July 19, 2024

BANGUED, Abra – Forest covers in Abra has increased by 19,000 hectares in a span of 10 years.

Abra Provincial Environment and Natural Resource Officer Marcelo Bumidang reported the province had 156,662 hectares of forest cover in 2020, up from 137,531 hectares in 2010, or an increase of 19,131 hectares, based on the comparison data by the National Mapping Resources Information Authority.

Bumidang attributed this to the relentless enforcement of environmental laws as well as the active participation of environment preservation partners, local government units, and other stakeholders.

He also cited the strengthened provincial anti-illegal logging task force.

“We strengthened the Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force of the province by strictly imposing environmental protection laws such as the anti-kaingin and intensifying tree cutting permits, and this is supported by the member agencies and stakeholders,” Bumidang said.

He also cited the DENR checkpoints where forest products such as logs and trees without proper documents are confiscated.

“We have checkpoints located in strategic areas of the province for monitoring purposes and also the implementation of Lawin, or Landscape and Wildlife Indicator, through foot patrolling in illegal-logging hotspot areas,” Bumidang said.

In the Cordillera, Abra is next to Apayao in terms of forest cover increase from 2010 to 2020.

To protect the forests and conserve biodiversity in the province, the DENR has proposed more locations to be declared protected areas (PAs) through legislation.

PAs will be placed under reserve-management strategies and biological diversity protection from human exploitation.

Abra has only one declared protected area, the Casamata Hill Protected Area in Bangued.

Bumidang stressed a point in proposing that the municipality of Tineg be declared a protected area and the municipality of Danglas be declared a wildlife conservation area. – Christian Allister G. Tubadeza