“Lack of understanding on the importance of biodiversity, weak resource management and governance mechanisms, lack of political will, insufficient enforcement of environmental laws, conflicting government, lack of ecological expertise in decision-making, lack of conservation knowledge and expertise, and lack of sustainable livelihood for local stakeholders.”
These are the identified threats to biodiversity (species and ecosystems) in Palawan put into action on bridging the gaps in the recent Wildlife Management Program Development Workshop (WILD-PRO-DEV) organized by the Katala Foundation, Inc., Philippine Tropical Forests Conservation Fund and the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff, held at the Palawan Sustainable Development Training Institute in Irawan, Puerto Princesa City.
Although the PCSD is seriously implementing R.A 9147 among other conservation organizations active in Palawan, gaps in the conservation of ecosystems and species still persist.
Some of the obvious knowledge gaps which hamper effective wildlife management and conservation in Palawan include:
- No widely accepted classification of the different ecosystem types of Palawan exist, therefore it is difficult to assess gaps in the protected area system when it comes to representativeness and uniqueness of sites.
- Land-use mapping for the province remains partly unreliable and unsuitable to differentiate between ecosystem types and –subtypes.
- Species inventories are available only for few (and generally already protected) areas.
- Levels of exploitation of natural resources, both legal and illegal, for subsistence, as well as for markets, are poorly known.
- No general guidelines and facilities for confiscation, rehabilitation and restoration of wildlife exist.
Deforestation in the province remains a problem while losses in other ecosystem types, like wetlands and open woodlands largely remain undocumented. Number of globally threatened species in Palawan remains high or is even increasing (IUCN 2014).
PCSD data of confiscated Palawan wildlife has increased in 2014 compared to the previous three years. In 2013, the municipalities of El Nido, Taytay, Roxas, Brooke’s Point, Rizal, Quezon, Bataraza, Balabac, and Coron were recorded to have high illegal trading activities. These continuing pressures on wildlife populations and their habitats should be addressed by developing a comprehensive Wildlife Management Program for Palawan involving all stakeholders and ensuring their participation and commitment in the implementation of the WILD-PRO-DEV.
In collaboration with the the academe, local government units and non-government organizations, the program will develop a strategic paper for the establishment of a wildlife management program of Palawan province, which will enable key-stakeholders to develop other relevant proposals. [eee report]