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Plant a Tree for Life

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The Global issues of global warming and climate change was bannered in most if not all magazines around the globe. It is also commonly discussed in many social networking sites and or websites. Its adverse effect was shocking to mankind and its environment. Carbon dioxide was tagged as the culprit but it was once said as the blanket of the earth for all species to survive. It makes and regulates the earth temperature just conducive for living in past centuries of course. However, the level of carbon dioxide and other green house gasses in the atmosphere reached a high level that is very alarming and would be detrimental to the earth´s future.

Environmental Scientists believed that industrialization was the main contributor to the problem. The increasing population of the world needs more utilization of resources that affects hydrologic and carbon cycle. Forest around the world is declining due to massive land use conversions. Forest that should be protected because of being a carbon dioxide converter and water provider was continuously neglected to provide the demand of space and resources for the growing human population.

Floods, landslides, strong typhoons, massive soil erosion, changes in hydrologic cycle (El niño and La niña) and species extinction were just a few effects of forest denudation and eventually climate change and global warming. Data shows that for the past 100 years we had lost 80 percent of our forest cover (ESSC 1999). The Forest Management Bureau of the DENR estimates that our current forest cover is roughly 16 percent of the total land area, far below to the ideal forest cover of at least 54 percent to be ecologically sound and sustainable and the worst is it is steadily shrinking. The Bureau adds that rate of deforestation is at 2 percent per annum or a relatively fast deforestation rate of 550,000 has. Per year or 63 hectares of forest are cleared every hour. Even if we use the DENR figure of 24 percent forest cover, it is still way far from ideal.

Every year our country is struggling to the different calamities believed to be the effect of deforestation. Damaged to crops and properties amounting to billions of pesos was recorded for the past and current decade and worst, thousands of lives was wasted. Environmental Scientists ranked the Philippines to be the 9th most vulnrable to the impact of climate change…and we had felt it recently in southern Philippines. Kovach, R. L. of Earth´s Fury once stated that of all the nations in the world, the Philippines has experienced the most natural hazards in the 20th century. India a distant 2nd and the USA in third position.

With all these consequences of deforestation, the government employs steps in response to the issue. Reforestation projects was launched for the last 3 decades and the newest of them was defined in Executive Order 26 establishing the National Greening Program to reduce poverty, provide food security and mitigate climate change by planting 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares over a period of six years. For 2011, the DENR, together with other government agencies, the local government units, the private sector, civil society and other partners were able to plant 69 million seedlings in more than 118,000 hectares nationwide.

EO 23 was made to impose moratorium in the cutting of trees in natural and residual forests. It also mandated the creation of an anti-illegal logging task force with the DENR secretary as head, and the chiefs of the Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of National Defense, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines as members.

With the need of due attention to the problem and with the sincerity of the government to arrest the situation, It is therefore to oblige everyone to join hand and hand with the government in aiming to bring back our source of clean air, clean water, food and raw materials, the FOREST.

LET´S ALL PLANT TREES… FOR LIFE!

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