Plant, animal species at risk in Davao watershed areas

April 23rd, 2013 by

DAVAO CITY — Twenty-eight species of plants and animals inhabiting forested areas in the city limits — particularly those in Talomo-Lipadas and Panigan-Tamugan watersheds — remain at risk due to deforestation, an environmental group said.

In time for yesterday’s Earth Day observance, the Interface Development Interventions, Inc. (IDIS) has renewed its call for the conservation of watershed areas.

The 28 species under threat were identified through a survey and study commissioned by IDIS to the Philippine Eagle Foundation under a grant from the Foundation for the Philippine Environment with a budget of P750,000.

Based on the survey, dipterocarp forest of hardwood and tropical trees are the most threatened as the areas examined continue to attract illegal loggers and small farmers. The study also showed that watershed areas are now penetrated by plantations that resulted in the discovery of banned and harmful pesticides.

According to the study, the researchers recommended an integrated approach that include achieving clear biodiversity conservation results and utilizing systematic monitoring strategies. It also recommended the tapping of the community-based residents and natives as primary stakeholders to insure inclusion of indigenous communities in watershed management initiatives.

The Talomo-Lipadas and the Panigan-Tamugan watersheds are the chief sources of water for this city’s 1.5 million dwellers. While water supply in the city has remained adequate, both civil society and the Davao City Water District have expressed concern on water quality in the near and medium terms.

Mary Ann V. Fuertes, IDIS executive director, said the study was presented last week to the Environmental Management Bureau, the city council’s committee on health, schools, and other civil society groups.

“This is to highlight or a call for reflection on what we have done to nature. Watersheds are under threat and there is a need for immediate action for a long-term and sustainable management plan for our watersheds,” she said. (Maya M. Padillo, BusinessWorld)