16-17 March 2020, Siniloan, Laguna – Sierra Madre Mountain Range. Around mid-December 2019, weeks before the Taal Volcano eruption (January 12, 2020), representatives from the DXC Technology* contacted FEED to request more details about its Ridge to Reef approach in reforestation and community development, leading to an exploration of either upland or coastal/mangrove planting event as part of the regular Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities of DXC Technology.
March 14th, 2020 was eventually decided as the date for their tree-planting to take place, starting with the sustainable reforestation of the over 9,000 hectares protected forest at the Laguna Quezon Land Grant (LQLG), in Siniloan, Laguna, managed by FEED’s Living Legacy partner, the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB).
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however, and the Enhanced Community Quarantines implemented across the Philippines, FEED and the 28 permanent forest guards and their families will forever be grateful that DXC Technology decided to forgo the personal experience of planting at this time, for the safety of all; and in solidarity, they decided to donate their budget to the planting of 750 native Philippine forest trees in the Sierra Madres – to be carried out by the community, on behalf of CSR Patron DXC Technology.
DXC Technology‘s Tree Planting Initiative was led by project managers Jeric Bonostro and Mark Nico Lacuesta; while the Inspire PH Environment initiative was led by Raechell Anne Rivera and Inspire’s governance lead was driven by Jocelyn Lejos. The Manager Sponsor for the whole event was Marj Encarnacion.
FEED and partners thank all of you for your generous and kind contribution towards the protection of our forest lands and communities! May the FOREST & her BLESSINGS be with you all, always!
Field Supervisor and Forester Reynaldo E. Lorida himself has been working in these forests for over 22 years, mentioned: “These are critical times for all of us, including this ecosystem and all its creatures who inhabit and rely on the Sierra Madres for sustenance. It is not just us humans who need the forest for freshwater, it is our keystone birds, bats, butterflies and bees, amongst other animals, that now have the full freedom to exercise their essential life giving roles in ensuring the natural sustainability of these forest resources. Further, the income our trained communities receive from planting and protecting our forests is a big incentive encouraging our joint efforts to thrive. Our agro-forestry approach also benefits neigboring barangays who have heard that we mimic the designs of the forest, as we only work only with indigenous Philippine forest, fruit and flowering trees from within these 9,000 hectares. A big thank you to DXC Technology and all involved supporting continuity in our efforts.”
Thank you DXC Technology Eco-Warriors!
Community & Scholarship Benefits
All of FEED’s plantings mandate a community benefit element, particularly geared towards local “Bantay Gubat” (Forest/Jungle Guards), “Bantay Dagat” (Sea Guards) or local fisherfolk/farmers’ cooperatives to ensure collaboration takes place, knowledge exchange and livelihood alternatives are provided to critical areas affected by climate change.
Additionally, FEED and technical partners bring support – as needed – from academic, research, scientific, private or government and other expert agencies, to fill any knowledge or skills gaps needed in the successful implementation of FEED’s Ridge to Reef Climate Change Action Programs. Technical support ranges from seedling identification, collection, care and propagation; to nursery establishment and maintenance; to site preparation, clearing, planting and monitoring; up to and including GPS and growth reporting for remote monitoring capabilities and evaluations carried out by FEED or its partners and donors.
Finally, the DXC Technology contribution also included a partial donation to a deserving scholar pursuing studies in the fields or agriculture, environment, forestry or sustainability related studies in the Philippines.
To know more about FEED scholars, visit: https://feed.org.ph/directory-of-environmental-education-institutions-in-the-philippines/scholarships/feed-scholars/
4 Native Forest Species Planted
Out of the total 750 trees planted, 4 different species were selected as prime and ready for out-planting, having survived the nurseries for an average of 12 months:
- 50 Balobo (Diplodiscus paniculatus) – Endemic forest tree species in the Philippines, one of the lesser-used timber species but with various potential uses. Based on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species Version 2017-2, the species is considered Vulnerable (assessed
1998). The species habitat loss through logging and shifting cultivation has caused considerable decline of the species population.
- 150 Banilad (Sterculia philippinenesis) – Large, wide-spreading tree reaching
heights of 30 meters and 65 centimeters in diameter. Its bark is brown and smooth while the inner bark is light brown. Can be found in the Luzon and the Visayas regions in the low forested belt up to the 700-meter altitude. Banilad is used for ropes braided from its bast fiber. Wood can also be used for light construction.
- 50 White Lauan (Shorea contorta) – Evergreen tree that can grow up to 50 meters
tall. The tree is commonly harvested from the wild for its wood, which is traded internationally. The plant is classified as ‘Critically Endangered’ in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (2013). Source of tree images and descriptions: tropical.theferns.info
*GPS Coordinates – DXC Technology Forest in the Sierra Madres
- Corner 1: 14° 28’39.69″N and 121° 31’21.12″E
- Corner 2: 14° 28’39.72″N and 121° 31’31.21″E
- Corner 3: 14° 28’39.17″N and 121° 31’21.61″E
- Corner 4: 14° 28’39.24″N and 121° 31’21.05″E
Use any GPS (Global Positioning System) software / applications to input the latitude and longitude coordinates to be able to remotely see the location of your trees planted.
You might also use available free mobile phone based applications, or examples of web-based apps include:
*About DXC Technology
DXC Technology helps our customers across the entire enterprise technology stack with differentiated industry solutions. We modernize IT, optimize data architectures, and make everything secure, scalable and orchestrated across public, private and hybrid clouds.
DXC’s Enterprise Technology Stack
The enterprise technology stack includes ITO; Cloud and Security Services; Applications and Industry IP; Data, Analytics and Engineering Services; and Advisory.
We combine years of experience running mission-critical systems with the latest digital innovations to deliver better business outcomes and new levels of performance, competitiveness and experiences for our customers and their stakeholders.
DXC invests in three key drivers of growth: People, Customers and Operational Execution.
The company’s global scale, talent and innovation platforms serve 6,000 private and public-sector customers in 70 countries.
DXC’s extensive partner network helps drive collaboration and leverage technology independence. The company has established more than 200 industry-leading global Partner Network relationships, including 15 strategic partners: Amazon Web Services, AT&T, Dell Technologies, Google Cloud, HCL, HP, HPE, IBM, Micro Focus, Microsoft, Oracle, PwC, SAP, ServiceNow and VMware.
DXC is a recognized leader in corporate responsibility, and ranked among the world’s best corporate citizens. DXC is a Fortune 500 company and represented in the S&P 500 Index.
Learn more about DXC
About the Status of Philippine Forests
The forest area of the Philippines is estimated to have declined from 12 million hectares in 1960 to a current level of about 5.7 million hectares (which includes less than 1 million hectares of virgin forest largely confined to very steep and inaccessible areas). It is difficult to obtain accurate land use data as all areas over 18 degrees of slope are classified as forest regardless of whether any tree cover is present. The official figure of forest area is about 33% of the land area. As indicated above, this is not supported by other data.
Harvests have reduced from 6.4 million m3 in 1980 to 0.8 million m3 in 1995. The reduction has been the result of a number of factors including a Government ban on the export of logs in 1986, a ban on the export of timber in 1989, and a Forestry Master Plan introduced in 1991 banning the harvest of virgin forests. This level of harvest looks set to continue in the foreseeable future. However this harvest level is inadequate to support domestic demand and the country has moved from being at least self sufficient to being a net importer of logs and lumber.
Most remaining virgin forests have been given protected status, but many of these areas are in critical condition and remain threatened due to inadequate protection resulting from lack of funds and lack of political will.
Apparent roundwood consumption has fallen dramatically in the past decade giving credence to the possibility of the country’s forests being close to economic extinction.
In spite of these bans the rate of deforestation remained at about 150,000 hectares in the 1980s. Deforestation is caused by shifting cultivation, landuse conversion, forest fires, illegal logging and 40 million m3 of fuelwood harvested each year. Fuelwood demand continues to be strong, further exacerbating the critical position the forests are in. Fuelwood harvesting is believed to be seriously impacting on the remaining commercial forests.
In spite of this rather gloomy picture there are also some success stories. A total of 1.4 million hectares of plantation forest has been established with the Master Plan aiming to have additional plantations of about 3 million hectares by 2015, although this goal may be difficult to achieve….
While considerable progress has been, made this must be seen in context. The Philippines has moved from being a major exporter of wood in both raw and processed form to a country facing a significant shortage of supply.
The recent changes in forest policy conform to the increasing recognition that government decree and bureaucracy cannot achieve sustainable forest management, and it is only through and by the people who are affected that a long term solution can be found. The “people-oriented” approach is expected to continue to be the focus of policy reform.
In particular, consideration should be given to addressing the following:
- The capture of forest rents and royalties
- there is need for further reform, with records to be made fully auditable. Without the ability to audit the result, there is little confidence in the outcome from any party, and the system is left open to the plague of corruption that has existed in the past.
- Greater education and enforcement of compliance in the area of forest conservation: simply prohibiting the harvest of forest products (wood or non-wood) does not cause the activity to cease. There needs to be greater education as to why these steps have been taken and greater enforcement to ensure they are obeyed. The education process in many cases will require exploration of alternative sources of supply or income for the people involved.
- Re-examination of government policies that encourage the destruction of forest resources for whatever reason: agricultural production is the main concern here 2 and reform should promote improved use of land rather than simply relying on being able to clear more land.
- Research to define the forest resources remaining and to show how best to manage them for the multiplicity of goods they are expected to provide: this research need includes such fundamental matters as forest ecology and management techniques, through to the need to understand the economic and sociological forces at work in the country. This complex web of dependency of rural communities on the forest needs to be understood and incorporated in policy initiatives.
- Policy reform needs to take the people with it rather than be thrust upon them. As such the initiatives already taken to develop community based forestry programmes are the blueprint for future developments.
The country is unlikely to be able to complete all these tasks in isolation. It is thus imperative that expert assistance is sought to complement the work of internal agencies. The issue of sustainable forest management is not one that the Philippines must face alone. It is indeed an issue of international importance. To find satisfactory solutions to the complex problems being faced requires a spirit of cooperation, assistance and collaboration.
About the Sierra Madre Mountains Range, Longest Range in the Philippines
The Sierra Madre is the longest mountain range in the Philippines. Running in the north-south direction from the province of Cagayan to the north and Quezon to the south, the mountains form the eastern backbone of Luzon Island, the largest island of the archipelago. It is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the east. The Pacific coast of Luzon along the Sierra Madre is less developed as the lofty and continuous mountains form a bold and almost inaccessible shore, exposed to the full force of the northeast monsoon and the waves of the Pacific Ocean. Some of communities east of the mountain range and along the coast are so remote they are only accessible by plane or boat.
The country’s largest protected area, the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park, is situated at the northern part of the range in the province of Isabela. The park is in the UNESCO tentative list for World Heritage List inscription. Environmentalists, scholars, and scientists have been urging the government to include the other parks within the Sierra Madre mountains for a UNESCO site that would encompass the entire Sierra Madre mountain range from Cagayan to Quezon province.
This and other mountain ranges serve as a typhoon barrier, attenuating incoming typhoons from the Pacific Ocean before reaching the central mainland. Source: Wikipedia
About the Laguna Quezon Land Grant
UPLB has three major land grants provided by the government of the Philippines: the Laguna-Quezon Land Grant, the La Carlota Land Grant, and the Laguna Land Grant.
The 5,719-hectare (14,130-acre) Laguna-Quezon Land Grant, acquired in February 1930, is located in the towns of Real, Quezon, and Siniloan, Laguna. It covers some portions of the Sierra Madre mountain range, and hosts the university’s Citronella and lemongrass plantations. The 705-hectare (1,740-acre) La Carlota Land Grant is situated in Negros Occidental, a province in the Western Visayas region. Acquired in May 1964, it houses the PCARRD-DOST La Granja Agricultural Research Center, which serves as a research center for various upland crops. The 3,336-hectare (8,240-acre) Laguna Land Grant, located in Paete, Laguna, is mostly undeveloped.
FEED runs a number of Students and Volunteers for the Environment (SAVE); Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – such as mangrove planting for coastal protection or ridge reforestation plantings; One Child, One Tree; Bio-Intensive Gardens (BIG) for nutrition in public elementary schools and other spaces; Climate Change Survival 101 and other LIVING LEGACY programs – customised environmental engagement activities for individuals and organisations interested in contributing to climate change adaptation efforts and greening critical areas such as watersheds, ridges, and reefs that all require rehabilitation.
Tree-Planting with FEED: Video
Check out the video journey by Clueless Commuter who planted with us last 24th of June 2017 to get a good idea of how FEED plantings go: https://youtu.be/KROn4rjVqBg
© Fostering Education & Environment for Development, Inc.