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Soil Conservation Guided Farms Under Peat and Peatlands of the Philippines

By Wilfredo B. Sanidad, PhD – December 03, 2012

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Location of the Three Peatland areas of the Philippines

The Soil Conservation and Management Division (SCMD) of the BSWM is presently collaborating with the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) since 2008, and actively engaged with the ASEAN Peatland Forest Project (APFP) funded by the GEF and IFAD. The BSWM is one of the Key members of the National Technical Working Group (NTWG). The collaboration brings the creation of the National Action Plan (NAP) for the sustainable use and protection of the Philippine Peatlands in year 2009.

In the Succeeding year in 2010 the BSWM formed the Peatland survey assessment and management team to delineate and map the peatland areas of the country. In this endeavor seven potentially existing peatlands scattered in the islands of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao were surveyed and validated. To date, out of 7 sites, only the Agusan Marsh, Ligwasan marsh and the leyte Sab-a Basin were confirmed to be the existing peatland areas of the country.

In October 3-7 2011, Dr. Wilfredo B. Sanidad of the SCMD, joined the National Technical Working Group Team to represent the BSWM to a five-day study tour in Selangor, Malaysia (Figure 1).

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Figure 1. Philippine National Technical Working Group Participants in the five-day study tour at Selangor, Malaysia.(1) This is an international commitment of the Republic of the Philippines to the ASEAN community to poster the management of our peatland soils ; (2) The study tour will update the Philippines on current efforts of its Asian neighbors on peatland soil and natural resources conservation; (3) This study tour gives us an opportunity to get possible funding for researches and projects relating to peatland soil conservation and management.

Project Implementation

The first quarter of 2012 brings the PAWB and BSWM to draft a Memorandum Of Agreement in the implementation of the Peatland conservation and management in the Agusan Marsh only. The main responsibility of the BSWM is to: provide technical assistance on wetland conservation farming and land use including soil fertility and crop management; mapping and validation of peatlands in the country; and to promote options for agriculture in peatlands which do not degrade peat and conservation of unique undisturbed peatlands.

The second quarter of 2012 brings the BSWM to plan and formulate Soil Conservation measures under wetland conditions and the establishment of Guided Farm Demonstration sites. This is a complete reversal of the usual guided farms commonly established in upland to hilly sites where water availability is the limiting factor.

Field visit and assessment was made by Dr. Wilfredo B. Sanidad and Engr. Bony Dela Cruz within the Agusan Marsh in April 2012. Six (6) sites were visited and and they are listed as follows:

  • Caimpugan, San Francisco, Agusan Del Sur
  • New Visayas, San Francisco, Agusan Del Sur
  • Maharlika, Talacogon, Agusan Del Sur
  • Causwagan, Talacogon, Agusan Del Sur
  • San Teodoro, Bunawan, Agusan Del Sur
  • Pag-asa, Sta. Josefa, Agusan Del Sur

A technical report on the FIELD ASESSMENT AND RECONNAISSANCE SURVEY REPORT in the conduct “Guided Farm Demonstration Sites for Sustainable Agriculture in Agusan Marsh” was the output of that activity. Soil and water interventions under wetland conditions were formulated namely, a floating garden made of indigenous materials, a plastic covered greenhouse and the raised bed method of planting.

In the third quarter of 2012 (July 29 – Aug 1) the pilot demonstration site in Caimpugan , San Francisco, Agusan Del Sur was established. Five (5) representatives from each site attended the establishment of the demonstration/construction of the Guided Farm and details of the activity are presented in a daily basis below:

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(Left) Dr. Wilfredo Sanidad stress some points during his presentation of the design and construction of the proposed Floating Garden and plastic covered green house to the stakeholders; (Right) Project stakeholders meeting with the BSWM, PAWB, PAWD, Triba Leaders and DENR officials in Brgy Caimpugan, Agusa Del Sur.
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On site Construction of the Floating Garden by the stakeholders using Indigenous materials like bamboo poles to serve as floaters.
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(Left) Installation of the garden flooring and the finished floating garden with the stakeholders; (Right) The Floating Garden was immediately put into test and allowed to stay afloat over night.
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(Left) Peat/soil mix in a 2.5m2 area will be allowed to incubate for a month before fertilization and planting is to be made; (Right) Construction of the raised bed method of planting and installation of plastic covered green house.

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