Deforestation threatens Davao City's coastal biodiversity

Subscribe Now May 25, 2013 at 08:30am

Deforestation in the uplands is threatening this city's coastal biodiversity, a watershed profile study commissioned by an environmental group here revealed.

“What we are seeing now is that there is a direct causal linkage between the threats to the upland and marine environments. If there is deforestation in our watersheds, the silt will come down and destroy the corals and mangroves on which our fisheries depend on,” Mary Ann V. Fuertes, executive director of the Interface Development Interventions, said in a statement.

Apart from siltation, blast fishing and wave action have been identified as the main cause for the stress suffered by the reefs of the seven coastal communities in the Talomo-Lipadas and Panigan-Tamugan watersheds.

“Based on the documents we have reviewed for this study, the coastal resources of these communities, particularly in five of them, are in poor condition,” Jayson C. Ybañez, director of the Philippine Eagle Foundation, said when he presented the study at the Ateneo de Davao University last April 15.

The communities identified were Binugao, Bago Aplaya, Lizada, Daliao and Sirawan in Toril District. Other than coral reefs, Mr. Ybañez said mangrove areas are also disappearing. “The earliest data we have is from 1956, when there used to be 154 hectares of mangrove forests. In 2001, this was reduced to 51 hectares,” he said.

Davao City has a total land area of roughly 2,400 square kilometres, half of which is classified as forest area as of 2011. The new study, however, did not cite the rate of deforestation in the city’s forest areas although in previous reports, environmentalists noted this ranges from 5-10% annually.


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