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Cebu Province holds biodiversity summit

| by: Cris Lanie Delos Reyes

The province of Cebu is one of the developed provinces in the country in the areas of trade, commerce and industry. Beyond the massive development of the province, the Cebu Provincial Government does not want to compromise and sacrifice its rich deposits of natural resources.

Through the administration of Gov. Hilario Davide III, the province of Cebu has taken steps to highlight the strength of the natural areas of the province as well as provide various activities to preserve them.

One of these activities is the Biodiversity Summit, which the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) in collaboration with the Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP) conducted last Nov. 25.

Held in Cebu Business Hotel, it carried the theme, “Diversity against Adversity”.

The participants of the summit include the local government units, students and faculty from Cebu Normal University and Cebu Technological University.

The province is abundant with the variety of animals and plants but these resources are depleting in number caused by pollution, exploitation and climate change.

Some of these important resources are the Cebu Flowerpecker, Cebu Black Shama and Cebu Cinnamon, which are threatened and endemic species at present.

The summit was designed to establish ecological measures for future management planning and to develop a participatory conservation system with the local government units, conservation organizations and the communities.

According to a study by Edmund Leo Rico, executive director of the Center for Conservation Innovation (CCI) and one of the summit speakers, some forest parts of Cebu are turning into critical habitats for endangered species although there are also areas of forest cover that are unchanged.

Rico recommended that stakeholders should develop a short, medium and long term strategies to connect remaining forest patches in southern Cebu. The director also emphasized that stakeholders should take precautionary measures during the implementation to avoid disturbances of the species.

Cebu cinnamon conservation

The health benefits of taking cinnamon are now taking waves globally.

At present, several researches about sustainable options for cinnamon in Cebu are initiated by CCI headed by Dr. Aldrin Mallari.

The project target long-term forest conservation and recovery through delivery of sustainable developments that will benefit the social, economic and biodiversity community.

Cinnamons in Cebu are found in the southern part of the province specifically in Mt. Lantoy (Argao), Bantay Lasang (Nuga-as, Alcoy) and Siti Liptong.

More than the health benefits of taking cinnamon, the project highlights the importance of sustainable economic options for communities whose source of living is rooted around the by-products of cinnamon.

“Habang naguusap tayo ngayon, sa mga oras na’to, mas mabilis pang nauubos ang cinnamon natin kaysa sa reaksyon natin para sa pag-aalaga nang mga ito (While we’re talking at this hour, cinnamon is depleting at a rate faster than our reaction to taking care of it), said Mallari.

Mallari added that to be able to benefit economically from these plants through developing community-owned cinnamon livelihood and enterprise, the people involved must have the knowledge to protect and conserve the species.