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Timber poaching destroying Mindanao’s largest lake

By Ben Serrano
Tuesday, September 16, 2008 [ philstar.com ]

MAINIT, Surigao del Norte – Continued timber poaching or log smuggling, unabated cutting of trees and kaingin within watershed areas of Lake Mainit is slowly deteriorating conditions of Mindanao’s second biggest lake and the country’s fourth largest.

Mindanao’s largest lake is Lake Lanao which is the source of hydroelectric power plants, Agus I to IV, situated in Lanao del Norte and Iligan City, the source of electricity in almost all parts of Mindanao. Lake Lanao or Ranaw ranks second to Laguna Lake, the country’s biggest lake. Taal lake is the country’s third largest.

The lake which has a total area of 17,060 hectares and total lakeshore length of 62.10 kms. is situated between the provinces of Agusan del Norte and Surigao del Norte whose total area is divided almost equally between the two provinces.

There are eight municipalities surrounding or located near the proximity of the lake. These are towns of Jabonga, Kitcharao, Santiago and Tubay in Agusan del Norte and Mainit, Alegria, Tubod and Sison, in Surigao del Norte with 31 lakeshore barangays surrounding the historic Lake Mainit.

Results of the series of symposia, meetings, studies and consultations for the Lake Mainit convergence comprehensive development plan showed that aside from kaingin and log poaching, rising settlement along the lakeshore deteriorates further condition of the lake.

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