By Erwin M. Mascariñas
Butuan City — Scientists, environmental advocates from different non-government organizations and the academe together with Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will gather here today for the national conference to address the situation facing the Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary its rich bio-diversity and prevailing threats to better address the protection and conservation of the wetland.
Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary (AMWS) located in the province of Agusan Del Sur covers 38 Barangays under six towns, namely; San Francisco, Rosario, Bunawan, Loreto, La Paz, and Talacogon originally covering the land area of 19,196.59 ha under the Presidential Proclamation No. 913 on October 1996.
The conference is said to be a significant event as AMWS will be celebrating its 20th year anniversary after it was declared in 1999 as a Ramsar Site 1009, included in the list of important sites in the Convention on the Conservation of Wetlands of International Importance, otherwise known as Ramsar Convention.
Rizza V. Estadola, development communications officer for Wetland International explained that their NGO organized the event to be able to consolidate different scientific studies, generate policies, and create alliances to address the protection and conservation of the wildlife sanctuary.
“We came up with the idea of holding the conference and connected with local partners in the hope that the conference will be able to generate knowledge and scientific information that will be used for the further strengthens rehabilitation of the marshland,” said Estadola.
Estadola stated that the main goals of the conference are; climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, and ecosystem management and restoration of the Agusan Marsh and the Agusan River Basin as a whole.
Lawyer Felix Alicer, regional director of the DENR-Caraga Region pointed out that the conference will address the degradation of the Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary.
“Since it’s declaration as a wildlife sanctuary, the marshland is degrading.”