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PALAWAN –STATE OF THE ENVIRONMENT 2009 UPDATES

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PALAWAN –STATE OF THE ENVIRONMENT 2009 UPDATES

A report by the PALAWAN COUNCIL FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT and The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) through its Environmental Monitoring and Evaluation System

PCSD Building, Sports Complex Road, Sta. Monica, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Philippines



Philippine Copyright @ 2010 by Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, Puerto Princesa City, Philippines



ISBN: 978-971-0475-14-8

www.pcsd.ph



Tel. No. +63 48 434-4235, Telefax: +63 48 434-4234

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PALAWAN –STATE OF THE ENVIRONMENT 2009 UPDATES

  1. 1. A report by thePALAWAN COUNCIL FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT andThe Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS)through its Environmental Monitoring and Evaluation SystemPCSD Building, Sports Complex Road, Sta. Monica,Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Philippineswww.pcsd.phTel. No. +63 48 434-4235, Telefax: +63 48 434-4234EDITORIAL BOARD:Romeo B. Dorado, Executive DirectorLualhati E. Tabugon, Director IITECHNICAL EDITORS/CONTRIBUTORS:Madrono P. Cabrestante, Jr., Apollo V. Regalo, Wilson R. Pambid, Ryan T. Fuentes, MarianneFaith M. Perez, Jesus E. Bream, Perlita I. Quiling, Fernando E. Padilla, Amelyn E. DramayoPhilippine Copyright @ 2010 by Palawan Council forSustainable Development, Puerto Princesa City, PhilippinesISBN: 978-971-0475-14-8This report can be reproduced as long as the publisher is properly cited and acknowledged asthe source of information. Reproduction for sale or other commercial purposes is howeverprohibited without the written consent of the publisher.Suggested Citation:PCSD (2010): State of the Environment 2009 Updates, Province of Palawan, Philippines.Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, Puerto Princesa City. Pp. 43.
  2. 2. FOREWORD Sustainable development is a balancing act. We need all our capital - natural, economic, and human capital - to implement this ideal vision. We need all the information we can get so that we can be guided in our daily undertaking of environmental governance. To this end, the second edition of The State of the Environment of Palawan is a concrete contribution to our objective of pursuing sustainable development. I commend the PCSD Staff on the publication of a document that will serve as a reference for government line agencies, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations and the general public. As it reflects the current situation of some of Palawan’s environmental components - forest, water quality, coral reefs and other coastal resources - we are all privileged to have a set of information that carries with it analyses and recommendations that will steer us toward a more guideddecision and policy making.May our ecology continue to prosper side by side with our society and our economy. And may ourpresent and future activities in the province be directed to the enrichment of our natural resource base.My congratulations to all members of the technical staff of PCSD for continuing to provide us with thiskind of timely information.Allow me to also greet everyone a Happy 18th SEP Day Anniversary.Here’s to a sustainable lifestyle for the Palaweño!MARIO JOEL T. REYESChairman, PCSDGovernor, Palawan v
  3. 3. PREFACE The release of this update on the State of the Environment of Palawan is dedicated to all stakeholders concerned with the perpetuation of the integrity of our life-support systems. Knowledge is a basic need for eco-governance as it assists us in making decisions that will affect not only the present but also the future people of Palawan. This report does bring with it some alarming trends in the state of our forestry and fisheries. It is thus our continuing desire to focus our energy on the enrichment of our ecosystems and the combat of ongoing threats to their stability. The PCSD Staff is joining every Filipino in thecelebration of the International Year of the Biodiversity, as well as the 18th year of enactment of theSEP Law. Rest assured that we will continue implementing and refining our environmental policies inorder for them to serve the needs of the man-and-environment of the Palawan Biosphere Reserve.Maraming salamat at mabuhay tayong lahat!ROMEO B. DORADOOIC - Executive DirectorPCSD Staff vi
  4. 4. TABLE OF CONTENTSFOREWORD vPREFACE viTables of Contents viiList of Tables viiiList of Figures ixList of Maps xEXECUTIVE SUMMARY xiINTRODUCTION 1I. LAND COVER AND FOREST RESOURCES 3 Palawan Forest Cover at 46% 3 Forest Cover by Municipality 8 Mangrove Forests and Fishponds 12 Deforestation and Carbon Sequestration 13II. WATER RESOURCES 14 River System Monitoring 14 Rainfall 23III. COASTAL RESOURCES MONITORING 30 Municipalities of Agutaya and Magsaysay, 2009 30 Coral Reefs 30 Seagrass Resources 32 Mangrove Resources 34 Reef Fish Communities 36 Coastal Resources of Other Municipalities, 2005 and 2008 38 vii
  5. 5. L I S T O F TABLESTable 1 Land Cover, Palawan Province, 1992 and 2005 5Table 2 Forest Cover, Palawan Province, 1992 and 2005 9Table 3 Water Quality Indicators/Criteria 17Table 3a Water Usage and Classification 18Table 3b General Description of the Calculated Water Quality Rank 18Table 4 River Water Quality Monitoring/Ranking, Palawan Province, 19 2009 viii
  6. 6. LIST OF FIGURE SFigure 1 Percentage Land Cover by Category, Palawan 1992-2005 3Figure 2 Phosphate Concentration in Water Samples Taken from 20 River Monitoring Station, Palawan ProvinceFigure 3 Total Suspended Solids 21Figure 4 pH Values in Water Samples taken from River Monitoring 22 Stations, Palawan ProvinceFigure 5 Total Coliform Concentration in Water Samples Taken 23 from River Monitoring Stations, PalawanFigure 6 Rainfall Trend in Selected Sites in Palawan Province, 26 1977-2008Figure 7 Rainfall Pattern, Puerto Princesa City, 1949-2008 27Figure 8 Typical Monthly Rainfall Pattern, Eastern Palawan (Type 3 28 Climate)Figure 9 Typical Monthly Rainfall Pattern, Western Palawan (Type 29 1 Climate)Figure 10 Benthic Coral Cover of Magsaysay Municipality, 2002 and 31 2009Figure 11 Benthic Coral Cover of Agutaya Municipality, 2002 and 31 2009Figure 12 Seagrass Canopy and Species Abundance in Magsaysay 33 Municipality, PalawanFigure 13 Seagrass Canopy and Species Abundance in Agutaya 33 Municipality, PalawanFigure 14 Mangrove Density and Stocking Magsaysay Municipality, 35 PalawanFigure 15 Fish Density in Agutaya Municipality, Palawan 37Figure 16 Fish Density in Magsaysay Municipality, Palawan 37Figure 17 Average Density of Target Fish Resources in Selected 38 Palawan MunicipalitiesFigure 18 Seagrass Canopy Cover in Selecte Palawan Municipalities 39Figure 19 Comparative Live Coral Cover in Selected Palawan 40 MunicipalitiesFigure 20 Mangrove Density in the Municipalities of Quezon and 41 Brooke’s Point, Palawan ix
  7. 7. L I S T O F MAPSMap 1 Land Cover, Southern Palawan, 2005 6Map 2 Land Cover, Northern Palawan, 2005 7Map 3 Location of River Monitoring Stations, Palawan Province 16Map 4 Climate Map Based on the Modified Coronas Classification, 25 Philippines x
  8. 8. EXECUTIVE SUMMARYFOREST LAND COVER 1. The forest cover of Palawan is estimated at 666,338 hectares or about 46% of the land area of the province. This is a decrease from previous statistics of 738,886 hectares (52%). The information came from interpretation of satellite imageries using remote sensing techniques. 2. More than half of the forest of the province is considered secondary, while only about a quarter (25%) is regarded as primary. 3. In terms of extent, Puerto Princesa City has the largest area at 159,135 hectares, followed by the Municipality of Rizal at 73,912 hectares of forest area. 4. Relative to its total land area, the Municipality of San Vicente manifested the highest forest cover at 75%, followed by Puerto Princesa City at 72%. 5. Most island municipalities have meager forest cover (less than 100 hectares). These include the municipalities of Araceli, Magsaysay, Cuyo, Agutaya, and Cagayancillo. 6. Palawan’s forest cover appears to have decreased by 6% between the periods 1992 and 2005. This translates to around 72,500 hectares of forest loss with an annual deforestation rate of around 5,500 hectares. 7. The loss in forest cover can be attributed to a host of factors: the actual loss of forest cover, the various methods of satellite image interpretation used in the two data collection periods, the difference in the resolution of satellite images used, and the different categories of land cover classification between the two dates. 8. The actual loss can be attributed to the continuing harvest of timber, land use conversion to agriculture, and natural causes such as forest fires. 9. As of 2005, the total mangrove forest of Palawan is around 58,400 hectares, an increase from previous record of 50,602 hectares in 1992. This accounts for 4% of province’s land area, and roughly 42% of the total remaining mangroves in the Philippines. 10. Some municipalities with substantial increase (greater than 1,000 hectares) of mangrove forest cover include Bataraza, Culion, Roxas, and Taytay. Municipalities which manifested reduction in mangrove forests include Dumaran, Sofronio Española, San Vicente, and Rizal. 11. Natural regeneration of certain mangrove forest tracts is believed to compensate for their loss due to fishpond conversion and to account for the slight expansion of mangrove areas. The major ongoing activities which threaten the mangrove forests of Palawan are forest conversion into fishponds and agricultural areas, harvest of mangrove timber for coal fuel and house construction xi
  9. 9. materials, and debarking or “tanbarking” of mangroves which is historically rampant in southern Palawan. 12. A conservative estimate of the carbon stock sequestered within the forests of Palawan is calculated at 206 million metric tons of carbon.WATER RESOURCES 13. A total of twenty six (26) rivers in Palawan were monitored and evaluated quarterly in terms of river water quality using the Water Quality Criteria from the DENR DAO 34, s.1990. 14. The average concentration of phosphates monitored in 2009 is higher than the 2004 (baseline) concentration except for Tigaplan River in Brooke’s Point. The increase in the average concentration of phosphates over a period of five years in the river stations can be attributed to intensive agricultural activities upstream of the monitoring stations. 15. The average concentrations of total suspended solids (TSS) recorded for 2009 were all below the 2004 concentration except for Tigaplan River in Brooke’s Point and Iraan River in Magara, Roxas. Labog River in Española has almost the same average concentration of TSS with the baseline data. A decrease in average concentration of TSS with respect to the baseline data was observed at Magara River. However, its average concentration still exceeded the Class A standard. 16. Increase on average pH (2009) with respect to the 2004 data was observed. Average pH in all rivers is all within the range (DAO 34) for fresh water except for Inandeng River (San Vicente) which is slightly acidic. The decrease in pH level in the water could be due to the respiration and decomposition processes, or the weathering of rocks and soil due to natural and human activities. 17. Sources of nonpoint pollution in the river monitoring stations generally come from the excess agro-chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides; oil and grease; sediment load from improperly managed quarry sites, crop/forest lands, and eroding stream banks; and bacteria and nutrients from livestock, pet wastes, urban runoffs and faulty septic system. 18. The rainfall pattern in Palawan, particularly in the eastern side, shows an increase in rainfall intensity. This may be attributed to the changing climate, studies of which disclose that there is now increased rainfall intensity during wet seasons and more intense drought periods during dry seasons. 19. The rainfall pattern for Puerto Princesa City is typical of Palawan’s rainfall condition under Type III Climate. Data obtained from the records of DOST-PAGASA shows that rainfall pattern of Puerto Princesa City exhibits a recurring high-low rainfall trend in the half century of documentation. A 30-year cycle of highs exhibited in 2004-2008 was earlier observed in 1974-78, and may have earlier occurred in 1940s. xii
  10. 10. 20. In eastern Palawan (Type III Climate), rainfall pattern during the mid-80s up to the current year showed a slight increase from the average monthly rainfall in the previous decades. Significantly, one to two wet months (those exceeding 250 millimeters of rainfall in a month) have been recorded from 1984 up to 2008, in contrast to practically no recorded wet months during the years prior to 1983. In general though, eastern Palawan receives less rainfall than in the western side. 21. Western Palawan (Type I Climate) is supposed to have two pronounced seasons: dry from November to April and wet throughout the rest of the year. Data however shows that the months of November and December now fall under the intermediate season, with only the months of January to April as the distinct dry months. Likewise, the State of the Environment Report in 2004 data indicates a slight increase in rainfall intensity during the months of August to October (typical typhoon season) than in the previous decade.COASTAL RESOURCES 22. Coastal resource assessment revealed a decrease of near-shore coral cover in 2009 compared to baseline year 2002 in the municipalities of Agutaya and Magsaysay. The decrease can be attributed to the consistent practice of illegal fishing methods such as cyanide and dynamite fishing. 23. Likewise, the density and abundance of seagrass cover in Agutaya and Magsaysay have decreased rapidly from 2002 to 2009. This may be attributed to the effects of changing climate and to human activities. 24. In contrast, the density of mangroves in the Municipality of Magsaysay has increased for the same period of data collection. This can be attributed to proper management of the municipality in taking care of the mangrove resource. 25. Increase in reef fish densities for target and indicator species was seen in Agutaya and Magsaysay, indicating a slight recovery of the fishery populations. However, fish densities in both municipalities are still in poor condition, possibly caused by the high fishing pressure which greatly reduces the population of the target fish species over that of the indicator species. 26. In Araceli, Brooke’s Point, and Quezon municipalities, the fish density for target species decreased by an average of 48% from the baseline years (2000-2002) to the monitoring years (2005-2008) of data collection. This can be correlated with the intensified fishing pressure due to increasing demands for fish food as the target fish species are the ones preferred by local fishermen for their relatively high market value. 27. The current condition of seagrass communities in the said three municipalities is described to be in “fair condition” with 38% average seagrass canopy cover. However, a reduction of 3.3% of average canopy cover of seagrass for all the three municipalities combined can be attributed to trawling and boating activities. Sediments coming from riverine inputs and coastal communities are also known to reduce the survival of seagrass species. xiii
  11. 11. 28. The current condition of corals in the three municipalities can be described to be in “good condition” with an average of 53% coral cover. However, there was an average decrease of 13% of live coral cover from the monitoring survey in all of the municipalities. The most probable cause of the degradation of the coral reefs is the increased fishing pressure on commercial fish species which promoted the proliferation of the use of dynamite and cyanide in fishing.29. The current condition of the mangroves in Quezon and Brooke’s Point can be described as “adequate – highly dense.” This can be concluded from the increase of 24.6% of mangrove trees per hectare in these areas. This can be the result of proper management of the municipality over its mangrove areas and the strict enforcement of the environmental laws.30. The current condition of the coastal resources in the Municipality of Cagayancillo is in the category “good condition” based on the 2007 baseline assessment. Still, proper management should be put in place to maintain and even improve the conditions of these resources which are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. xiv
  12. 12. INTRODUCTIONThe policy of protecting the environment and enhancing the economy of Palawan is unequivocallyembodied in the Strategic Environmental Plan for Palawan Act (SEP Law). The law specifically statesour obligation to the future generations in maintaining our life-support systems through thecomplementation of development and environmental protection activities. The food and water supplysystems are to be secured, and to this end, the zoning of the Environmentally Critical Areas Network(ECAN) is completed in the entire province.The business of sustainable development is the business of everyone because the concept is designedto achieve one of the ardent goals of humanity, which is the guarantee of our human welfare. Thenatural goods and services that accrue from our wise use of natural capital will ensure the continuousflow of investment to our economic capital.The economic sectors from which our provincial and national economies depend on – such as tourism,agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and mineral and offshore energy development – are in part dependenton the quality of our ecology. The maximization of our income from these economic activities, coupledwith the mitigation and prevention of harmful environmental impacts, is the ideal way that the businessof sustainable development operates. Our beneficiaries are none other than the people of Palawanand the Philippines; they are the stakeholders and stockholders of these capital investments.In this context, the present update on The State of the Environment of Palawan (2009) is expected toadd to our understanding of the dynamic changes happening in the province. These changes are broughtin part by the increasing pressures to our natural ecosystems, driven by the need to extract resourcesand buffer our economy.The State of the Environment is a set deliverable of the ECAN Environmental Monitoring and EvaluationDivision of the PCSD Staff. It is part of the agency’s Environmental Monitoring and Evaluation System(EMES), one of the support mechanisms of SEP as provided for in the law. Under Section 13 of theSEP Law, the EMES is established to monitor the achievement of the SEP goals. The immediateconcern of the EMES is in the measurement of project success by measurement of environmentalparameters (e.g., water quality). ‘Monitoring’ deals with providing information at regular intervals while‘evaluation’ is the interpretation and application of data gathered from monitoring.The specific objectives of the EMES are periodic quantification of key environmental parameters, earlyidentification of adverse environmental trends and major crisis areas and situations, and recommendationof solutions to counter these trends and crises. We hope that the present document partially fulfillsthese objectives by painting the current picture of the province’s environment and identifying the trendsin the state of our ecosystems. Comparisons can be made with the results and findings of the first Stateof the Environment Report published in 2004.Timely and scientific environmental information has been instrumental in supporting the governance ofthe Palawan Biosphere Reserve. This has been shown, for example, by the declaration of the latestprotected area in the mainland, the Mount Mantalingahan Protected Landscape, through Proclamation 1815 1
  13. 13. signed by the President on June 2009. Prior to this declaration, the previous baseline scientific studieson the mountain range have confirmed its high conservation and economic values.Despite our previous milestones in environmental management, the challenges to the sustainabledevelopment of Palawan are manifold. There remains the need to provide for “green” livelihoods tomarginalized people, livelihoods that do not sacrifice the integrity of the environment. Another challengeis the infusion of investments on sectors that do not rely too much on environmental extraction, such asnature tourism. Finally, the incorporation of environmental ethics in the political system and localgovernance brings with it a more holistic perspective to sustainability, equity, and intergenerationalresponsibility.This report strives to arrive at an integrated approach to the Palawan environment. This partly meansthat we always consider that whatever happens in the uplands can impact the downstream and lowlandecosystems. Such perspective is the only valid response to dealing with our challenges. Because thespine of our economy is no less than our ecology itself, careful developmental planning based on theupdated scientific information is not an option but a must. Environmental planning for the quality of lifedemands that we rely on quality information. 2
  14. 14. I. LAND COVER AND FOREST RESOURCESPalawan’s Forest Cover at 46%Recent data derived from 2005 satellite images indicates that Palawan forest accounts for 666,338hectares or about forty-six percent (46%) of the terrestrial area of the province. The latest terrestrialforest cover of Palawan has decreased from previous record. The graph below as well as the table inthe following page show the breakdown of land cover (including the forest) for the Province of Palawan.The land cover resource inventories compared are the 1992 by JAFTA (Japan Forest TechnicalAssociation) and the 2005 by PCSDS with assistance from its Sustainable Environmental ManagementProject in Northern Palawan (SEMP-NP). Figure 1. Percentage Land Cover by Category, Palawan, 1992-2005 3
  15. 15. Land cover usually reflects the outward appearance of the environment. It could provide initial data inassessing the state of the environment of a particular area. In this context, the PCSDS monitors thechanges in land cover of Palawan as part of its mandate to implement an Environmental Monitoringand Evaluation System (EMES) pursuant to Republic Act 7611 or the Strategic Environmental Plan(SEP) for Palawan Act. Changes in the Province’s land cover have been documented in the past andwere embodied in the State of the Environment Report published in 2004.PCSDS uses remotely sensed information (i.e. satellite images) in generating land cover/land usedata for Palawan. The latest imageries that PCSDS acquired are the SPOT 5 satellite images with aresolution of 5 meters, taken from 2002 to 2006. The land cover datasets derived were designated asthe resource base for the year “2005.” The SPOT 5 images were interpreted using remote sensingsoftware. The interpretation used the supervised classification algorithm and was supplemented byground truth data. Image interpretation by municipality was performed using various categories. Thetable in the next page as well as the succeeding maps are the major results of such image interpre-tation.Forest cover is measured by accounting for the forested area relative to the total terrestrial area. Onthe basis of SPOT imageries (c. 2005) covering the whole of Palawan, a considerable percentage ofthe province’s land area was described as forest of various types to include primary forests, secondaryor residual forests, karst or forests over limestone, mossy forests, marginal forests, and forests overultramafic soil. The differences in the provincial total land area for each year can be explained by thevarying boundaries among the satellite image datasets. 4
  16. 16. Table 1. Land Cover, Palawan Province, 1992 and 2005 L AN D CO V ER 1992 (JAFT A) 2005 (PC SDS ) C H ANG E C AT EG O RY Hectares % Hectares % %Forest 738,886 51.8 666,338 46.0 (5.8) Primary / Old growth forest 333,380 23.5 189,772 13.1 Secondary / Residual forest 335,893 23.7 373,278 25.8 Mossy forest 40,864 2.9 21,601 1.5 Marginal forest 27,651 2.0 41,935 2.9 Ultram afic forest 0 - 26,993 1.9 Karst / Limestone forest 1,098 0.1 12,759 0.9M angrove forest 50,602 3.5 58,400 4.0 0.5O pen M angrove 0 - 2,807 0.2 0.2B rushland 245,585 17.2 444,123 30.7 13.5G rassland 252,025 17.7 55,727 3.9 (13.9)Ag ricultural areas 91,053 6.4 194,066 13.4 7.0 Paddy field 42,893 3.0 64,003 4.4 Coconut plantation 26,397 1.9 56,031 3.9 O ther plantation 7,942 0.6 35,917 2.3 Cropland 13,821 0.9 22,459 1.6 O rchard 0 - 14,164 1.0 Kaingin/Barren 0 - 1,644 0.1B uilt-up areas 1,083 0.1 10,080 0.7 0.6R oads 0 - 6,166 0.4 0.4Fishpond / Saltpond 170 0.0 2,279 0.2 0.2B are/ Rocky area 9,607 0.7 1,945 0.1 (0.6)M ining area 1,468 0.1 737 0.1 (0.1)R iver 0 - 4,208 0.3 0.3W etlands/ W ater Bod y /Lake 1,179 0.1 1,801 0.1 0.0C louds/Shadow 35,138 2.5 (2.5) T otal 1,426,796 100.0 1,448,676 100.0 5
  17. 17. Map 1. Land Cover, Southern Palawan, 2005 6
  18. 18. Map 2. Land Cover, Northern Palawan, 2005 7
  19. 19. Forest Cover by Municipality, Palawan Province, 1992 and 2005The breakdown of forest cover for each city/municipality of Palawan, excluding Kalayaan, is summarizedin Table 2. The percentage (%) refers to the proportion of forest with respect to the LGU’s total landarea.Among the municipalities of Palawan, San Vicente manifested the highest forest cover at 75.2%, fol-lowed by Puerto Princesa City at 72.1% (Table 1). In terms of extent, however, Puerto Princesa City hasthe largest area at 159,135 hectares, followed by the Municipality of Rizal with 73,912 hectares offorest area. More than half of the forest of the province is considered secondary, while only about aquarter (25%) is regarded as primary.Aside from Puerto Princesa City, only three (3) municipalities exhibited forest cover greater than thecurrent Provincial forest cover of 46%. These are San Vicente, Rizal and Aborlan. Eighteen (18) or75% of the municipalities of the province have forest cover below 46%. On the other hand, five (5)municipalities indicated meager forest cover (less than 100 hectares). These are mainly comprised ofthe island municipalities of Araceli, Magsaysay, Cuyo, Agutaya, and Cagayancillo. The municipality ofKalayaan, having no forest cover, was not included in the analysis. 8
  20. 20. Table 2. Forest Cover, Palawan Province, 1992 and 2005 9
  21. 21. From 52% to 46%: Palawan Forest Cover Is in DeclineA significant reduction in the forest cover of Palawan is observed from 1992 to 2005. From the estimatedforest cover of 52% in 1992, latest analysis by PCSDS using GIS revealed that it is now down to 46%in 2005. Palawan’s forest cover appears to have decreased by 6%. This is equivalent to around72,500 hectares of forest loss with an annual deforestation rate of around 5,500 hectares.Significantly, this figure is way below Palawan’s deforestation rate prior to the passage in 1992 ofRepublic Act 7611 or the Strategic Environmental Plan for Palawan, which is 19,000 hectares per yearin the period 1979-1984 as reported by PIADP’s Integrated Environmental Program. Why Is There an Apparent Decrease in Palawan’s Forest Cover?The negative change in Palawan’s forest cover may be attributed to a number of factors: the actualloss of forest cover, the various methods of interpretation, the difference in the satellite images used,and the varying categories of classification. The actual loss can be attributed to continuing illegaltimber poaching which paves the way for forest clearance. The lack of available agricultural areas inthe lowlands could have compelled the migrants to encroach into the lowland forest for livelihood,such as shifting cultivation.One other consideration is the method employed in generating the land cover data. The 2005 set ofdata was generated using high spatial resolution SPOT images (5 meters resolution), while the 1992data was obtained through Landsat Thematic Mapper. Considering the marked difference in the spatialresolution of the imageries used as data source, it is expected that results of image interpretationshall be affected. Low spatial resolution images could have led to overestimation because vegetationor other spatial features are less distinguishable in low resolution images as compared to high resolutionimages. 10
  22. 22. Another important factor that may have led to the significant change is the classification and definitionof “forest.” Previous years’ data has classified large tracts of vegetation as “forest” which upon validationin 2005 were found out to be of a different land cover. Overestimation of the previous forest covermaybe attributed to misinterpretation of the images in favor of forest vegetation. Evidence would provethat there were instances when certain areas vegetated with coconuts were misinterpreted as oldgrowth forest. Some Inaccuracies and Misinterpretations of JAFTACases of misinterpretations were documented for JAFTA maps, which was the basis for Palawan’s1992 land cover. For one, vast cashew plantations were interpreted as brushlands. In other provincessuch as in the Cordilleras, vegetable gardens & rice fields were interpreted as grasslands, while onlyone type of forest was interpreted in Misamis Occidental even though local people are able to identifyfive (5) types thereof. This situation could also have been the case in JAFTA interpretation of Palawan’sland cover.< http://www.iapad.org/publications/ppgis/v4n1_the_fourth_dimension_of_participation.pdf> 11
  23. 23. Mangrove Forests and Fishponds Palawan’s Mangrove: 42% of the Philippine TotalLatest data indicate that mangrove forest accounts for 4% of Palawan’s total land area, covering around58,400 hectares. This accounts for roughly 42% of the total remaining mangroves in the country.Municipalities which manifested remarkable increase (greater than 1,000 hectares) in mangrove forestssince 1998 are: Bataraza, Culion, Roxas, and Taytay. While overall mangrove forests of Palawan haveexpanded, there are municipalities which manifested reduction in mangrove forests, such as Dumaran,Sofronio Española, Quezon, San Vicente, and Jose Rizal.While conversion of mangrove areas into fishponds or salt ponds still persists in some parts of theprovince, this did not affect the overall mangrove stand of Palawan. Natural regeneration of certainmangrove forests is believed to compensate for the loss due to fishpond conversion and to account forthe slight expansion of mangrove areas. Threats to Mangrove EcosystemThe major activities which threaten the mangrove forests of Palawan include:• conversion into fishponds and agricultural areas• harvest of mangrove timber for coal fuel• debarking or “tanbarking” of mangroves which is stil happening in southern Palawan 12
  24. 24. Deforestation and Carbon SequestrationA conservative estimate of the carbon stock sequestered within the forests of Palawan ( based on the2005 forest cover) is calculated to be about 206 million metric tons (MT) of Carbon. This figure issignificantly high for a single province considering that it represents half the annual carbon dioxideemissions of large countries such as France, South Africa, and Australia.Based on the current carbon trading at the European Climate Exchange, the amount of carbonsequestered by Palawan’s forest is valued at Euro 3.1 billion (US $3.7 billion). Taking the current costof chemical capture of CO2 (at $150/ton), Palawan’s forest has therefore captured a CO2 equivalentvalued at US $ 30 Billion. QUICK FACTS: The loss of forest cover around the world contributes to about 20% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions. This happens when the carbon sequestered in the trees are released in the atmosphere through deforestation. 13
  25. 25. II. WATER RESOURCES River System MonitoringIn 2009, twenty six (26) rivers in Palawan were monitored and evaluated quarterly in terms of river waterquality using the Water Quality Criteria from the DENR DAO 34, s.1990. The parameters monitoredare pH, color, dissolved oxygen, total suspended solids (TSS), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), oiland grease, total coliform, phosphates, nitrates, and chromium hexavalent.Parameters such as pH, oil and grease, TSS, phosphates and total coliform occasionally exceed thewater quality criteria under certain water classification, thus, affecting the overall water quality rank ofthe river stations being monitored. 14
  26. 26. River monitoring stations are located at the midstream of the river system, along or near the bridge.Several human activities upstream of the monitoring stations have considerable impact on the riverquality which are captured in the monitoring stations.The average concentration of the parameters such as phosphates, pH, total coliform and TSS obtainedfrom 2009 were compared with the baseline data (2004) gathered by PCSDS on thirteen (13) rivermonitoring stations. River water quality data from the other 13 stations without data on baselineconcentration are also shown in the figures. QUICK FACTS: Dissolved oxygen refers to the amount of oxygen present in the water available for the living organisms. For aquatic species, adequate dissolved oxygen is of prime importance to their continued survival. Since dissolved oxygen levels are directly related to good water quality, the two are highly interdependent. Warmer water usually has low oxygen saturation value. As dissolved oxygen levels in water drop below 5.0 mg/l, aquatic life is put under stress. The lower the concentration, the greater the stress. Generally, 4.0 mg/ of dissolved oxygen is required for fish to survive. Oxygen levels that remain below 1-2 mg/l for a few hours can result in large fish kills. 15
  27. 27. Map 3. Location of River Monitoring Stations, Palawan Province 16
  28. 28. To provide information on water quality and water use, a Water Quality Index (WQI) was used toassess Palawan’s surface waters. It incorporates information on water usage and classification offresh surface water bodies based on DENR Administrative Order No. 34, Series of 1990.The calculation of WQI incorporates three (3) different and independent measurements to determinethe index/rank of specific water bodies. These measurements are scope, frequency and amplitude.In measuring the scope, the number of contaminants that exceeded water quality standards areconsidered, such that it answers the question “how many”. For frequency, the proportion of samplesfor each contaminant that exceeded water quality standard are addressed, such that it answersthe question of “how often”. Amplitude considers the amount at which the samples exceededwater quality standards, as such, it responds to the the question “how much”. Table 3. WATER QUALITY INDICATORS / CRITERIA 17
  29. 29. Table 3a. Water Usage and Classification (Source: DENR-DAO 34, S. 1990)Table 3b. General Description of the Calculated Water Quality Rank (Source:Canadian Council Ministers of Environment, 2001f ) 18
  30. 30. Table 4. River Water Quality Monitoring/Ranking, Palawan Province, 2009The above ranking does not necessarily apply for the entire river system, as characterization of thewater body can only be made within the vicinity of the sampling point/station and downstrem. 19
  31. 31. The concentration of phosphates monitored in 2009 is higher than the baseline (2004) concentrationexcept for Tigaplan River. Increase in the average concentration of phosphates over a period of five (5)years in the river staions could be attributed to the intensive agricultural activities upstream of themonitoring station. Figure 2. Phosphate Concentration in Water Samples Taken from River Monitoring Stations, Palawan Province 20
  32. 32. The average concentration of total suspended solids (TSS) recorded for 2009 were all below the baselineconcentration except for Tigaplan Rriver and Iraan River. Labog River has almost same average con-centration of TSS with the baseline data. A decrease in average concentration of TSS with respect tothe baseline data was observed at Magara River. However, its average concentration still exceededthe Class A criteria as shown in the figure below.Figure 3. Total Suspended Solids QUICK FACTS: Erosion or the wearing away of topsoil, increases the total suspended solids in water. Soil and silt washed from logged hillsides, plowed fields, or construction sites, can clog waterways and kill aquatic vegetation. Even small amounts of silt can eliminate desirable fish species. When logging removes the protective plant cover from hillsides, rain may wash soil and silt into streams, covering the gravel bed that is used for spawning. It can also harm fish directly by clogging gills, reducing growth rates, and lowering resistance to disease. 21
  33. 33. Variations on pH of river stations from the baseline (2004) and gathered values in 2009 are shown in Figure 4. Natural variations on pH are affected by photosynthesis, respiration and decomposition processes in the body of water. Photosynthesis increases the pH while respiration and decomposition of organic matter lower the pH. Generally, the pH of the rivers ranges from neutral to slightly basic (alkaline) except for Inandeng River which was always slightly acidic. The decrease in pH level in the water as in the case of Inandeng River, could be due to the respiration and decomposition processes, or the weathering of rocks and soil due to natural or anthropogenic activities.Figure 4. pH Values in Water Samples Taken from River Monitoring Stations, Palawan Province QUICK FACTS: The synergistic effects of pH can ultimately alter the river water ecosystem. It happens when acid waters come into contact with certain chemicals and metals present in the soil, it often makes the water more poisonous than normal. The altered pH can destroy aquatic macroinvertebrates, fish eggs and fry. Heavy metals can also accumulate on the gills of fish or cause deformities in young fish, reducing their chance of survival. 22
  34. 34. The concentrations of total coliform from river monitoring stations are shown in the figure below. Theincreased concentration can be contributed by the bacteria and nutrient from livestock, pet wastes,urban runoff and faulty septic system discharged into the river bodies.The water pollution in the monitored river systems is attributed to nonpoint or diffuse sources. Sourcesof nonpoint pollution in the river monitoring stations generally come from the excess agri-chemicalssuch as fertilizer and pesticides causing high concentration of phosphates and nitrates; oil and greasecoming from washing of vehicles along the rivers; sediment load from improperly managed quarry andgold mining/panning sites, crop/forest lands, and eroding stream banks resulting in increased totalsuspended solids (TSS); bacteria and nutrient from livestock, pet wastes, urban runoff and faulty septicsystem contributing to the increased concentration of total coliform. Figure 5. Total Coliform Concentration in Water Samples Taken from River Monitoring Stations, Palawan Province 23
  35. 35. To properly address the emerging river water quality problems, the implementation of riverbankstabilization program particularly along Labog river is recommended. Farming practices such as no-till minimize soil erosion and help protect water quality. For quarry and gold panning sites, controlssuch as silt fences and sedimentation basins should be designed to prevent eroding soils from reachingsurface waters. The local communities through the LGUs should initiate regular river system/riverbankclean-up, particularly in Iraan (Aborlan) and Pulot (Espanola) Rivers. The headwaters of Calategasdam site should also be protected as this is the existing source of domestic water supply of thecommunity downstream.The community based approach in water resource management should be encouraged throughinformation and education campaign. 24
  36. 36. Rainfall / Precipitation, Palawan Province Map 4. Climate Map Based on the Modified Coronas Classification, Philippines QUICK FACTS: CLIMATE TYPES IN PALAWAN Type I— West Palawan, including north mainland, Calamian and Cuyo Island group; has two pronounced seasons: dry from November to April and wet throughout the rest of the year, because areas are shielded by mountain ranges but are open to rains brought in by Habagat and tropical cyclones. Type III— East Palawan; seasons are not very pronounced but are relatively dry from November to April and wet during the rest of the year. These areas are partly sheltered from tradewinds. QUICK FACTS: Rainfall is generally a result of the movement and interaction of cold and warm air masses in a particular period. The Southwest Monsoon or locally known as Habagat affects the country from May to September and occurs when warm moist air flows over the country from the southwest direction. This brings in rains to the western portion of the country. The Northeast Monsoon or Amihan, meanwhile, affects the eastern portions of the country from October to late March. Cold and dry air mass from Siberia gathers moisture as it travels over the Pacific and brings widespread cloudiness with rains and showers upon reaching the eastern parts of the Philippines“As the Earth heats up, there will be global climatic effects and warming impacts. A warmer earth surface may result instronger forcing of atmospheric circulation and a faster water cycle. More and heavier rainfall events are also anticipated.More intense large scale weather patterns are projected resulting in more pronounced periods of heavy precipitation anddrought as well as more intense storms. There is also an expected decrease in snowfall and more precipitation falling asrain. There will be fewer run-offs in late summer and fall.”- “In the Eye of the Perfect Storm: What the Philippines Should Do About Climate Change. 2008” <www.observatory.ph/SCJ_doc.pdf> 25
  37. 37. Figure 6. Rainfall Trend in Selected Sites in Palawan Province, 1977 - 2008The rainfall pattern in Palawan, particularly in the eastern side as shown in the figure above, indicatesan increasing rainfall intensity. This may be attributed to the changing climate, studies of which disclosethat there is now an increased rainfall intensity during rainy season as well as intensified droughtperiods in dry season. 26
  38. 38. Figure 7. Rainfall Pattern, Puerto Princesa City, 1949-2008The rainfall pattern for Puerto Princesa City, obtained from the records of DOST-PAGASA, is typical ofPalawan’s rainfall condition under Climate Type III. The figure above presents the rainfall pattern ofPuerto Princesa City covering around half a century of documentation, showing a recurring high-lowrainfall trend. A 30-year cycle of highs exhibited in 2004-2008 was earlier observed in 1974-78, andmay have earlier occurred in 1940’s. Sources of Data: • State of Environment Report, Palawan (2004) • Integrated Environmental Program (IEP) Final Report, Vol.1: The Environment Plan (1983) • Certified records from DOST-PAGASA (1949-2008), and RTNMC (2007) 27
  39. 39. Average Monthly Rainfall of Palawan Province Figure 8. Typical Monthly Rainfall Pattern, Eastern Palawan (Type 3 Climate)The graph of the average monthly rainfall for Puerto Princesa City, Aborlan and Bataraza, shows atypical pattern for eastern Palawan under Type-3 of the modified Coronas Climate Classification. Therainfall pattern in the mid-80’s up to the current year showed a slight increase from the average monthlyrainfall in the previous decades.Significantly, one to two wet months (those exceeding 250 millimeters of rainfall in a month) have beenrecorded since 1984 up to 2008, in contrast to practically no recorded wet months during the PIADP-IEPperiod or during those years prior to 1983. Generally, though, eastern Palawan receives less rainfall thanin the western side. Its recorded highest rainfall in a particular month still did not exceed 300 millimeters,while in the western side of Palawan, the highest rainfall was recorded at around 500 millimeters. 28
  40. 40. Figure 9. Typical Monthly Rainfall Pattern, Western Palawan (Type 1 Climate)The western Palawan, under Type-1 of the modified Coronas Climate Classification, is supposed tohave two pronounced seasons: dry from November to April and wet throughout the rest of the year.The graph however shows that the months of November and December now fall under the intermediateseason, with only the months of January to April as the distinct dry months. Likewise, the State of theEnvironment Report in 2004 indicates a slight increase in the rainfall intensity during the months ofAugust to October (typical typhoon season) than in the previous decade. 29
  41. 41. III. COASTAL RESOURCES MONITORINGMunicipalities of Agutaya and Magsaysay, 2009Coastal resources monitoring were undertaken in 2009 in the Municipalities of Agutaya and Magsaysay.The baseline information in these areas were obtained during the coastal resources assessment in in2002 Corals Reefs The monitoring survey revealed a decrease of benthic coral cover in the year 2009 compared to baseline year 2002 in the municipalities of Agutaya and Magsaysay. The Figures 10 and 11 show a comparison of the changes in the hard and soft coral composition of these municipalities in the survey periods. The decrease in the coral cover can be attributed to illegal fishing methods such as cyanide and dynamite fishing among others. There is an immediate need for management measures to protect the coral reefs in order to prevent further degradation. Protecting this vital resource will provide local fishermen a continuous source of food and income. 30
  42. 42. Figure 10. Benthic Coral Cover of Magsaysay Municipality, 2002 and 2009 Total % cover Figure 11. Benthic Coral Cover of Agutaya Municipality, 2002 and 2009 Total % cover 31
  43. 43. Seagrass ResourcesThe density and abundance of seagrass in Agutaya and Magsaysay have decreased rapidly in 2009compared to the year 2002. This may be attributed to the changing climate and to human activitieslike additional boats anchoring near shore where seagrass beds are located.Immediate protection should be implemented in order to prevent further degradation of seagrassbeds in the area. QUICK FACTS: Seagrass bed is one of the most productive components of the marine ecosystem, the same rank with corals and mangroves in serving as nursery, feeding and breeding grounds to varieties of marine organisms. It filters nutrients and contaminants from water and helps stabilize sediment formation to lessen the degree of soil particles reaching coral reefs. 32
  44. 44. Figure 12. Seagrass Canopy and Species Abundance in Magsaysay Municipality, Palawan Total % coverFigure 13. Seagrass Canopy and Species Abundance in Agutaya Municipality, Palawan Total % cover 33
  45. 45. Mangrove ResourcesBased on the data collected in 2002 and 2009 (Figure 14), the density of mangroves in the Municipalityof Magsaysay, Palawan has increased. This can be attributed to proper management of the municipalityin taking care of the mangrove resource. No mangrove cutting was observed in the area during thesurvey period. QUICK FACTS: Mangrove forest are part of the major life-support systems of the coastal zone. Mangroves help maintain the coastal water quality, reduce the severity of coastal storms and waves. They also serve as nursery areas of artisinal fishes, habitat and feeding ground of different marine and/or terrestrial organisms and important abundant source of forest & fishery products. 34
  46. 46. Figure 14. Mangrove Density and Stocking in Magsaysay Municipality, Palawan No. of trees per hectare 35
  47. 47. Reef Fish CommunitiesFish communities are major resources playing an important role in coral reef ecosystems. Theyserve as grazers to control growth of algae on coral habitat. The commercial importance of reef fishcommunities for local fisheries and tourism is immeasurable. Therefore, the health and productivityof reef fisheries are critical from both the ecological and economic perspectives.During the 2009 monitoring survey, slight increase in reef fish density was seen in the target speciesand a much higher increase in reef fish density in the indicator species in Agutaya and Magsaysaymunicipalities as compared to the 2002 baseline survey. The increase in densities indicates a slightrecovery of the fishery populations in the area. However, fish densities in both municipalities are still inpoor condition, possibly due to high fishing pressure which is causing the target species to be lessabundant than the indicator species. 36
  48. 48. Figure 15. Fish Density in Agutaya Municipality, PalawanFigure 16. Fish Density in Magsaysay Municipality, Palawan Fish density is expressed in individuals per hectare. 37
  49. 49. Coastal Resources of Other Municipalities, 2005 and 2008From 2005 to 2008, three (3) municipalities were monitored: Araceli, Brooke’s Point and Quezon.In these municipalities the fish density for target species decreased an average of 48% as shownon the graph. This can be correlated with the intensified fishing pressure due to increasing demands.Target fishes are the fish species that are preferred by local fishermen for its relatively high marketvalue. The decrease is more than half in the municipalities of Brooke’s Point and Quezon.Proper management is immediately needed in order to maintain the balance of the different fishspecies in the respective localities. Figure 17. Average Density of Target Fish Resources in Three Palawan Municipalities 38
  50. 50. Figure 18. Seagrass Canopy Cover in Three Palawan MunicipalitiesThe current condition of seagrass communities in the municipalities of Araceli, Brooke’s Point andQuezon, as shown in the graph is described to be in fair condition with 37.9% average canopy cover.However, a decrease of 3.3% of average canopy cover of seagrass of all the municipalities com-bined can be attributed to several factors along the coast. Trawling and boating are human activitiesthat can be factors in the reduction of seagrass cover. Sediments coming from riverine inputs andcoastal communities have also been known to reduce the survival of seagrass species. 39
  51. 51. Figure 19. Comparative Live Coral Cover in Three Palawan MunicipalitiesThe current condition of corals in the 3 municipalities monitored from 2005 to 2008 can be describedto be in good condition with an average of 52.9% coral cover. However, there was an average decreaseof 13% of live coral cover from the monitoring survey in all of the municipalities. This can be attributedto the illegal ways of fishing such as the use of dynamite and cyanide which can quickly destroy largeareas of coral reefs. Moreover, increased fishing pressure on commercial fish species is the mostprobable cause of the degradation of the coral reefs. Decrease in fishes would mean less fish toconsume algae growing on the reefs that could out-compete the corals in the area. 40
  52. 52. Figure 20. Mangrove Density in the Municipalities of Quezon and Brooke’s Point, PalawanThe current condition of the mangroves in Quezon and Brooke’s Point municipalities monitored thisreport period, is described to be adequate – highly dense. This was demonstrated by an increase of24.6% of mangrove trees per hectare based on the results of monitoring surveys for the 2 municipalitieswhich this can be attributed to the proper management by the municipalities of their mangrove areas.Strict environmental law enforcement has also prevented further destruction and has promoted growth ofmangroves in the area. 41
  53. 53. Table 5. Coastal Resource Assessment in the Municipality of Cagayancillo, 2007 RESOURCE CONDITION Corals 54.8% average live coral cover Mangroves Density at 72 trees per hectare Seagrass 53.6% average seagrass canopy cover Reef Fish 920 individuals per 500 square meter (m 2)In 2007, baseline assessment of the coastal resources was conducted in the Municipality ofCagayancillo. Essentially, the current condition of the coastal resources therein is all categorized to bein good condition. Proper management should be put in place in order to maintain or improve theconditions of these resources. This baseline information should be followed up with a monitoring-evaluation in order to detect changes in any of these resources. Increased impacts of climate changebeing more apparent, it is therefore a must to maintain and improve the conditions of all our naturalresources as they serve as protection and buffer from extreme climate changes. 42

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