The Protected Area Management Office (PAMO) of Alabat Watershed Forest Reserve conducted a Biodiversity Monitoring System (BMS) within the eight (8) established transect stations in the protected area on August 10, 2023, to determine the current trend and status of biodiversity within the Second Semester of 2023. The activity was followed by a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) held in Brgy. Bacong, Alabat, Quezon the next day.

The activity consisted of an assessment of flora and fauna components, determination of environmental conditions, and observation of dynamic changes occurring in the protected area. The BMS composite team led by PASu Forester Romel David Rama together with the AWFR-PAMO staff, namely, Forester Nolan Abastillas, FT I Allan Panganiban, FR John Michael Barizo, FR Karla OmaƱa, FR Dennis Olaya, and Forester Patrice Angela Veloso carried out the assessment through a transect walk, field diary, photo documentation, and Focus Group Discussion (FGD).

The team gathered data along the established transect route and noted their observations per station. Further, the physical parameters of the area were assessed by determining the soil and water pH, air and water temperature, relative humidity, and Total Dissolved Solids.

After the BMS team identified and generated vital data during the monitoring, the results were presented to the community through FGD wherein the local community partakes in the discussion relative to the issues concerning the protected area. FGD with the community monitoring group primarily aims to solicit data regarding the status of wildlife in the protected area and to determine the existing threat to the resources including the incidence of illegal activities. Likewise, intended to improve the participation of the communities in protected area management and conservation.

Per the results of the conducted monitoring, the recorded data shows that the physical conditions are still within allowable values and there was no observed occurrence of illegal activities within the protected area. Further, it was revealed that during the monitoring period, newly recorded species of Aves were observed to be thriving in the protected area, namely, White-bellied Sea Eagle and Black-chinned Fruit Dove. Further, the floral component with 878 recorded species remains constant while the faunal component with 308 recorded species has a minimal decrease in number.

Based on the findings, certain factors were enumerated which have probably contributed to the slight decrease in the observed number of fauna species including food supply and weather conditions during the time of monitoring.

Despite the slight decrease in the species observed for this semester, the AWFR still serves as home to numerous wildlife including species of flora i.e., Palosapis, Yakal, Apitong, Guijo. Bagtikan, Narra, Molave, Kamagong, Tindalo, Makaasim, Dao, and Lisak. Also, inhabiting faunal species include Civet cat, Python, Monitor lizard, Common emerald dove, White-eared brown dove, Red turtle dove, Brahminy kite, White-breasted wood swallow, and Philippine pied fantail.

BMS is undertaken semi-annually by protected area management staff in accordance with the mandate of the Republic Act No. 11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (ENIPAS) of 2018. It is a tool designed to improve ways of conserving and protecting forest biodiversity within protected areas.###