By Johny S. Natad
Surigao City, February 18 – The Biodiversity Partnerships Project (BPP) presented the result of biological assessment to members of the LMDA Expanded Technical Working Group (ETWG) during the 6th LMDA Expanded ETWG meeting at Philippine Gateway Hotel, this city.
The BPP contracted the MS-Center for Optimal Research and Development (MS-CORD) to conduct study on the Biological Assessment in Lake Mainit Key Biodiversity Area in four Agusan del Norte municipalities .
The biological assessment conducted to four sampling areas specifically Barangay Pangaylan in Santiago, Barangay La Fraternidad in Tubay, Barangay Sangay in Kitcharao, Barangay San Pablo in Jabonga, all in province of Agusan del Norte.
Dr. Romell A. Seronay, the assessment team leader presented the species richness of flora in four sampling areas. The study shows that there are 92 species identified in Santiago of which 24 are endemic species and 11 are threatened. In Tubay, 68 are identified flora species with 22 are endemic and 6 are threatened species. There are 56 species identified in Kitcharao with 23 are endemic and 10 are threatened species while 79 species are found in Jabonga with 21 endemic and 8 are threatened species.
Based on the data analysis, Seronay explained that the sample area of Santiago and Jabonga are rich in biodiversity with Shannon index of 2.94 and 2.17 respectively, followed by Tubay and Kitcharao with index 1.28 and 1.04.
Seronay also presented a total of 103 species of vertebrate fauna found in four sampling area. There are 38 birds, 6 amphibians, 3 reptiles, 6 bats and 1 non-flying mammal recorded in Santiago. Some 23 birds, 4 amphibians, 3 reptiles, 3 bats and 1 non-flying mammal are found in Tubay. Documented fauna in Kitcharao are 48 birds, 4 amphibians, 4 bats, and 1 non-flying mammal. In Jabonga, there are 64 birds, 5 amphibians, 4 reptiles, 5 bats and 1 non-flying mammals.
With this data, the study team recommended that “priority areas for biological conservation should be identified within the proposed ecological zones in Lake Mainit watershed. It is also recommended that indigenous species should be planted instead of invasive species and fruit trees. This will retain the original vegetation and revive wildlife community and will help regenerate the watershed as well”.
Meanwhile, the MS-CORD will be conducting another biological assessment to four municipalities in Surigao del Norte this year as part of the continuing contract service with the project. This is to achieve the overall objective of the study which aims to determine three priority species which are currently found thriving within the 2000 hectares watershed encompassing eight municipalities in Lake Mainit influence area. (JSN/LMDA)