UPLB-based center says wildlife protection initiative has reduced threats to biodiversity

A wildlife conservation initiative funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAid) called Protect Wildlife Activity (PWA) has been shown to have done much to reduce threats to wildlife and biodiversity, according to a University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB). -based center.

This was observed by an evaluation team from the Southeast Asia Regional Center for Graduate Studies and Research in Agriculture (Searca) led by the UPLB, which was also commissioned by USAid. .

Searca Director Dr Glenn Gregorio said the PWA, which covered several biodiversity hotspots in the Philippines, said the assessment findings may help inform similar natural resource conservation activities currently or in the future.

“[The] the results may also contribute to the growing body of evidence on good practice and to a better understanding of the enabling and hindering factors in biodiversity conservation and anti-wildlife trafficking, ”said Gregorio.

Searca’s Emerging Innovation for Growth department hosted a virtual learning event to disseminate key findings from the assessment and highlight lessons learned from the PWA. The event brought together speakers who provided an overview of the PWA and discussed the overall results and summary of the evaluation.

In her presentation of the brief history and achievements of PWA, Rebecca Paz, PWA Party Leader, said that there is a link between biodiversity conservation, the flow of ecosystem goods and services, and improved well- To be human.

“Preserving biodiversity in protected areas and coastal and marine areas supports livelihoods and the growth of the local economy, so PWA is not about protecting nature for people but protecting nature for people” , said Paz.

Documentary videos illustrating the efforts and contributions of the PWA to various stakeholders in the six sites covered by the assessment were also presented. Sites include Pasonanca Natural Park, Mount Mantalingahan Protected Landscape, Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Cleopatra’s Needle Critical Habitat, Mount Matutum Protected Landscape, and Bay of Protected Seascape. Sarangani.

During the open forum, the assessment team and stakeholders discussed PWA best practices that have greatly contributed to increasing beneficiary incomes and reducing threats to wildlife and biodiversity.

The documentary videos were also supplemented by key local implementing partners who shared their plans after the PWA.

Dr Rey Navacilla, DAI Global Site Manager for Pasonanca Natural Park, said the formulation of the Ayala and Manicahan Watershed Management and Development Plan will help examine the potential of these dams as sources of water for the city of Zamboanga, which will help improve the sustainability of the water resources of the natural park.

For the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Elizabeth Maclang, Protected Area Supervisor (PASu), said the use of camera traps will help authorities monitor activities inside the protected area as well as continued payment for ecosystem services.

For the protected landscape of Mount Mantalingahan, PASu Efren Hibaler said his goal is to create a Geographic Information System team for the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources to facilitate the zoning system in the protected area and use spatial planning and other technologies acquired through the PWA.

For Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape, PASu Joy Ologuin stressed that they will continue the efforts of the PWA, especially the strengthening of authorities, with the application protocol developed and the institutionalization of payment for ecosystem services.

USAid monitoring and evaluation specialist Dr Albert Aquino noted at the forum’s closing that protecting wildlife does not end with their collective efforts and the stories that have been told.

“After all, these collective efforts to protect wildlife are an ongoing story and continue to evolve, so please do our part,” Aquino said.

Meanwhile, Dr John Edgar, head of the USAid environment bureau, asserted that the conclusions and results presented at the learning event will be useful to stakeholders and also expressed hope that there will be more opportunities for future collaborations.

“USAid is a strong partner of the Philippine government in the conservation of countries’ rich biodiversity resources and believes that conservation is essential to building prosperous, stable and equitable societies,” said Edgar.

Project evaluation is important for measuring the effectiveness, relevance and efficiency of the project and for enabling those who design and implement projects to refine designs and introduce improvements for future efforts, he added.

Gregorio thanked USAid for their partnership with Searca and expressed the hope that they will have more opportunities to work together. “Searca strongly supports USAid not only to protect biodiversity in the Philippines but also in the rest of Southeast Asia and beyond.”

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Betty T. Simpson

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