STA. FE, April 15 -- For three decades, Joey Mercades, 40, has been highly dependent on resources from the nearby peatland to support his growing family.

Just like the rest of his neighbors, his awareness on the importance of this distinctive wetland type is very limited.

With little education and no land to till just like his forefathers, Mercades spends most of his time catching fish and gathering whatever valuable plants from the peatland in San Isidro village here to feed his wife, Roisa, 27, and their five children.

He earns an average of PHP200 daily from catching pantak (freshwater catfish) and some wild plants from Leyte Sab-a Basin Peatland (LSBP), the country's second-largest peatland next to Agusan Marsh.

A portion of this ...