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Forest and Mountain Biodiversity: Samar Island Biodiversity Project (SIBP) PDF Print E-mail

Table of Contents

Project Name:

Samar Island Biodiversity Project (SIBP)

Area Coverage:

333,000 Hectare – Protected Area (Core Zone)

124,500 Hectares – Buffer Zone

Duration:

Phase 1 (July 2001 – June 2006)

Phase 2 (2008 – 2011)

Implementing Agency/ies:

DENR - Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB); Protected Area Superintendent Office; DENR Region 8 Office


 

Short Description (Objectives and Expected Outputs)

 

The project would establish the Samar Island Natural Park (SINP), a new protected area zoned for multiple uses centering on protection, but providing for sustainable harvests of non-timber forest products, and institute a comprehensive range of ancillary conservation measures to insulate the Park from human pressures. Park management would be operationalised in partnership with forest-edge communities to conserve biodiversity and reduce poverty among the local communities. Interventions will strengthen participatory planning, process-response monitoring, surveillance and enforcement functions, enhance the conservation management capacities of communities, impart conservation values to wider Samareño society, backstop advocacy operations, and abet development of conservation-compatible village livelihoods. Implementation will be phased to nurture nascent conservation processes through to maturity.

 

Implementation under Phase 1 was between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, through the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau and the DENR Regional Office VIII, and the Samar Island NGOs (through an umbrella organisation the Samar Island Biodiversity Foundation (SIBF)). Phase 2 is implemented by the DENR, through the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau, and the DENR Regional Office VIII through the Samar Island Natural Park-Protected Area Office.

 

Project Outputs:

  • Output 1: An adaptive management framework for conservation management is Established and operational
  • Output 2: Conservation functions are fully operationalised
  • Output 3: A community-based conservation framework is tested and effective
  • Output 4: Broad-based awareness of conservation values and management needs is imparted to forest-edge communities and other key Samareño stakeholders
  • Output 5: Conservation objectives are internalized in sectoral development planning, budgeting and activity delivery at the provincial and municipal levels
  • Output 6: Alternative, conservation enabling livelihoods are in place, and the sustainability of wild resource use is assured
  • Output 7: Sustainable financing for recurrent costs of conservation activities are in place

 

Accomplishments under Phase I


Output 1: Adaptive management framework for conservation management – The Samar Island Natural Park was proclaimed on August 13, 2003 (Presidential Proclamation 442) containing an area of 453,000 ha (PA – 333,000 has; Buffer Zone - 124,500 Hectares), the largest terrestrial protected area in the county. Its protection has been reinforced by the three Provincial Ordinances adopting the areas of SINP and prohibiting the large scale extraction of natural resources. The SINP Bill is still pending in both Congress and Senate. The SINP PAMB was first convened in 2004 and its Executive Committee have been formed, which meets every quarter. To make the PAMB more effective, three Provincial sub-PAMBs were created. The SINP Management Plan covering a 10-year period was formulated and approved by the PAMB on December 2006. The Biological Resource Assessment study was completed. Nine (9) Biological Monitoring Sites (BMS) have been installed and are regularly monitored bi-annually using the BMS method developed by PAWB-DENR.

 

Output 2: Conservation functions are fully operationalised – Some Park staff have been recruited by the DENR. The PA Central Headquarters, Staff House and 2 ranger stations were completed in Dec 2006. Park boundaries are delineated on a map, but await passage of the Congressional Act before they can be demarcated on the ground.

 

Output 3: A community-based conservation framework is tested and effective – The Community Outreach Programme (COP) was completed in 2006. The initial 62 barangays, mostly in the buffer zone, under the COP have completed their profiles and their Barangay Development Plans. Community forestry guards were identified in the COP barangays and were trained on forest protection and enforcement. However, their appointment as deputized forest guards have not yet been approved pending the department-wide moratorium issued by the DENR Secretary on the matter.

 

Output 4: Broad-based awareness of conservation values and management needs is imparted to forest-edge communities and other key Samareño stakeholders. Communications strategy, awareness programme and awareness materials have all been completed. In addition, significant awareness-raising and advocacy activities have unified the people of Samar and their civic and religious leaders like never before. A protest caravan with the theme of “Yes to SINP, No to mining” and involving over 15,000 people was held on 8th August 2003 and five days later the SINP Proclamation was signed by the President. The Samar Island Council for Sustainable Development has been formed. Other Advocacy programmes and information campaign materials have been produced (brochures and info kits, videos, newsletters, billboards, radio plugs, handbooks and primers on biodiversity conservation). A weekly radio program has been going on broadcast since 2003 which features SINP and other project activities

 

Output 5: Conservation objectives are internalized in sectoral development planning, budgeting and activity delivery at the provincial and municipal levels. The valuation studies were completed in 2006 and the results were presented to the PAMB. Provincial workshops on integrated conservation and development were merged with the workshops undertaken in preparation for the SINP Management Plan. Part of these workshops were the review of existing LGU plans and the integration process of conservation and development. Outputs of these series of workshops are now use by several municipalities in the preparation of their land use plans.

 

Output 6: Alternative, conservation enabling livelihoods are in place, and the sustainability of wild resource use is assured. A feasibility study on the sustainable harvesting and utilization of rattan and almaciga was completed 2003. Provisional harvest quotas for rattan have been produced in four CBFM areas within the Park, namely: 2 sites in Hinabangan, Western Samar, Paranas, Eastern Samar and Borongan Eastern Samar based on the inventory of rattan conducted in 2004. The Project obtained consensus from the LGUs, local communities and other her key stakeholders over the potential ecotourism sites (Pinipisakan, Lawaan and Sohoton) within the SINP. The training of local guides in these areas has encouraged community participation and commitment to the ecotourism program. The preparation of an ecotourism master plan for the Island has been prepared with the assistance of the Department of Tourism. Market assessment and development study on priority crops was completed. (Medicinal Herbs and Spices, Tropical Nuts and Fruits, and Abaca and Banana)

 

Output 7: Sustainable financing for recurrent costs of conservation activities are in place. Few activities were planned under Phase one, but initial action have led to some finance being pledged, most notably with DENR. Since DENR cannot absorbed salaries of PMO staff due to government policies, seventeen (17) DENR regional personnel were detailed to the SINP PA Office, including 5 administrative support staff. With the completion of the Users Fee System for the SINP, the PA Office is now studying other sources of funds to increase the Integrated Protected Area Fund which has been approved by the PAMB in April 2005. An intensive study on sustainable financing mechanism will be part of the component activities for Phase 2.

Lessons Learned from Phase 1 implementation

Strategic

  • All partners (particularly the NGO co-implementor) involved directly in the implementation of a project should be required to sign off on the Project Brief prior to its submission to GEF in the same way as the GEF Country Focal Point signs signifying the agreement of the Government.
  • To shorten the learning curve, project personnel should be encouraged, even required, to seek national and international exposure to broaden their knowledge base about Protected Area Management experiences elsewhere.
  • A country-wide organization of protected area professionals exchanging experiences on the web or in an annual or biennial national conference can be established. Many of the mistakes made and opportunities lost could have been avoided if such an interactive organisation existed and was relied upon by project staff to test ideas on and seek experiences.
  • Adaptive management, while successfully employed in this project, should also be rigorous and fully documented.
  • Greater emphasis should therefore be placed in projects to take better advantage of local knowledge, and wherever possible, this knowledge should be documented in a major language with the full nuances inherent in the local language taken account of. Despite emphasis in planning on local participation and broad stakeholdership, there is a danger that knowledge from the grassroots level may reach only as far as their community organisers. Protected area managers should take pains to gather local names of plants, animals and local appreciations of their relationships and uses to improve the management planning process.

Technical Aspect

  • Implementation of development activities for livelihood and biodiversity conservation in communities necessitates a well-coordinated effort across provincial, municipal and barangay government units. This would ensure that the government units act together harmoniously towards the common goal for livelihood development and biodiversity conservation.
  • Training and education on biodiversity conservation and livelihood is not a one-shot deal. It necessitates a well-tailored plan and careful step-wise implementation so that the project will know where to begin, what to do next and where to end.
  • The livelihood alternatives introduced to communities have been almost solely agriculture-based designed to improve farm production and as a result lead people away from dependence on the forest. However, the possibility of failure is high unless alternatives are provided for all aspects of forest-dependence – energy, building materials, medicines. All alternatives should complement biodiversity conservation over and above reducing human pressure on the forest.
  • The project’s initiative to integrate biodiversity conservation and the SINP in the elementary and high school curricula in partnership with the DEd-8 is an excellent innovation in raising awareness and understanding about biodiversity conservation building on the experience of other countries in that raising awareness amongst children raises awareness amongst their parents as well.
  • Dissemination of IEC materials in communities is not a guarantee to improving awareness and understanding of communities especially on the technical aspects of the project. It should be supported with a face-to-face extension approach through seminars, trainings and focus group discussions.

 

SIBP Phase II Implementation

 

SIBP Phase II commenced on March 2009 upon the acceptance of the letter from UNDP. SIBP Phase II is now implemented by DENR through the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau and DENR Regional Office, Region VIII. A total staff complement of the PA to date is twenty-eight (28): Nineteen (19) regular DENR personnel, including the PASu, while five (5) administrative support staff under the GOP counterpart fund and four (4) others on the job order/contract based under the GEF fund

 

Accomplishment as of March 2009

  • The Project commissioned the Samar Island Biodiversity Foundation (SIBF) to spearhead the advocacy work for sponsorship of the SINP Bill in Congress and Senate. SIBF had obtained 16 resolutions of support from the different local government units (LGUs) in the Island of Samar. The SINP Bill is also supported by endorsements from the religious sector.
  • Regular conduct of biodiversity monitoring. During the first quarter, the BMS team of the SINP conducted its regular monitoring activities in Sohoton and Basey, Samar.
  • Preparation and Approval of the Annual Work and Financial Plan, the revised logframe for Phase II as well as the revised livelihood framework for Samar Island Natural Park by the SIBP Project Board Meeting.
  • The Project also supported the conduct of National PAMB Summit. The said summit was attended by PAMB members throughout the country composed of LGU, NGO, and DENR representatives. As a result, a covenant was created and signed by the PAMB members. The PAMBs gave their commitment to the implementation of NIPAS and reassured their responsibility and accountability toward biodiversity conservation through the management of protected areas within their jurisdiction.
  • Initial selection/assessment and identification of potential barangays for the assessment of the COP and people’s organization (POs) as community volunteers. The following barangays were chosen: Brgy. Gap-ang, Dolores, E. Samar; Brgy. Jicontol, Dolores, E. Samar; Brgy. Tugas, Maydolong, E. Samar.
  • Development and installation of information signages and five Directional Signage in SINP.
  • Preparation and distribution of leaflets, brochures, posters and calendars to all partner organizations and individuals.
  • The Project provided assistance to the LGU of Basey in updating their land-use zoning maps. The LGU in Basey is on the process of integrating Forest Land Use Plan (FLUP) into the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) of the municipality.
  • Provided assistance to the National Community-based Ecotourism Workshop. The said workshop was held last January 22-26, 2009 in Catbalogan, Samar.
  • The Project provided assistance in the conduct of the 9th National Cave Congress held in Basey, Samar on May 11—16, 2009.