Forest wardens learn app that detects forest condition

March 20, 2020

By Kathleen Zambas, Training Specialist

Bantay Gubat members record information into the Ka Patrol app during a forest monitoring trial.

Members of the Bantay Gubat or forest wardens from the Dumagat and Dumagat-Remontado tribes in General Nakar, Quezon participated in the Citizen’s Action for Monitor Ecosystems or CAME training recently in Infanta, Quezon.    

CAME is a monitoring system that helps determine the condition of forests in different key biodiversity areas in the country such as Mt. Irid-Angelo in Southern Sierra Madre. Using the Android application Ka Patrol, data which will be collected by the Bantay Gubat and other community members will be used in their own information campaigns, conservation programs, and policy recommendations.  

The CAME training was also joined by various stakeholders representing the Municipal Local Government Unit of General Nakar, the Philippine Army, DENR-CENRO Real, religious organizations, and other non-government groups such as the Tribal Center for Development (TCD) and Samahan ng mga Katutubong Agta-Dumagat-Remontado na Binabaka at Ipinagtatanggol ang Lupaing Ninuno (SAGIBIN-LN).

During the three-day activity, the participants learned basic phone navigation, application launch, and logging of information during a mock monitoring session. They also learned about Global Positioning System (GPS) and basic photography.

“Hindi po ako marunong gumamit niyang cellphone pero mapapadali ang aming pagsubaybay gamit ito (I did not know how to use the cellphone but this will help in our monitoring)” says Jayson Mendoza, a Bantay Gubat member from the Dumagat-Remontado tribe.

“Mahalaga pala ang aking ambag sa pangangalaga ng kagubatan at buhay-ilang (I learned that my role is important in conserving the forest and biodiversity),” he added.

Population growth has led to the conversion of forest areas to agricultural lands and settlement. In turn, it resulted in an increase in demand for food and other needs that come from our natural resources.

A few kilometers upstream from General Nakar are forest and river views. Some of which are located in Protected Area PP 1636.

Constant monitoring of the current situation of forests will help identify threats and develop appropriate solutions. In this endeavor, the best people to engage are those who live within and “know the forest by heart”.

“Kahit kami’y nakapikit, alam namin ang pasikot-sikot sa (aming) kagubatan. (Even with eyes closed, we know every part of the forest)” says Dumagat-Remontado Chief Kaksaan (leader) Herminio Mendoza.

The community plays an important role in ensuring effective forest governance in every country such as the Philippines wherein more than half of the land area or 15 million hectares are classified as forestlands.

2017 03 16 law to protect philippine eagle awaits Gab E the Philippine Eagle
Philippine Eagles still live in the Sierra Madre, where these communities also reside.

Moreover, 5.4 million HA or 34% of this area are considered ancestral domains of Indigenous Peoples and local communities. These groups are classified as forest-dependent communities.

Haribon Foundation is currently implementing the project “Strengthening Non-state Actor Involvement in Forest Governance in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Papua New Guinea (FOGOP) which is funded by the European Union (EU) in partnership with BirdLife International. The project aims to strengthen the effective engagement of communities in forest monitoring using the Ka Patrol phone application. The Ka-Patrol app is currently on its beta stage.