By: Estrella Z. Gallardo
KBAs or Key Biodiversity Area, according to BirdLife International, are sites that are considered globally significant to conserve biodiversity. In the Philippines there are different regions that are called key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs).
Cebu in Central Visayas (Region VII) has various KBAs. Cebu Technological University (CTU) Argao started a three-year project titled, Flora and Fauna Assessment Using Permanent Biodiversity Monitoring System (PBMS) in Cebu Island KBAs in January 2018 and will conclude in December 2020.
The KBAs to be monitored are Mt. Kangbulagsing and Lanaya, Mt. Lantoy, and Mt. Kapayas.
The goal of the project led by Dr. Archiebald Baltazar B. Malaki is to create a more effective and localized biodiversity monitoring and natural resource management system in the Island of Cebu, sustainably managed by the local stakeholders backed-up by collectively agreed management policies and guidelines.
With the use of PBMS, diverse flora and fauna species will be assessed and monitored. The generated data will be stored in a database managed by CTU. This will help the local government of Cebu, as well as the public, to properly manage the protected areas and promote biodiversity conservation.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST), through its Niche Centers in the Regions for R&D (NICER) program, granted CTU Argao with P17 million budget to proceed with the said project.
The NICER program is under the Science for Change (S4C) program of DOST, specifically the Accelerated R&D Program for Capacity Building of Research and Development Institutions and Industrial Competitiveness.
It aims to capacitate Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) such as CTU by handling quality research to achieve regional development. The project is also closely monitored by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the DOST (DOST-PCAARRD).
According to Dr. Malaki, the establishment of PBMS is necessary for “planning, project formulation, budget allocation, identification of research needs and directing management intervention programs for municipalities containing the KBAs in Cebu province.”
As of October 2018, a total of 3,268 individuals, 63 bird species, and 33 families were documented in all four sampling sites or KBAs.
The project was one of the technologies featured by DOST-PCAARRD during the National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) on July 17-21, 2019 at the World Trade Center, Pasay City. (Philippines Press Club, Inc. (PPCI))