Agroforestry helping to preserve Philippines’ largest reserve
A switch from harvesting timber to harvesting fruits is helping to conserve the largest and most diverse protected area in the Philippines.
An article in the Business Mirror reports on the struggle to protect the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park (NSMNP) in Isabela Province from illegal logging and hunting.
Since major conservation and monitoring efforts have been implemented, Mina Labuguen, protected area superintendent of the park, says people “no longer see the trees as source of easy cash. They now see its long-term benefit.”
“Agroforestry is becoming popular, not for timber, but for coffee, rambutan and other fruits,” said Labuguen. “Some of our communities are now harvesting fruits from the trees they planted before. They are now selling fruits rather than timber”.
The NSMNP covers over 350,000 hectares and is home to numerous rare and endangered flora and fauna, including the Philippine Eagle, the Philippine crocodile and a monitor lizard locally called bitatawa or baritatawa. An estimated 10,000 species of plants can be found within the park, about 5,000 of which are endemic to the Philippines.
Efforts from various law-enforcement agencies and local communities have resulted in the area no longer being considered an illegal logging hot spot.
Read the full story: Making biodiversity conservation a breeze