About the Wetland Ecological BioBlitz
‘Bio’ in Greek means ‘life’ and ‘Blitz’ means ‘to do something quickly and intensively’. By doing these together, a ‘BioBlitz’, one does a collaborative race against the clock to discover as many species of plants, animals and fungi as possible, within a set location, over a defined time period, usually 24 hours.
Why is this important?
The Philippines is home to various types of wetlands. As an archipelagic nation with 36,289 square kilometres of coastline and about 749,917 hectares of inland wetlands alone – wetlands provide food, recreation, and livelihood to a large portion of Filipinos (DENR-PAWB, 2013).
Wetlands are also among habitats experiencing degradation faster than any other ecosystem (Millennium Ecosystems Assessment Report, 2005). The Living Planet likewise emphasized that freshwater ecosystems are more threatened and are deteriorating faster than terrestrial or marine habitats.
Knowing is half the battle
The SCPW adopted the BioBlitz concept for wetlands and added dimensions that characterize the wetland including geographical, climate-related and ecosystem services as indicated in the Ramsar Information Sheet or the locally adopted Wetland Information Sheet, and called it the “Wetlands BioBlitz”. . In this way, a larger body of people can now contribute to characterising wetlands in the country.
Among the specific outputs of this Wetland Bioblitz include Rapid Assessment on Wetland Ecosystems Services (RAWES), data on water quality, hydrology, fauna/avifauna, fauna, and flora. The context of the Wetland Bioblitz is to gather various stakeholders and sectors in the community, to work together in an informal and fun way to create a profile of the variety of living and non-living attributes of the ecosystem in a wetland area. It provides an opportunity for participants to learn together and share their expertise and enthusiasm for nature, particularly wetlands. This is a great and fun way of breaking down barriers to engagement with science and raising awareness on the role of biological and physico-chemical recording in wetland ecosystems. It also gives the local community an opportunity to contribute to a genuine scientific survey.
The Wetlands BioBlitz is being spearheaded by the Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands, Inc. It was developed and tested as part of SCPW’s flagship program “Active, Clean and Bountiful Rivers: The Wetlands BioBlitz” with support from the Nagao Wetland Fund and the Ramsar Secretariat.