Saturday, March 28, 2015

Protected Areas Land Use Zoning

by Antonio C. Antonio
March 26, 2015

The NIPAS Act of 1992, otherwise known as Republic Act No. 7586 is an act providing for the establishment and management of national integrated protected areas system, defining its scope and coverage, (and for other purposes).  This law prescribes the criteria for classifying the land within the Republic into zones.  In the classifying the zones, the following considerations are used such as the demographic characteristics of the area, land use, vegetation, streams, soil, topography and terrain.  To preserve the accuracy and integrity of the information, the following categories were lifted in full from the book “Management of Protected Areas.”  There zones are:
  1. Strict Protection Zone – areas with high biodiversity value which shall be closed to all human activity except for scientific studies and/or ceremonial or religious use by indigenous communities.  Usually, this zone includes old growth forest which under the law should be protected from any form of exploitation, those presently inhabited by rare or endangered species, areas with critical slopes which are susceptible to erosion or landslides.
  2. Sustainable Use Zone – natural areas where habitat and its associated biodiversity shall be conserved but where consistent with management plan and with the protected area management board approval.  It usually includes secondary or logged-over forest areas where selective harvesting of trees can be allowed.
  3. Restoration Zone – areas of degraded habitat where the long term goal will be to restore natural habitat with its associated biodiversity and to rezone the area to a more strict protection level.  It usually includes denuded or heavily deforested areas that should be revegetated to prevent adverse environmental consequences.
  4. Habitat Management Zones – areas with significant habitat and species values where management practices are required periodically to maintain specific non-climax habitat types or conditions required by rare, threatened or endangered species.  It includes areas that can serve as potential habitat or sanctuary for wildlife species.
  5. Multiple-Use Zones – areas where settlement, traditional and/or sustainable land use, including agriculture, agroforestry, extraction activities and other income generating or livelihood activities, may be allowed to the extent prescribed in the management plan.  It includes areas where communities and settlers are usually found.
  6. Buffer Zone – areas outside the protected area but adjoining it that are established by law and under the control of the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources).  It serves as transition zone between the protected and populated areas.  It serves as an invisible fence between the protected area and adjoining areas.  It provides the spatial line of defense against destructive agents.
  7. Cultural Zones – areas with significant cultural, religious, spiritual, or anthropological values where traditional rights exist and ceremonies and/or cultural practices take place.
  8. Recreational Zones – areas of high recreational, tourism, educational, or environmental awareness values where sustainable eco-tourism, recreational, conservation education or public awareness activities may be allowed as prescribed in the management plan.
  9. Special Use Zones – areas containing existing installations of national significance such as telecommunications facilities, irrigation canals or electric power lines.  Such installations may be retained subject to mutual agreements among concerned parties, provided such installation will not violate any prohibitions contained in the act.

Before the actual planning of possible programs or projects in an area, these zoning categories will have to be considered so as the planning effort is not wasted.  Among other considerations, awareness of these planning and management considerations is important… therefore, Protected Areas Land Use Zoning.

Just my little thoughts…

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Bantayan, N. C., Cereno, R. P., Cruz, R. V. D., Racelis, D. A., & Villanueva, T. R., (2001).
Management of protected areas. University of the Philippines Open University, Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines

Republic Act No. 7586, (1992). An act providing for the establishment and management of
national integrated protected areas system, defining its scope and coverage, and for other purposes.  Republic of the Philippines, Malacanang Palace, Manila, Philippines

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