PHILIPPINES – The Masungi Georeserve expressed concern on Sunday night, May 16 over the continued forest fires around the wildlife sanctuary, particularly within the protected watershed.
“Since April, there have been fires in the protected watershed around us and they have been accelerating the past few weeks,” it said in a Facebook post, which came with a lone photograph.
“Another patch is burned in what looks like a large-scale consolidation of forest land clearings. There has also been an increase in illegal encroachments and resort development,” the Georeserve said.
It warned that such illegal activities “can spread like an infection in the mountains if they aren’t nipped in the bud”.
“One day we can wake up and the protected area, supposedly free from human exploitation, will be gone,” it further said.
Located in the Southern Sierra Madre range in Baras, Rizal, the Masungi Georeserve is a conservation area in the Philippines. It is centered on the geological formations of Masungi Rock.
It was declared a strict nature reserve and wildlife sanctuary by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) back in 1993.
The Georeserve ended its post by saying, “There is another disease plaguing the Philippines and the world – that of biodiversity and habitat loss especially of tropical forests, on top of the climate emergency. Vigilance of citizens and groups, and action of enforcers, will spell the difference.” The area become a popular tourist destination after it opened to the public in 2015. It is home to massive limestone formations and hundreds of plant and animal species.