Monday, June 7, 2010


I just found out last week that another mother tree, particularly the only mature Talisai-gubat (Terminalia foetidissima) tree that I am aware of has been cut down. The tree which I usually visit on a regular basis is situated inside a private property where lush undergrowth of wild plants meet with lansones and rambutan trees/seedlings for a converted fruit orchard. Other trees of mature status within the area have also been logged previously to make way for the said fruit trees. Another mother tree is lost!

I have observed that owners/tenants of private lands within this area of Laguna annually clear their land on the onset of the rainy season to make way for their orchards, vegetable crops, timber needs or infrastructure. Whichever purpose it is, native forest trees, the undergrowth plants, vines and epiphytes are all wiped away and cleared, leaving the soil exposed to the elements of wind, sun and rain, thus disrupting the natural ecosystem of the said area. Moisture is lost from intense heat during summer months. Soil erosion will be the lands demise during the rainy season. It seems that destruction and degradation of our lands is a never ending story.

If you ask me, forest trees and commercial crops can co-exist together. Of course light requirements will be an issue, but pruning will be a much better alternative solution than killing hundred year old trees. The trees help protect the land from the harsh elements of the environment. They will act as wind breaker, source of a myriad of uses such as food and medicinal needs and especially our oxygen needs. They help filter the pollution from water and the very air we breathe. They were here before we were born. Doesn't it count for something?


Cel said...

This is really bad. So sad.

Rico said...

Hi Cel! My sentiments exactly! It's happening all over my area and most likely the whole country as I have seen it in most places during my out-of-town trips. People seem unaware of the problems we are facing globally. That's why I told a friend the other day that in order to spare and protect some of our native flora, conservationists from every area or town if possible should try to plant trees that are endemic and indigenous to their geographical location. By doing this, sanctuaries would be established and that there would be a source for trees gene bank in the future. Our forests are facing a blight future......I cannot do this alone in collecting and planting our native trees because there are thousands of species catalogued and hundreds or thousands still undiscovered. My family just have a parcel of land in Laguna area and not all native trees will survive in the singular type of forest that our land is classified (molave). What will happen with the other forest types such as mangrove, coastal, molave forest of other unique areas, dipterocarp forest like Subic, pine forest in Baguio and the mossy forest if these are not protected?

I learned my lesson last summer when many of the new seedlings that I have planted died. Of course some were spared by El Nino. I just hope that others will learn from my mistakes and be guided by my experiences, which I am trying to impart through this blog.

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