The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Eastern Visayas is raising awareness on forest protection in aiming to end illegal logging activities within the year.
DENR Regional Executive Director Crizaldy Barcelo said the department is stepping up forest protection efforts in time for the global celebration of International Day of the Forests (IDF) on March 21.
“The DENR’s forest protection activities all relate to the objectives of the celebration of IDF, which is to raise awareness on how sustainably managed forests contribute to the healthy environment,” Barcelo told reporters on Thursday.
He said forests secure the soil and water resources, mitigate climate change, provide habitat for animals, and livelihood for human.
In January, Barcelo ordered field officials to conduct massive information, education and communication drives, strictly monitor timber poaching activities in their assigned areas, and closely coordinate with apprehending authorities for the conduct of anti-timber poaching operations.
To intensify the effort, the agency is also implementing a biodiversity protection system using an advanced technology called Lawin Protection System. The system uses cyber tracker mobile application to report real-time environmental abuses from the site.
This system is used in identifying threats within forest conservation areas such as cutting, perennial farming, forest fires, and pests and diseases, as well as in recommending immediate action to identified threats during patrol works.
“In instances of apprehension and confiscation of forest products, it is regrettable that trees were already cut, but the department is sending a strong message to the culprits that their action will not be left unpunished,” Barcelo said.
Sanctions will be imposed to violators of forestry laws as a way of emphasizing to the public that forests are important. This also serves as a warning against activities that are abusive of forest resources.
The United Nations established every 21 of March as IDF to raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests.
This year, the celebration promotes education to “Learn to Love Forests”. It underscores the importance of education in all levels in achieving sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation. Healthy forests mean healthy, resilient communities and prosperous economies. (PNA)
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