The USAID Protect Wildlife project and local partners presented to Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco the five-year management and development plans for the city’s two protected areas: the Pasonanca Natural Park and the Great and Little Santa Cruz Islands Protected Landscape and Seascape.
The new plans are the result of a series of Protect Wildlife-facilitated workshops by members of protected area management boards and relevant stakeholders working together to design a comprehensive strategy to strengthen the management and development of the two protected areas. The two plans include important components—proper zoning mechanisms, conservation, enforcement, financing, tenure and ecotourism—to help protect, conserve and manage the different land and resource uses in these protected areas.
The Pasonanca Natural Park and the Santa Cruz Islands were recently included in the Philippines’ Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act. Barangay Pasonanca consists of a mostly contiguous block of old and secondary growth dipterocarp forest. It is a key biodiversity area and the major source of water for Zamboanga City. Santa Cruz Islands, an emerging ecotourism destination in the country, also hosts diverse reef, mudflat and mangrove habitats, providing rich marine and coastal resources that are crucial for fisheries and livelihoods in the area. (PWP/ Lawrence San Diego)