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Apayao province declared as UNESCO Biosphere Reserve

yApayaos Biosphere Reserve from DOT-CAR

The province of Apayao has been declared by the United Nations as the fourth biosphere reserve in the Philippines.

Known as the last forest frontier in the Cordillera region in northern Luzon, Apayao is now going to be protected for biodiversity conservation alongside the three other biosphere reserves in the country, such as Albay, Palawan, and Puerto Galera.

At the center of this recognition is an indigenous system of forest conservation. Known as ‘lapat,’ the Isnag people turn a piece of forest land and its natural resources when the Isnag owner dies.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), biosphere reserves are learning areas for “sustainable development.”

For a place to be called a ‘biosphere reserve,’ national governments must nominate it first and remain under the sovereign jurisdiction of the states where they are located.

“The designation as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve means that areas in Apayao are now protected for biodiversity conservation,” said Apayao’s provincial government.

“The new designations come at a pivotal moment for humanity, as it grapples with a global biodiversity crisis intertwined with climate disruption,” UNESCO director-general Audrey Azoulay stated.

Not only does this area’s designation help foster scientific research but also improves the living conditions of indigenous people.

The yApayaos Biosphere Reserve spans 3,960 square kilometers, featuring peaks, plateaus, valleys, and the Apayao River. Currently, there are now a total of 759 sites across 136 countries.

Camille Quirino

Camille Quirino is a Junior Writer at The Filipino Times, passionate about sharing the stories of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). She previously contributed to Magic 89.9 and various TV productions and finds fulfillment in crafting compelling narratives that shed light on the experiences of OFWs. Outside of work, Camille enjoys playing the ukulele and meeting new people to hear their stories. She believes everyone has a unique narrative worth sharing and is dedicated to capturing these stories in her writing. Reach Camille at [email protected].

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