In time for World Wetlands Day on February 2, celebrated to lift international consciousness in regards to the excessive significance of wetlands for folks and planet, outcomes on the annual Asian Waterbird Census in Manila Bay have been launched. The January 2021 depend tallied 110,000 waterbirds, and of the 60 species noticed, over two-thirds are migratory birds from as far-off as Siberia and Alaska. All are depending on wetlands for his or her survival. Flagged was a continued decline of practically 20% since 2019, or a shortfall of 25,000 birds over simply two years.
The Wild Fowl Membership of the Philippines (WBCP), in collaboration with Wetlands Worldwide Philippines Program and IUCN Netherlands Committee, assisted the Division of Atmosphere and Pure Assets (DENR) in Areas III, IV-A and NCR within the Asian Waterbird Census in Manila Bay. This was a part of the Worldwide Waterbird Depend which Wetlands Worldwide coordinates globally in January yearly. First organized in 1967, the census covers over 100 nations, making it one of many largest and longest-running biodiversity monitoring applications on the earth.
The counts included the Provinces of Bataan (Balanga), Pampanga (Pasac and Pampanga River), Bulacan (the coastal wetlands of Sta. Cruz, Pamarawan, Caliligawan, Bambang, and Talitip), Cavite (Imus River mouth and Noveleta), and the Nationwide Capital Area-NCR (Valenzuela fishponds, Tanza mudflats and Paranaque Wetlands Park). As well as, a hen depend was undertaken in Candaba Marsh.
Manila Bay, a transparent candidate for cover of waterbirds however lower than 1% is protected
Of the 60 species listed within the Manila Bay census, at least 15 species have been current in internationally necessary numbers. Recorded onsite have been 30,000 people or nearly 30% of the Whiskered Terns breeding in Chinese language wetlands; and round 7,000 or 7% of the Pacific Golden Plovers, 6,000 or 5% Kentish Plovers, and practically 6,000 or 6% Marsh Sandpipers of their respective populations present in East Asia.
“Manila Bay hosts the best variety of waterbirds of any Philippine wetlands but it has lower than 200 hectares protected and with a mountain of threats to its habitats and birds,” stated Arne Jensen, Wetlands Worldwide Affiliate Professional and WBCP data committee chair.
“With 87% or about 95,000 waterbirds current in Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan, it will not be an exaggeration to say North Manila Bay is likely one of the final Philippine wetlands refuge. On the shallow coastal waters, tidal flats and sandbars to man-made salt beds and fishponds, about 37,000 shorebirds and 37,000 terns have been counted along with 23,000 gulls and 15,000 egrets. Coastal fisherfolks and waterbirds alike all depend upon the various kinds of wetlands discovered within the Bay,” stated Jensen.
With habitat loss, waterbird populations decline yearly
The recorded decline in variety of waterbirds since 2019 isn’t evenly distributed throughout the provinces. Most extreme is the decline of long-distance shorebirds in Bulacan and gulls within the Pampanga rivers. This mirror reductions in tidal flats as their feeding habitats.
“In distinction, there was a rise in waterbird presence by greater than 100% representing nearly 12,000 birds in NCR, largely on the tidal mudflats in Tanza, Navotas. Nevertheless, these are actually being reclaimed, signaling what’s to come back in Bulacan, Cavite and different areas,” stated Jensen.
With out safety, additional biodiversity loss will be projected in Manila Bay
Lots of the waterbirds in Manila Bay are threatened as their populations decline yearly attributable to lack of their feeding wetland habitats throughout their flyway.“In Manila Bay previously 4 years alone, 4 of its simply 10 important wetland websites of nationwide or worldwide significance are being misplaced attributable to growth akin to airport growth, reclamation and, more and more, removing of mudflats and shallow areas as dredging has now change into commercialized,” stated Mike Lu, President of the Wild Fowl Membership of the Philippines.
“The huge reclamation masterplans of the Philippine Reclamation Authority, and the strategy of the Division of Public Works and Highways to flood mitigation that features coastal embankment involving the provinces from Bataan to Cavite would destroy the entire ecosystem of Manila Bay. Reclamation needs to be stopped and the PRA and DPWH be reorganized for restoration and local weather change adaptation to assist international and nationwide insurance policies to implement nature-based options that preserve the wild birds habitats whereas additionally defending folks,” added Lu.
Extra species are being added to the threatened checklist in the meantime. In Manila Bay, 14 species are actually both close to threatened or immediately threatened with extinction, misplaced perpetually on the earth. Essentially the most threatened species embody the enduring Black-faced Spoonbill (Platalea minor), Chinese language Egret (Egretta eulophotes), Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa), Asian Dowicher (Limnodromus semipalmatus), and Far Jap Curlew (Numenius madagascariensis).
Are wetlands wastelands?
In response to Dr. Annadel Cabanban, Head of Wetlands Worldwide Philippines, wetlands have historically been considered as wastelands or sick lands, little greater than breeding grounds for mosquitos, and out there for coastal growth and land reclamation. “This misperception on the operate of wetlands has dramatically diminished the quantity and high quality of habitat out there to waterbirds. Because the demand for water, land and meals will increase, wetlands have change into the ecosystem most in decline on the earth and the decline is worst in Asia. Counting waterbirds permits us to see whether or not a wetland is below risk,” stated Cabanban.
“Waterbird monitoring is the muse for managing and understanding wetlands. It has helped species and populations that have been as soon as in critical decline make exceptional recoveries in different nations, however not but within the Philippines—that problem and alternative stay, to behave given the inseparable connection of wetlands, water, and our wellbeing,” stated Jensen.