Enhancing Biodiversity Conservation in Busuanga

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The biodiversity of Busuanga Municipality is threatened by numerous factors including:

– Mangrove resources are depleted in portions bordering human settlements because households use them as fuel and housing materials;

– Kaingin farming among subsistence rice growers has led to the a reduction of forest cover and an increase in soil erosion;

– Overfishing is seriously depleting the marine resources as evidenced by declining fish catch and longer fishing periods over the years;

– Illegal fishing methods such as blasting and cyanide fishing had degraded the marine habitat, particularly the coral reefs.

It is clear that unsustainable human activities occurring simultaneously in both the terrestrial (kainging farming) and marine (blast and cyanide fishing) ecosystems of Busuanga are threatening the island’s biodiversity. For instance, the erosion caused by kaingin farming resulted in siltation among seagrass communities, therefore endangering critical nursery grounds for fisheries resources.

Thus, a ‘ridge to reef’ approach in conservation should be implemented. This proposal will cater to both the rehabilitation of upland ecosystem and at the same time the coastal and marine realm.

The project will strengthen the role of participation in biodiversity conservation and management of the island’s natural resources for the benefit not only for the municipality but for the nation and future generations.

The project design is based on a community grassroots ridge to reef approach of ecosystem management. The participation of communities and use of local knowledge is combined with credible and rigorous scientific research to demonstrate effective conservation management will be applied. This approach, reinforced with forest restoration, coastal resource management, capacity building of communities, partnership and collaboration among stakeholders and institutionalization to ensure environmental integrity and economic stability of communities.

The project intends to rehabilitate part of the 17,595.41 hectares forest area of the municipality and 1,157.56 hectares of mangrove forest that are most located in the 4 partner barangays (Concepcion, Salvacion, Sagrada and Bogtong) covering a total of 1,289 households and families.

Thanks to the Foundation for the Philippine Environment for funding and all of our partners on the ground for their tireless support!