The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recently developed a framework for assessing social and economic impacts of protected areas to ensure that ongoing conservation efforts are effective, and contribute to human well-being and poverty reduction.
The DENR, through its Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), came up with a set of guidelines on Socio-Economic Assessment and Monitoring System (SEAMS) designed to gather data or information that will serve as basis for monitoring the benefits of protected areas to local communities, especially the indigenous peoples (IPs).
BMB Director Theresa Mundita S. Lim said the system will serve as a standard method that will be used by protected area superintendents and other field implementers in assessing and monitoring the socio-economic condition of occupants in protected areas.
She also said that data and information gathered using the SEAMS shall be useful in planning and determining the appropriate management interventions that will provide improvements in the lives of the communities within and around protected areas, at the same time ensure the conservation of the important biological resources that make the protected area valuable to everyone.
Aside from the socio-economic study, the SEAMS project also seeks to locate sources and values of various ecosystems, and determine the degree of degradation or improvement in ecosystem services, uses and values, and identify the ecosystem pressures and threats, including their causes.
A multi-sectoral team will be created in each region to oversee the implementation of the SEAMS project, according to her.
Each team, to be created by the concerned DENR regional director, will be composed of the chief of the conservation and development division; the environment and natural resources officers from the provincial and community levels; representatives from the city, municipal and barangay governments; civil society organizations; and people's organizations.
The teams are expected to come up with an assessment report to be submitted to the BMB, which will then consolidate them as inputs to the State of Protected Area Report. ###