The City Government of Puerto Princesa highlighted the city’s rich biodiversity and forest resources during the International Day of the Forest on Thursday, March 21, 2019.
This year’s event theme is “Forest and Education”. The UN General Assembly declared March 21 as International Day of the Forest in 2012.
The City Environment and Natural Resources Office mounted a photo exhibit at the New City Hall to coincide with the celebration and to educate the younger generation and the public of the significant roles of forests in the ecosystem.
The exhibit shows photographs of the city’s forests, watershed, rare timber species, wildlife and birds.
It also features rare timber species, one of which is Magkono, known as the country’s hardest wood. It is known as the Philippine Iron Wood under the Family Myrtaceae. It is listed as “rare” and currently “endangered” based on the record of IUCN.
Magkono or Xanthostemon verdugonianus is an endemic tree found only in the Magkono triangle that consists of five provinces including Palawan.
Also featured were rare and endemic birds captured by the photographers’ lens during the Bird Photography Race which is already an annual event, during the Subaraw festival every November each year.
Atty. Carlo B. Gomez said that the bird population in a specific location is a bio-indicator of the place’s healthy environment.
Forest Ranger Gerald Opiala of the city government said that there are two existing birdwatching sites that cater tourists who are bird enthusiasts. These are Irawan and Magarwak.
Fe Bolin, wildlife enforcement officer, said that there are also bird feeding stations in two bird sites.
Aside from the photographs and plants on exhibit, the audio recordings of birds within the selected forested sites was played to the amusement of the students, employees and other guests.
Among the sites of the bird photography race are in Barangay Cabayugan, Napsan, Montible, Irawan, and Magarwak with participants from different parts of the country and that from other countries like Costa Rica, Japan, Australia, Hongkong, Taiwan, Malaysia, etc.
The photo exhibit is intended to raise awareness on how well-protected and sustainably-managed forests provide wide array of ecosystem services, and provide rich ecological diversity of the place.