August 19, 2007

DENR unveils natural park marker; ‘20M trees’ project launched

PAGUDPUD, Ilocos Norte—The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) unveiled on August 15 the Kalbario-Patapat Natural Park, covering more than 5,000 hectares of protected area and buffer zone, together with the regional launching of the department’s “20 Million Trees for Life” program.

Being one of the few remaining dipterocrop forest in Northern Luzon, the Kalbario-Patapat mountain range has been put under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (Nipas) through Presidential Proclamation No. 1275 signed by Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on April 20, 2007, encompassing outstanding remarkable areas and biologically important public lands that are natural habitats of rare and endangered species of plants and animals, biogeographic zones and related ecosystems, whether terrestrial, wetland or marine resources.

Attended by representatives of various government agencies from Region I, including local officials and other concerned authorities and individuals from Ilocos Norte, the unveiling ceremonies were held at the Paraiso ni Anton water spring along the national highway in this town.

In an interview with provincial environment and natural resources officer-officer-in-charge Juan P. Delos Reyes Jr., he said the natural park’s protected area is composed of 3,800 hectares and a 1,937-hectare buffer zone.

To secure the area and preserve the biodiversity it contains, the Carballo ranges and Patapat mountains have been declared as protected areas. According to DENR officials, the said mountain ranges, which are admired by travelers traveling to Cagayan from Ilocos Norte, is considered a “hotspot” for timber poaching.

The newly declared natural park is also rich with flora and fauna—having dominant varieties of diptecocarpus and calamus species and diverse species of birds, reptiles, mammals and amphibians. Migratory birds, like wild ducks, are also observed during their migratory season.

The park is also endowed with beautiful bodies of water including the Agua Grande, Matarungton Falls, Pancian, Pasaleng and Baag Rivers that provide water for local residents living near the area.

Along with the unveiling ceremonies, the environment department has also chosen the site for the regional launching of its “20 Million Trees for Life” program.

The said program aims to build a “tree legacy” for the future through planting activities. The said launch was participated in by special guests and visitors, and local residents.

Leilanie G. Adriano

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