AN environmental group wants Davao City to absorb as employees farmers who volunteer as forest rangers and pay them with a monthly salary instead of just an honorarium.

Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS) said guarding forests is an important job that few people are willing to do, the group said. So-called “Bantay Bukid” volunteers are a critical human resource needed to protect the city’s natural resources, it added.

The P2,500 allowance that volunteers get monthly is not enough, IDIS Executive Director Chinkee P. Golle said in an interview.

Seventy-one volunteers conducted biodiversity monitoring in the first quarter, resulting in an increased number of species recorded from a year earlier.

Forest rangers planted more than 800 seedlings in the riverbanks and monitored previously planted areas to replace seedling mortality due to El Niño. They also collected as many as 110 kilos of garbage from the rivers, according to the environmental group. — Maya M. Padillo