Saving Panigan-Tamugan Watershed for the Future

April 24th, 2016 by

DAVAO CITY – The Panigan-Tamugan watershed, while not really well-known, has recently been in the limelight due to the attention given to its surface waters.

As a sub-watershed area belonging to the main Davao River Basin, the watershed area is located in the Baguio District and adjacent to the Talomo-Lipadas Watershed, which is currently the source of Davao’s drinking water.

In the late 1990s, faced with the problem of dwindling ground water in the aquifers of Talomo-Lipadas, the Davao City Water District (DCWD) sought other viable sources of drinking water in the region to allow the aquifers to recharge.

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The Biodiversity of Davao’s Watersheds

April 24th, 2016 by

DAVAO CITY – In the olden days, Bagobos living in Davao’s watersheds look to the limokun, the white-eared brown Philippine dove, for omens. In indigenous folklore, the limokun is believed to be a spirit messenger, a harbinger of doom or fortune. For Filipino ornithologists, however, the limokun occupies a more mundane status, albeit a very important one, since the dove is a Philippine endemic, which means that it can be found only here in Philippine watersheds.

However, like most endemic species, the limokun’s survival is at stake since its habitat, which is found in lowland dipterocarp forests along the watershed, is fast vanishing due to various threats. In 2012, watershed advocacy group Interface Development Interventions, Inc. (IDIS) commissioned wildlife biologists from the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) to conduct a biodiversity assessment on two of Davao’s important watersheds, the Talomo-Lipadas (TL) and Panigan-Tamugan (PT) watersheds, which are the current and future sources of the city’s drinking water.

“The watersheds, essentially, are a center for endemism.”, said PEF Conservation Director Jayson Ibanez who said that his team was able to document 171 vertebrate species, mostly endemic, which are living in the dipterocarp forests found in the lowland areas. 28 of these species are categorized as threatened and near threatened, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

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Animals, some rare, now threatened by poisonous chemicals in Davao watersheds

April 29th, 2013 by

Davao City  –  A team of wildlife researchers from the Philippine Eagle Foundation, Inc. (PEF) has found that the remnant of lowland dipterocarp forests in the Talomo-Lipadas and Panigan-Tamugan (TL-PT) Watersheds, the current and future source of Davao’s drinking water, is the habitat of  some  twenty eight species that can only be found in the Philippines.

“We were able to document 171 vertebrate species, 28 of which are endemic to the Philippines”, said lead researcher PEF Conservation Director Jayson Ybanez who presented the study at the Ateneo de Davao University last April 15, 2013.

The survey  is part of the TL-PT Watershed Resource and Socio-Economic Profile, which aims to provide technical information to help stakeholders identify and plan the most cost effective way to protect and manage the watersheds.

The study revealed that the TL-PT Watersheds is home to the Philippine eagle, the Tarictic hornbill, the rare Mindanao montane racquet tail, the Mindanao scops forest owl, the Mindanao fruit bat, the Philippine flying lemur and the Philippine pygmy squirrel.

The team also observed at least two critically endangered tree species as classified by the IUCN. These are the White miranti and the Tanguile species.

The Interface Development Interventions, Inc. (IDIS) which commissioned the study under a grant from the Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE) and the  United States Agency for International Development (USAID) said that the findings underscore the importance of the TL-PT watersheds.

“The richness of the biodiversity in the remaining forest cover of the watersheds should impel every Dabawenyo to protect the watersheds. As reservoirs of biodiversity, these forests are essential to the survival of our endemic species.”, said IDIS Executive Director Ann Fuertes.

However, unsustainable agriculture, illegal logging and population pressure continue to threaten these fragile habitats and may force twenty eight of these species into extinction, according to the report.

“One of the threats that we found out is that slowly, banana plantations and farms are slowly encroaching towards the forest, even in areas which are considered environmentally critical areas as defined in the Watershed Code.”, said Ybanez.

In addition, with only the Malagos watershed as the sole remaining lowland forest that can support these species, it may take some time before the current reforestation initiatives bear fruit and allow these species to thrive again in the watersheds.

The proponents of the research urge that a more holistic and inclusive  approach should be undertaken in order to conserve the remaining species and habitats and to sustainably rehabilitate the deforested slopes.

This include the use of convergence-building efforts which promote  open, participative and effective  processes in addressing issues of conservation and resource management.

“Adaptive management would be a good scheme, wherein interventions are considered experiments where you refine your way of doing conservation and through that, all of your partners  learn through doing.”, said Ybanez. ( MINDANAO DAILY MIRROR)