USAID and DENR train LGUs and PO members to better protect forests that provide crucial ecosystem services in Quirino Province

       DENR in Region 2 together with USAID’s Biodiversity and Watersheds Improved for Stronger Economy and Ecosystem Resilience (B+WISER) trained 36 members of barangay governments and people’s organizations in implementing the Lawin system to better protect forests in CENRO Diffun of Quirino province.

The forests in Quirino province are part of the Sierra Madre mountain range where the largest contiguous block of remaining natural forests can be found. These forests not only serve as habitat for many endangered species such as the Philippine hornbill but provide other crucial ecosystem services. The natural forests help maintain the flow of irrigation and domestic water. The Ganano watershed in CENRO Diffun is the source of irrigation water for 2,000 hectares of ricefields that is the primary source of income of at least 1,300 farmers. The training participants consisted of members of five people’s organizations and eight barangay governments located within the area of jurisdiction of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of Diffun in Quirino. The participants were given an orientation on CENRO Diffun’s forest conservation area plan for 9,000 hectares of natural forests. They were also trained in using the CyberTracker app in preparation for their joining joint patrols of the DENR, LGUs and POs in the forests in Diffun. Staff of the Provincial Natural Resources and Environment Office who attended the training recommended that the DENR and the Provincial Government of Quirino prepare and sign a Memorandum of Agreement on the joint patrols where LGU investments in supporting the patrols will be spelled out.