THE Philippines’ natural forests are in a rapid state of decline. In fact, the country’s original forest cover is now down to 24 percent (DENR, 2010). Therefore, it is highly critical that Filipinos, as a nation act, and act fast.
Haribon Foundation kicked off this year’s tree planting season on June 20 in support of Rainforestation Organizations and Advocates (ROAD) to 2020—the only environmental conservation movement committed to restore 1 million hectares of Philippine rainforests using native tree species by year 2020.
Through this initiative, Haribon hopes to sustain provision of ecological goods and indispensible services such as main source of water, clean air, steady supply of food and minimize flashfloods and landslides through an informed and engaged public towards the plight of Philippine ecosystems.
Participants of the tree planting event came from various corporations, local government units, community partners, Haribon members, and volunteers who planted around 2,700 native tree and fruit bearing seedlings that covered 2.2 hectares in Mt. San Cristobal-Protected Landscape at Barangay Tala in Rizal, Laguna.
Mayor Antonino Aurelio of Rizal and his team were also present to welcome and help with the facilitation of the said activity. According to the local chief, Mt. San Cristobal, christened as the Devil’s Mountain because it’s covered in perennial cloud overcast, is also considered as “the last bastion of virgin forest in the country.”
There was a time when the municipality reached out to investors to source out potable water but later discovered that the mountain had an abundant untapped water resource. However, it couldn’t sufficiently supply water due to illegal activities that led to denudation of its forest.
Mt. San Cristobal covers four municipalities of Rizal, San Pablo, Dolores, Quezon and Nagcarlan. The areas have plenty of lakes, falls and other natural water resources other than the Barangay Tala, which directly benefits from the fresh spring water brought by Mt. San Cristobal. Its soil is laden with vegetables and root crops that locals harvest for their own consumption or sell in the market. There are also local fruits such as lukban, santol, guava, guyabano, and mango.
The partnership between Hari¬bon and the municipality of Rizal is growing stronger as both want to reach their goal and help the ecological balance of the area and its surrounding communities. Both parties signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on June 10, 2014 covering 100 hectares of Mt. San Cristobal as a forest restoration site in response to the ROAD to 2020 movement.
The tree planting activity was made possible through donations received from various companies and individuals.
For a P300-worth of donation, one can choose to Adopt-A-Seedling (AAS) and have the seedling planted in honor of somebody or to celebrate a momentous occasion, as well as mark this special occasion with an Animalaya card or a digital E-card. To make a bigger impact donors can Adopt-A-Forest (AAF) as well. The adoption programs ensure that the seedlings adopted will grow through nurturing and monitoring of the restoration site for the next three years.
Through Haribon Foundation’s tree planting efforts, it’s bringing a new lease of life to our forests and it will guarantee sustained ecological and economical benefits as well as help prevent or minimize the effects of natural disasters that plague our country.
For more information on Haribon Foundation’s Adopt-A-Seed¬ling and Nurture-A-Seedling programs, visit www.haribon.org.ph.