It’s rainy season once more. Who would’ve thought that weather like this can also mean an outdoor activity that helps our country’s remaining forests?
Drizzly atmosphere it may be, but for foresters, this condition is favorable for tree planting. Rain provides good opportunity for seedlings to flourish. Newly planted seedlings fare best when exposed to moderate temperature and rainfall, for they require time to root and adapt before the onset of intense heat and dryness of summer.
To welcome the rainy days, Haribon Foundation together with 74 participants composed of the organization’s members, volunteers, and employees from various private corporations such as DHL Global Forwarding, Vogue Concepts Inc., and American Wire & Cable Co., Inc. hiked Mt. San Cristobal-Banahaw Protected Landscape, Laguna to plant 1,500 native tree seedlings. A combination of native timber and fruit-bearing trees now cover at least one hectare of the said mountain.
The seedlings will be nurtured and maintained by Haribon’s partner People’s Organization (PO) for three years to ensure their highest survival rate. In this way, not only will the native trees thrive in the later years, the community also benefits by having a sustainable income. Donation per each native tree seedling of P300 includes the cost of the community’s task in looking after them.
“Sumali kami para makatulong sa environment. Gusto namin na ma-try na mag-contribute lalo na sa mga communities na ganito. May exercise, and at the same time, may contribution sa environment.” (We joined this activity to help the environment. We want to try to contribute especially to communities like these. We got to exercise, and at the same time, we got to contribute to the environment,” Haribon’s volunteers’ Shiela and Lora shared.
Participants expressed fulfillment when they accomplished this activity as they realized the importance of restoring the country’s remaining forests though native trees. Haribon advocates their propagation because they are already acclimatized to the country’s environmental factors; they can better withstand our climate, and are widely recognized by our wildlife. This means native trees provide food, shelter, water, and clean air for humans and to animals and insects as well.
The country’s forest cover is in rapid decline. We need at least 54 percent forest cover to provide ecological services that our ever-growing population’s needs for clean air and water. As of the latest Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) data, our country currently has 23.89 percent estimated forest cover, which means we have a long way to go to recover our denuded forests. If humans continue to degrade and implement ineffective practices in tree planting, our forests will suffer and so will we.
Haribon’s Road to 2020 (Rainforestation Organizations and Advocates) or RT2020 is an environmental movement to restore Philippine rainforests using native tree species through a network of informed and engaged people in local government units, academic institutions, government agencies, non-government organizations, Pos, and individuals. Its aim is to bring back the original rainforest by planting tree species native to a particular forest.
Tree planting schedule is every last Saturday of the month from July through November 2016.
LAARNI JOCSON/HARIBON FOUNDATION