TACLOBAN CITY Leyte, December 14 (PIA) –- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Region 8 informed that rehabilitation effort for the Leyte Sab-a Basin Peat Forest is underway, as stakeholders in the towns of Sta. Fe and Alang-Alang, Leyte craft the rehabilitation roadmap.
Some thirty (30) participants are currently undergoing an On the Job Training (OJT) on Participatory Peatland Assessment and Management for the Sustainable Use and Rehabilitation of Leyte Sab-a Basin Peatland Pilot Site. These participants are stakeholders of the Peat area within the barangays of Tabangohay, Divisoria and Langit in Alang-alang Leyte, and barangay San Isidro in Sta. Fe, Leyte, DENR Info officer Purificacion Daloos said.
Topmost in the agenda for the OJT is an Action Planning Workshop which shall serve as roadmap for the management, sustainable use and rehabilitation of the Leyte Sab-a Basin Peatland.
Up for identification is an initial area of 1.5 hectares within the Leyte Sab-a Basin which shall serve as pilot and demonstration site for reforestation and other site suitable agro-forestry activities.
The chosen project demo farm shall be implemented through funds from the ASEAN Peatlands Forest Project which has identified the Leyte Sab-a Basin as one of two (2) peat forests in the Philippines for rehabilitation and sustainable use.
It is being implemented through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in coordination with the host local government units of Alang-alang and Sta. Fe, both in Leyte.
Regional Technical Director for Forest, Manolito Ragub said that through the years, the deforestation and conversion to agriculture has caused the degradation of the Leyte Sab-a Basin Peat Forest. The Sab-a Basin is a west-east elongated basin close to the north coast of Leyte separated from it by a metamorphic ridge.
The total area is 3,088 hectares of which 44% has been reclaimed for agriculture. The remaining unutilized peatland (1,740 ha) in the eastern half of the basin consists of small remnant areas of swamp forest and sedge/grass peat swamp. The two smaller peat basins in the area, Daguitan (210 ha) and Kapirawan (430 ha), have mostly been converted to agricultural land.
Peatlands are one of the most important natural ecosystems in the world. They play a key role in climate regulation, biodiversity conservation and are a source of livelihood for the local community. Peatlands are wetland ecosystems that are characterized by the accumulation of organic matter called peat. Peat is derived from dead and decaying plant material under high water saturation conditions.
As one of the world's largest carbon stores, peatlands play a significant role in the regulation of global climate and greenhouse gas emissions. Although they only cover three percent of the land area they store between 20-35% of all carbon on land.
Due to growing needs of resources from peatlands, sustainable and wise use of these ecosystems is essential in order to ensure that sufficient areas of peatlands remain to carry out their vital natural resources functions while satisfying the essential requirements of present and future generations. (PIA 8)