Protect Cental Luzon wetlands – DENR
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional office here on Wednesday asked the public to protect and conserve wetland areas in the region as these are important migratory sites and habitats of migratory birds that frequent the country from the month of October until March.
Francisco Milla, Jr., regional director of DENR in Central Luzon, said wetlands were critical parts of the natural environment and ecological system, and home to migratory birds.
These wetlands include Angat Dam in Bulacan, Pantabangan and Paitan Lake in Nueva Ecija, Puerto Rivas in Bataan, Uacon Lake in Zambales, Canarem Lake in Tarlac and Candaba Swamp in Pampanga.
“Wetlands provide countless ecosystem services and benefits to local community, ranging from freshwater supply, food, biodiversity, and serve as flood control, groundwater recharge, and for climate change mitigation,” Milla said.
He said migratory birds from as far as China, Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand are frequent visitors of the region’s rich wetland areas particularly the 32,000-hectare Candaba swamp.
These birds escape the cold climate in their country of origin and come to the wetlands for refuge, feeding and breeding.
“Candaba swamp has been identified as one of the three ‘most important wetlands’ in the Philippines and has consistently been listed in the Asian Bird Map as an essential wintering area for migratory birds,” Milla said.
In the Asian Water Birds Census conducted last month, DENR conservation experts deployed in the Candaba swamp and in Puerto Rivas wetland in Balanga City reported to have sighted some 14,000 migratory birds, mostly belonging to the families of grebes, herons and egrets, rails, gallinules, coots, fin foot, jacanas, shorebirds-waders, gulls, terns, skimmers, king fisher, sparrow, and other water birds.
Milla appealed to the public to be more vigilant in protecting wetlands in the region, saying that these areas are vital for human survival and are among the world’s most productive environments.
He said various offices of the DENR in the region had embarked a massive information campaign and clean-up activities to raise the awareness of the public on the importance and value of wetlands and migratory birds. (PNA)