Ilocos forest declared wildlife critical habitat

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THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has declared  a dipterocarp forest in Adams, Ilocos Norte as a critical habitat for wildlife species.

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In DENR Administrative order, Secretary Ramon Paje said that declaring the area as a Wildlife Critical Habitat Would Help Protect and Conserve Ilocos Norte’s “Last Frontier Of Dipterocarp Forest,” And All Floral And Faunal Species Living There.

Dipterocarps refer to a family of hardwood, tropical trees like mahogany.

The forest, which has a total land area of 3,250 hectares (32.5 square kilometers.), has also been named Adams Wildlife Critical Habitat (AWCH).

The lush forests of the AWCH are known to be habitats of threatened species such as the Philippine falconet, Philippine hanging parakeet, Philippine brown deer, Philippine warty pig, as well as jade vines, giant tree ferns, and other dipterocarp trees.

“The DAO will enjoin the participation of all stake-holders from planning to the implementation process, encouraging them to be sustainable in their efforts as they will also stand to benefit the most from the health of the environment,” Paje said.

He explained that the involvement of the local government and other stakeholders—who usually rely on both the ecological and economic services that the environment naturally provides—would ensure the area’s viability as habitat for wildlife species even in the presence ecotourism development and other human activities.

The DAO gives the DENR regional executive director (RED) of the Ilocos Region the authority to enter into a partnership with all concerned groups for the preservation and conversation of AWCH.

The RED could also delegate management of the critical area to the local government of Adams after determining and enhancing the latter’s capacity.

The order requires the preparation of an AWCH Management Plan, which contains details about management issues and strategies to sustainably develop the area, including rehabilitation, community organization, promotion of environmental education and ecotourism.

Republic Act 9147, or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, prohibits certain activities within a declared critical habitat.  These include dumping of waste products that could adversely affect wildlife, illegal occupation of certain portions of the habitat, quarrying, mineral exploration or extraction, burning and logging.

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