Stakeholders are mulling to set up an eco-museum in Abatan river for the province with the auspices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
This came up during the capacity building for the stakeholders held at Bohol Tropics Resort here despite threats, such as siltation, over exploitation, destructive fishing, shanties and water effluents, facing the Abatan watershed area.
Abatan river area covers the towns of Cortes, Maribojoc, Antequera, Balilihan and Catigbian. It is one of the most important watersheds in the province because of its rich biodiversity and source of livelihood of the communities around it, DENR said.
It was learned that there are some 400 eco-museums in entire world and none in the country yet, Penro Nestor Canda was informed of this during the said activity.
Eco-museum is without walls located in rural areas. It should give emphasis in linkage with history, landscape, natural resources and agricultural practices.
It is envisioned that eco-museum will generate benefits for the community. These are income generation for locality and local government units concerned; species protection; and to entice tourists to experience eco-cultural heritage of the area.
Criteria of setting up an eco-museum are the following: it must be based on needs of local and cultural heritage resource aimed at protecting, nurturing and interpreting them; organization of grassroots initiatives and locally managed; and contributes to building and strengthening local identity and mobilizing local communities.
Information and documentation center is among the elements of an eco-museum. Other elements include: network of attraction dispersed within Abatan river area with defined sites which show character uniqueness; workshops/demonstrations which generate a living interpretation of heritage and resources; network of marked routes on the area which allow people to move between sites of interest; and regular events and advertisements.
And establishing an eco-museum is not without challenges that must be addressed, like competing interests, heavy rains and flooding, navigational hazards, privately-owned land along the river banks; and land access to barangays center is difficult.
â€œAbatan is not only a tourism asset but also an important livelihood resources to at least five municipalities, where visitors can experience how locals use the river as a source of livelihood.â€
DENR showed the abundance of the Abatan river basin, having 273 plant species; 39% of worldâ€™s mangroves species are found here; and 67 species of wild animals. This despite some endangered mangrove species, such as, â€˜Tinduk-tindukan,â€™ â€˜Api-api,â€™ â€˜Gapas-gapas,â€™ and â€˜malatangalâ€™ or â€˜lapis-lapis,â€™ are found here.
Firefly (Pteroptyx incredermoth) is endemic in the area and the golden-capped fruit bat (aceroden jabatus).
Declaration of such eco-museum can be done by virtue of the acts of the Department of Tourism and DENR with the help and coordination with the provincial government with Abatan river development management body running it thru PRCESS Bohol.
To ensure reasonable and sustainable measures are taken care of by the LGUs concerned must be the guiding principles in the protection, restoration and enhancement of the quality of the environment in the area. (PNA) RMA/RVO/SSC