands” in the Philippines and has consistently been listed in the Asian Bird Map as an essential wintering area for migratory birds,” he pointed out.

In the recent Asian Water Birds Census conducted last month, DENR conservation experts deployed in the Candaba swamp and in Puerto Rivas wetland in Balanga City reported to have sighted some 14,000 migratory birds, mostly belonging to the families of grebes, herons and egrets, rails, gallinules, coots, fin foot, jacanas, shorebirds-waders, gulls, terns, skimmers, king fisher, sparrow, and other water birds.

As this developed, Milla appealed to the public to be more vigilant in protecting wetland areas in the region, saying that wetlands are vital for human survival and are among the world’s most productive environment.

He said various offices of the DENR in the region have embarked on a massive information campaign and cleanup activities to raise the awareness of the public on the importance and value of wetlands and migratory birds.

World Wetland Day (WWD) is celebrated every February, marking the date of adoption of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 1971. The convention was named after the city of Ramsar in Iran, where it was adopted.

The first WWD was first celebrated in 1997 to raise awareness about the value of wetlands for humanity and the planet, and has grown remarkably since then. In 2016, WWD was celebrated in at least 59 countries.

This year’s theme is “Wetlands for Sustainable Urban Future – Making Urban Cities Livable” underscores the importance of wetland area to achieve a sustainable and livable future for the present and future generation.”

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DENR intensifies protection of marine resources in Zambales

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here recently intensified its campaign on the protection and conservation of marine resources in the more than 7,000-ha Masinloc-Oyon Bay Protected Landscape and Seascape (MOBPLS) in Masinloc town in Zambales through the launching of a flagship species mascot named “Maggie”, under the Costal and Marine Ecosystem Management Program (CMEMP), environment authorities said.

Arthur Salazar, deputy director for Technical Services of DENR Central Luzon said the mascot Maggie symbolizes the blue spotted rabbit fish scientific Siganus corallinus, which is now threatened in the MOBPLS.

“Maggie was named after the pristine Magalawa Island in Zambales. The fishing for this flagship species is now being regulated by the local government unit because of its declining population,” he explained.

He said the blue spotted rabbit fish was chosen by local communities as flagship species because of its economic and ecological importance, being a major food source and livelihood for the fisher folk in the area.


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