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 receives P1.2 M worth firefighting equipment to boost reforestation in N.Ecija

PALAYAN CITY, Nueva Ecija--- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here received recently some P1.2 million worth of firefighting equipment from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to further boost the reforestation and protection of the 44,000-hectare Pantabangan-Carranglan watershed in Nueva Ecija under the Forestland Management Project (FMP), environment official said. 

Alfredo Collado, provincial chief of DENR in Nueva Ecija said the firefighting tools would be helpful to sustain their efforts in the protection of the plantations that have already been established under FMP inside the Pantabangan-Carranglan watershed.

“Grassfire is one of the factors that destroy our forest plantations. If we cannot protect our reforestation areas from this destructive agent, our efforts would be nothing,” he explained.

He said the delivery of firefighting equipment is very timely for their preparation in the coming summer months this March and April and will augment their present capabilities in fire suppression and control, he said.


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