Protecting Philippines’ forests to mitigate climate change and preserve biodiversity
© Jens-Ove Heckel
To rehabilitate and protect tropical forests in the Philippines to mitigate climate change and conserve biodiversity
The Philippines are particularly strongly affected by deforestation and forest degradation. Less than10 % of the area is covered with primary forest, and the percentage of globally threatened plant and animal species is unusually high. Rehabilitation and protection of existing tropical forests are regarded as effective tools for the sequestration of carbon and consequently a beneficial measure to mitigate recent climate change. Tropical lowland rainforests are not only the vegetation forms with highest carbon storage capacity, but also the terrestrial ecosystems with the highest species diversity on a global scale.
With a view of sequestering carbon and of creating or preserving
habitats of threatened wildlife species in the Philippines, a project
to protect or rehabilitate former or existing tropical forest has been undertaken jointly by the KATALA Foundation Inc. (KFI), Zoo Landau and
Stadtholding Landau being the owner of the LA OLA Leisure Bath.
KFI has profound experience in the rehabilitation and restoration of rainforest and mangrove in Palawan, and has implemented several biodiversity conservation projects since more than ten years, a.o. they initiated the establishment of four protected areas specifically for protecting the “Critically Endangered” Philippine or red-vented cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia). Zoo Landau in der Pfalz has actively supported conservation initiatives in the Philippines since several years. With regard to this project, Zoo Landau mediated contacts between the KFI and the Stadtholding Landau, who aims to compensate carbon emissions of the LA OLA Leisure Bath also as a marketing tool. Instead of trading carbon certificates with an “anonymous” professional dealer, Stadtholding Landau decided to directly support forest conservation and reforestation measures with a local partner in the Philippines. Technical support and scientific advice in the preparation of this project is provided by Dr. Udo Gansloßer, University of Greifswald.
KFI will thus select and purchase or lease on a long-term land in agreements with local communities in order to facilitate rehabilitation of degraded or long-term persistence of existing forests in mutual agreement with the donor. Management of the acquired areas will strongly depend on their current status, e.g. heavily degraded areas will be rehabilitated using fast-growing pioneering tree species and later on slower-growing, but long-lived climax tree species. Acquisition of mature forests will only be considered, if they are in danger of conversion or degradation in a short or middle term (“avoided deforestation”).
Monitoring of acquired areas will preferably be done with already existing staff (e.g. wildlife wardens) of KFI, close to already existing project sites, but other sites are not excluded, if favourably conditions for carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation are given. Forest inventories will be conducted before and initially yearly after the intervention to assess standing crop and therefore carbon in the living biomass. Assessment of selected groups of plants and animals will be conducted as well, with focus on occurrence of threatened species. Initial project duration is five years, starting from January 2009 to December 2013. For the project implementation by KFI a minimum of 5,000 Euro per year are required to be provided by Stadtholding Landau. This amount includes acquisition, management, monitoring and evaluation of the area, as well as external costs of the project.
In a first phase an area of about three hectares of regenerating forest, which formerly was used as a slash-and-burn field, will be purchased on Dumaran, a satellite island of Palawan. This area is directly adjacent to the “Omoi Cockatoo Reserve”, which is managed by KFI. The area has been managed already for some years under a temporary leasing contract and has become an important part of the buffer zone of the cockatoo reserve.
WAZA Conservation Project 08029 is jointly undertaken by the KATALA Foundation Inc. (KFI), Zoo Landau and Stadtholding Landau being the owner of the LA OLA Leisure Bath.
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© Jens-Ove Heckel