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DENR to develop watershed database management system

Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resoures (DENR) will develop and maintain a database management system for information on Philippine watersheds.

This aims to better help generate integrated management plans that will promote sustainable development in watersheds which are land areas drained by streams or fixed bodies of water and tributaries having common outlets for surface run-off.

DENR Secretary Jose “Lito” Atienza believes such plans will enable the country to maximize benefits from watershed resources without jeopardizing these in the process.

He ordered the database management system’s establishment through Memorandum Circular 2008-05 which will take effect in mid-November this year.

The system will cover data on watersheds’ bio-physical and socio-economic conditions.

Among bio-physical conditons to be included are geographic location, topography, geo-morphological features, soil, land classification and use, climate, hydrology, infrastructure, vegetation and fauna.

Socio-economic conditions will include population and density, livelihood, income, employment, sectoral production, public services, tourism and recreation, religion, politics, social groups, citizen participation as well as behavioral and cultural patterns.

Such data will help planners identify problems and development opportunities within different eco-systems in watersheds.

These eco-systems cover forests, uplands, grassland, lowlands and urban areas as well as coastal and marine locations.

“Data gathered shall be analyzed based on integrated and participatory management, development and rehabilitation requirements of the watershed, addressing multi-dimensional issues from forests down to coastal areas as the case may be,” Atienza said.

Among analysis tools planners will use are SWOT, problem tree, geographic information system (GIS) and land use determination matrix (LUDM).

SWOT analysis is for evaluating development initiatives’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats while problem tree analysis maps out causes and effects around an issue, the DENR noted.

The department likewise said GIS integrates spatially-referenced data to identify areas needing immediate intervention while LUDM is based on watersheds’ development and rehabilitation requirements in relation to deforestation and soil erosion.