Forests are significant to mankind as well as to other living organisms for they provide beneficial materials and effects that the living need. These include the wood, raw materials that are usually converted to usable products such as furniture, wooden shelters, etc. In addition, these forests help prevent floods and soil erosion, increase underground water supply and humidity of air, provide an abode for the wildlife, and check air pollution (“Save Forests and Wildlife,” n. d, 2).
However, in the Pearl of the Orient- the Philippines- continuous degradation of the forests or what is known to be deforestation (Maycock, 2011, p. 398) is being performed, resulting to serious problems including the displacement of wildlife species, the occurrence of severe effects during or after a tropical storm (which is commonly experienced by Filipinos), and the increasing level of temperature in the country. In fact, Philippines ranks number three in the world’s fastest deforestation rate (Padilla, 2011) that has mainly been due to agricultural expansions and severe cases of illegal logging (“Philippine Deforestation,” n. , 5). Fortunately, there exists the natural or intentional restocking of depleted forests and woodlands, the inverse of the given process, which may primarily address the negative effects of deforestation in the country- Reforestation, as it is so called. One of the things that reforestation offers is not necessarily to restore but prevent the extinction of wildlife species as their habitats are continuously being destroyed. According to Toothman (n. , 5), the reforestation of the corridors of trees that lie between forest parcels could give the animals and other species a larger and safer habitat where they could mix with other populations, thereby boosting their genetic diversity and preventing their extinction. In fact, this particular method has already been done in the country. In the island of Mindanao, on the higher slopes of Mount Malindang, exists a high biodiversity. Through reforesting the trees around the old forest, the existing species have had a larger space to reproduce, conserving and attracting those that have been driven away to the new habitat (“Reforestation”, n. , 1). The same process has been performed in the Forest of Tabunan in Sitio Cantipla, Cebu City. Through reforesting the forest’s corridors, the Cebu Flowerpeckers, called “manuto” by the locals, together with 51 other bird species, have been found in the regenerated forests (Lato, 2012, 5). Surprisingly enough, this never-been-photographed bird specie- the Cebu Flowerpecker- was believed to be extinct until its discovery in 1992 in the Tabunan Forest Corridor, being one of the ten rarest birds and top fifty critically endangered species in the world (Lato, 2012, 6).
With the proper building of floodplains and water channeling systems, reforestation also helps prevent the severe effects that Filipinos encounter whenever a tropical storm comes (Sally, n. d, 3). Among the typhoons that have ravaged the country are “Reming” in Bicol and “Ondoy” in Metro Manila, which have both resulted to remarkably drastic floods (“Reforestation,” 2011, 1). In fact, in just one decade, the country has already experienced twenty-seven floods that have destroyed crops and infrastructures with deforestation being seen as the major cause (“Reforestation,” 2011, 2).
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Yearning for a way to address this problem, Tatit Quiblat, the spokesperson of the Philippine Eagle Foundation, has once said that instead of pouring billions for relief operations during disasters, the government, civil society, and private sectors should be vigilant in taking up preventive measures by reforestation of the country’s tropical and mangrove forests (Valermo, 2011, 7). Gladly, there have been projects that have performed such action. The Maynilad Water Services, Incorporated has started its program called “Plant for Life”, which aims to plant fifty thousand saplings in Ipo Dam Watershed (“50K Trees to Help Reforest,” 2012, 2). We not only help to protect the watershed area that supplies our raw water needs, we also provide a long term solution to the cycle of flooding during the rainy season”, claims Ricky Vargas, the president and CEO of the stated company (“50K Trees to Help Reforest,” 2012, 4). Another project is the reforestation of mangrove forests along the Aklan River in New Buswang, Aklan, resulting to the conversion of a flood-prone area to a place that is safe during the occurrence of typhoons (Tacio, 2012, 14). Lastly, one of the most well known effects of reforestation is the enhancement of the local climate.
Due to the degradation of forests, an increasing amount of carbon dioxide is released in the atmosphere as lesser plants take them up during photosynthesis, resulting to the rise of temperature (Maycock, 2012, p. 399). Through reforestation, however, thirty-eight tons of carbon dioxide per hectare could be captured and sequestered per year (“Reforestation”, 2007, 7). This leads to the production of oxygen, enhancement of the climate and temperature, and the reduction of the demands of burning large amounts of fossil fuels for cooling in the summer (“Reforestation”, 2007, 8).
The process of regenerating forests takes a plentiful amount of time before the roles of the degraded ones could be performed again. Once the planted saplings have grown to trees, however, it is undeniable that the restored forests are significantly beneficial to the environment, to mankind, and to other living organisms. With this certain process, not only do the destructive effects of deforestation may be addressed but also the concerns that could emerge if these are left ignored such as threatening climate conditions, extremely high levels of floods, total extinction of species, and disastrous imbalance in the ecosystem.
Indeed, this may just be one of the ways to address the certain issue but surely, this would benefit not only the present but the future generations as well.
- Lato, Cris Evert. 2012. “Lessons in Rare Wildlife while Reforesting Cebu”. Retrieved from http://newsinfo. inquirer. net/228565/lessons-in-rare-wildlife-while-reforesting-cebu
- Maycock, Paul. 2011. World Book F. 7. Scott Fenzer Company. p. 398 * Maycock, Paul. 2011. World Book F. 7. Scott Fenzer Company. . 399
- N. A. N. D. “Save Forests and Wildlife”. Retrieved from http://nowsave. blogspot. com/2009/10/save-forests-and-wildlife. html
- N. A. N. D. “Reforestation”. Retrieved from http://www. treesforall. info/projects/reforestation-philippines. html
- N. A. N. D. “Philippine Deforestation”. Retrieved from http://www1. american. edu/TED/PHILWOOD. HTM
- N. A. 2007. “Reforestation”. Retrived from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Reforestation
on Empowering Reforestation in the Philippines
Realizing the problem in the Philippines could be solved by reforestation, Loreca emailed Dr. Anthony S. Davis, Tom Alberg and Judi Beck Chair in Natural Resources in the University of Idaho’s Department of Forest, Rangeland, and Fire Sciences. The U of I operates a 100-year-old nursery specializing in growing hardy tree seedlings.
24.0% —or about 7,162,000 hectares—of Philippines is forested. Of this, 11.6% —or roughly 829,000 hectares—is classified as primary forest, the most biodiverse form of forest.
To counteract erosion and preserve the watershed as well as promote reforestation, the Philippine government issued a mandate: farmers must find alternatives that restore the watershed or lose their land.
In the mountainous Benguet province of the Philippines, farmers grow up to three crops of vegetables a year. Their mountain vegetable farms exist at the expense of original forest cover, causing tremendous erosion difficulties.
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