June 27, 2022
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has launched two special projects involving the conservation of “endangered” Philippine Tarsiers in Mt. Matutum, South Cotabato and the valuation of carbon input in reforested and secondary forest in Mt Landscape, Zamboanga del Sur.
The special projects are under DENR’s Foreign Assisted and Special Projects Service (FASPS) where DENR shells out its own fund for special conservation programs.
The study on the Philippine Tarsier in Mt. Matutum is in partnership with the University of the Philippines- Diliman. It aims to further understand the ecology and behavior of Philippine Tarsiers within Mt. Matutum Protected Landscape (MMPL) to enhance and supplement conservation efforts in the Tarsier Sanctuary.
The project on the Mount Timolan Protected Landscape will be carried out by the Zamboanga del Sur Provincial Government College.
It will study differences in the production and decomposition for quantifying carbon input in reforested and secondary forest in Mt. Timolan Protected Landscape.
The Philippine tarsier was classified as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 1986, 1988, and 1990.
In 2008, it was reclassified as near threatened. While tarsiers have been known to be popular in Bohol, the nocturnal (active at night) primate endemic to the Philippines has also been found in Siargao Island, Maripipi Island, Dinagat Island, Samar, Leyte, and Basilan.
Tarsiers are one of the smallest primates (where monkeys and the human species belong). Their height ranges from only 3.35 to 6.30 inches. They weigh from 80 to 160 grams. They are arboreal (tree-living) creatures.
The Mt. Timolan Protected Landscape, spanning over 1,994,79 hectares and a buffer zone of 695.39 hectares, is an important watershed.
It supports river systems that are sources of irrigation for many rice farms. Eighty percent of Mt Timolan’s landscape consists of dipterocarp forests. Seven percent is made up of man-made forest plantations of Gmelina and Acacia, according to the Philippine Clearing House Mechanism for Biodiversity.
Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna said during the launching of the two special projects at the Radisson Hotel that the projects’ signing of memorandum of agreement indicates that successful partnerships lead to attaining shared goals on sustainable development. The partnerships extend to international agencies, the academe, and other government and civic institutions.
“The project in Mt. Timolan will surely help in achieving the country’s international commitment in climate change,” Sampulna said. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)