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News Feature: “SHINE Baliangao” strategy highlights protection of mangrove ecosystem
By Rutchie Cabahug-Aguhob
posted 31-May-2012  ·  
The town of Baliangao will continue to highlight the conservation and protection of its natural resources, foremost of which is its very rich mangrove ecosystem.

This was emphasized by Mayor Svetlana P. Jalosjos-De Leon, who said protection of the ecosystem is a priority of the “SHINE Baliangao” strategy, reflective of the town’s five themes: social enterprise development, health and social services, infrastructure support, new systems of governance and ecology and education.

The mayor said the town’s mangrove ecosystem is settled at the Baliangao Protected Landscape and Seascape (BPLS) that has become a source of pride to its people.

A biological coast, the BPLS is located in the northern part of the province of Misamis Occidental, bounded in the north by the Danao Sea, in the east by Sinian River, in the west by Barangays Tugas and Misom, and in the south by Barangay Landing of Baliangao.

“The BPLS has a very rich biodiversity, therefore, it has a high risk of biodiversity loss, if not regularly monitored and guarded,” the Mayor said.

Hence, the LGU, with the help of the Protected Area Wildlife Coastal Zone Management System, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (PAWCZMS-DENR), has set up a Biodiversity Monitoring Station (BMS) in the area.

Spanning around two kilometers, the BMS serves as the guard post to prevent poachers and to conduct a periodic monitoring of the BPLS.

The interactions of the living organisms with the natural coastal processes in the BPLS are brought about by the formation of combined coral reef and mangrove coasts, Exequiel A. Barillo, Protected Area Superintendent from DENR-Mis. Occ. said.

“The coral reef coast is of fringing type which serves as a barrier and protection for the mangrove forest against strong waves,” according to Barillo.

He also said behind the coral reef is the mangrove coast where mangrove forest species dominate the landscape area while sea grasses and seaweeds dominate the seascape area.

During the first quarter of the year, the BMS has monitored the BPLS to have at least more than 20 types of mangrove species which is vulnerable to poaching primarily for house construction and fishing-boat making.

In her report, Beverly A. Cabatuan, Environment Management Specialist (EMS) II of DENR-Mis. Occ., said the Alipata and Dapdap species are now in small numbers and already matured and therefore needs to be replanted while the Bacauan species dominate the mangrove forest.

Other species found in the BPLS include the genus Avicennia, Bruguiera, Ceriops, Lumnitzera, Sonneratia, Xylocarpus and Nypa.

Also found in the mangrove forest are the species Saging-Saging, Bacauan-Lalake, Bacauan-Babae, Bacauan-Bato, Piagau, Balok-Balok/Tiu, Dungon, Mayoro, Pedada, Pagatpat, Tabigi, Piapi, Malatangal, Malabago, Sagusa, Talisay, and Rattan.
Among the observed wildlife were waterbird species mostly heard chirping on top of the trees and hopping on their lower branches, which included the following: olive-backed sunbird or tamsi, kingfisher or tikarol, Philippine glossy starling or kulansiyang, chestnut manikkin or maya, black-capped oriol or antolihaw, spotted dove or tukmo, brahminy kite or banog, and the common egret, also known as great white heron and blue-capped woodpecker.

The monitoring was done through a transect walk, the field diary, a focused group discussion, and photo documentation methods, Cabatuan said.

“We hope to raise the awareness of our people on the conservation, rehabilitation and protection of our resources by strengthening our information, education, and communication program to include climate change, to generate the support of the stakeholders,” Mayor De Leon added. (PIA-10 Mis. Occ.)
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