Quirino Protected Landscape (QPL) covers 175,943 hectares or 67% of the total land area of Quirino province. It is home to a wide array of endemic and threatened flora and fauna. The area is the headwater of the Cagayan Valley River Basin, which supports major irrigation systems in the entire Cagayan Valley Region.
With agriculture as the region’s economic base, the ecological services provided by QPL are important in sustaining the productivity of Cagayan Valley’s lowland areas. The services generated from this area will contribute significantly to the poverty alleviation program of the government of Cagayan Valley Region, which is considered as one of the country’s “rice bowls.”
The main causes of habitat loss and its associated biodiversity within the QPL are slash-and-burn farming (kaingin) brought about by the area’s growing population (including influx of migrants) and timber poaching within the remaining secondary and primary forests. Imminent threats include the pending mining applications, logging operations in the adjacent province (Aurora) and further road development that cross forested areas of the province.
These threats are driven by several interrelated factors such as failure of designating high priority areas for protection; inadequate alternative livelihood opportunities for poor communities; poor enforcement of existing environmental laws, and inadequate understanding and appreciation on the benefits of well-balanced ecosystems.