Joselito Blanco, community environment and natural resources officer of the DENR in southern Nueva Ecija, said the forest has been identified as an important watershed traversed by the 58.3-kilometer Coronel River that eventually flows into the Pampanga river system that drains into the Manila Bay.
He said that Mingan mountain provides defense to the virgin forest. “This mountain is so high and its slopes steep to there is no equipment that can be brought in the area”, he said.
He added, however, that one area in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija provided an access to the forest, so a government checkpoint was established at the site.
Last year, DENR personnel conducted a “watershed characterization” to find out the flora and fauna in the area and identify any possible problems here,” Blanco said.
“The forest was so thick and vast that the personnel has to use pre-set global positioning system (GPS) so as to find their way back. The forest was so pristine that they actually drank from the dew on the leaves of plants there,” Blanco noted.
Blanco also said the study revealed that the forest was home to various flora and fauna, including the Philippine eagle. The study was an offshoot of efforts of the DENR to comply with the order of the Supreme Court to clean the Manila Bay.
“Our program in the mountain ranges around Mingan mountain also include intensive reforestation, upland development, and community-based forest management programs.