DAVAO CITY – The Watershed Management Council (WMC) and its member-organizations are planning to set up a riparian forest corridor at the Tamugan- Panigan watershed that will connect the watersheds to the city’s coastal areas.
A riparian forest is the area of land and vegetation immediately next to bodies of water such as streams, rivers, or lakes, said Mary Anne Fuertes, head of Interface Development Interventions (IDIS), the non-government organization representative of the project.
“Riparian forests help in filtering wastes, they absorb that instead of the runoffs from the uplands going to the river or water supply,” Fuertes said.
She added that apart from the ecological development of the watershed, riparian forests also serve as livelihood opportunities for communities in the area who will also be their partners in developing and managing the forest corridor.
“Ecotourism can flourish in the forest corridor. There can be barangay parks, picnic areas, and there are species of trees that can be used for livelihood,” added Fuertes.
Riparian forest corridors also attract different endemic wildlife, she said, both in the forest areas and the bodies of water they will be connected to, encouraging wildlife diversity.
The setting up of the riparian forest corridor project has no schedule yet, she said, but stakeholders from the immediate community also met yesterday at Lispher Inn in Juna subdivision for the implementation planning.
“We want to meet with the schools, barangay leaders, to determine what is feasible for everyone,” she said.
The Foundation for the Philippine Environment has set aside P2 million in two years for the project.
“This is not solely for the river banks projects. But with that amount, there are plenty of projects that can be started,” Fuertes said.
Additionally, Fuertes said there are five “Bantay Bukid” volunteers set for training this year to monitor the areas.
The volunteers will be coming from the barangays located around the Tamugan-Panigan Watershed, such as Tambobong, Tamugan, Wangan, and Wines.
The volunteers will join the 42 Bantay Bukid personnel trained last year, and Fuertes said they are compensated through provision of insurance, and equipment for their work in the area. (Salud Isabel Petalcorin, MINDANAO TIMES)