Article Contributed with thanks to Conduent Business Services Philippines, Inc.:
11 November 2020, Siniiloan, Laguna, Sierra Madre Mountain Range. One of the silver linings of the Enhanced Community Quarantine in the Philippines is the overwhelming interest of the general public in growing plants at home. This then has inspired the Conduent Manila Finance Shared Services (MFSS) Employee Engagement Team to launch an eco-awareness project dubbed “Plant Photo Challenge for a Cause” last October 2020.
The project has showcased the green thumb and great works of Conduent Plantitos and Plantitas of the MFSS organization and at the same time contribute to the environment by partnering with an environmental group to plant trees in the Sierra Madre Mountain Range – the longest mountain range in the Philippines serving as a natural shield of Luzon inhabitants against typhoons coming from the Pacific Ocean.
At the end of the challenge, MFSS was able to reach a total of 100 submitted photos varying from indoor to outdoor plants as well as flowering to fruit-bearing plant species. This combined effort from the MFSS organization has led to a donation of 250 trees to be planted by the Forest Guards of Fostering Education & Environment for Development, Inc. (FEED) – a non-governmental organization that supports sustainable environment and education to inclusively grow, preserve and protect Philippine biodiversity.
This initiative was led by Jeena Lyn Postanes (Senior Transformation Analyst – Employee Engagement), Dangeline Darryl Forteza (MFSS Employee Engagement Champion), and co-led by Dangeline Duterte-Siman (Co-Chair of Conduent Philippines’ Women’s Impact Network) as part of the MFSS Employee Engagement programs for 2020.
*Samples of submitted photos can be seen below.
Plant Photo Challenge for a Cause (Click to see Participants’ Posts – larger format)
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Conduent’s differentiated services and solutions improve experiences for millions of people every day, including two-thirds of all insured patients in the U.S., 11 million employees who use its HR Services, and nearly nine million people who travel through toll systems daily. Conduent’s solutions deliver exceptional outcomes for its clients including $16 billion in medical bill savings, up to 40% efficiency increase in HR operations, and up to 40% improvement in processing costs, while driving higher end-user satisfaction.
Thank you to our Forest Guardians!
The reforestation support is an immediate and lasting incentive to the following Bantay Gubat who manage multiple nurseries, site preparations, plantings, species collection and propagation, GPS capture, monitoring and maintenance. They are the only reason FEED can continue to plant throughout the year, regardless of weather conditions or exterior threats, we owe big heartfelt thanks to those who protect our biodiversity, sustainability and ecosystem for everyone’s benefit:
|1||Reynaldo E. Lorida||6||Larry G. Rizaldo|
|2||Renato Q. Dagumboy||7||Bryan C. Bacasen|
|3||Teotimo B. Argete||8||Randy c. Velina|
|4||Anselmo M. Ella||9||Maria C. Salipot|
|5||Leody A. Avenido||10||Shirley B. Matin-ao|
“Tropical forests have a valuable role in relation to climate change, being a source and sink of carbon…Carbon density ranges widely from less than 5 t/ha to more than 200 t/ha in the following order: old growth forests > secondary forest > mossy forest > mangrove forest > pine forest > tree plantation > agroforestry farm > brushlands > grasslands. Carbon sequestration ranges from less than 1 t/ha/yr in natural forests to more than 15 t/ha/yr in some tree plantations. Land-use change and forestry make an important contribution in the national emissions and sinks. It is estimated that Philippine forest lands are a net sink of greenhouse gasses (GHG) absorbing 107 Mt CO2 equivalent in 1998, about equal to the total Philippine GHG emissions.” (Source: Lasco, R.D. & Pulhin. F.B. (2013). Philippine Forest Ecosystems and Climate Change: Carbon stocks, Rate of Sequestration and the Kyoto Protocol, Annals of Tropical Research 25(2): 37-51)
The average number of trees per hectare (in agroforestry and/or industrial plantations) ranges from under 500 to over 2,000 depending on species and site. In this instance, with spacing of 1 square meter between each Philippine indigenous tree, according to Forester Rey Lorida, field supervisor of the Laguna Quezon Land Grant, this tropical tree plantation can sequester an average of 10 tons of carbon per hectare per year.
May the Forest Be With You Conduent Business Services Philippines, Inc.!
Congratulations to all those who enabled this much-needed community-based support. As CSR Patrons of Education and the Environment, and on behalf of our forest guardians – especially during this challenging Covid-19 pandemic, a critical moment in our history that compounds the seemingly insurmountable hurdles the world faces with climate change – we thank you and hope that your support inspires others to continue remembering our environment and the protection of our critical natural ecosystems!
Your CSR contribution provides much needed livelihood our forest communities need to ensure full survival of species planted, also enabling them to expand their own fruit and vegetable gardens for their own sustenance, as part of the master plan development of our protected forest.
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. Some examples include:
GPS Coordinates for Conduent’s planting are being validated as of 27 Dec 2020, will be posted by 30 Dec 2020.
About the Sierra Madre Mountain Range – Longest in the Philippines
The Sierra Madre a 540 km (340 mi) is the longest mountain range in the Philippines. Through the north–south direction from Santa Ana in the province of Cagayan to the north and Quezon province 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 Sierra Madres is home to native Philippine dipterocarp trees of the Hopea and Shorea family, orchids such as Dendrobium aclinia, the leguminous tree, Milletia longipes and a member of the citrus family, Swinglea glutinosa.
The forests are home to endemic lizard species such as the monitor lizard – Varanus bitatawa (common name: Butikaw), which the Aeta and Ilongot indigenous peoples use as a food source. The monitor lizard is one of the three frugivorous lizards in the Varanidae family along with V. olivaceus and V. mabitang. All of the three frugivorous lizards are found only in the Philippines.
Endemic mammals in Sierra Madre are the Sierra Madre shrew mouse and Sierra Madre forest mouse.
Non-Endemic Flora Species
Narra, the national tree of the Philippines, Almaciga, and Kamagong can be found in the Sierra Madre range.
It is important to note that lower portions of the Sierra Madre mountains still experience frequent and sporadic habitat damage and other forest-losses (flora and fauna) due to anthropogenic activities, such as logging and charcoal-making, often funded by outside “investors”.
Some outside informal settlers living at the lower portions of the slopes generally are supported by work in these logging and charcoal-making activities without permits. Some portions of the forest cover are already secondary growth forests, i.e. forests or woodland areas which have re-grown after a timber harvest, until a long enough period has passed so that the effects of the disturbance are no longer evident; whereas primary forests refers to untouched, pristine forest that exists in their original condition. It is estimated that forest degradation of at least 1,400 hectares per year is caused by illegal tree-cutting, slash and burn farming, fuel-wood collection, illegal hunting, and residential expansion – which if tackled sustainably and with the community can be averted, minimized and even optimized towards healthy and productive, sustainable social forestry practices. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sierra_Madre_(Philippines))
Long term survival is as critical as tree-planting is to sustainable reforestation programs, which is why all FEED plantings aim to achieve and have so far sustained survival rates of at least 85 percent of all species planted, making sure they thrive for future generations too.
The Laguna-Quezon Land Grant covers a 6,765-hectare property acquired by the the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) – FEED’s first and longest Living Legacy partner – by virtue of Republic Act 3608 of 1930, forming the larger part adjacent to the Laguna Land Grant in Paete, Laguna. Reforestation and biodiversity conservation remain the core focus of both land grants 90 years after its establishment, since majority of the remaining forest cover of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range is home to a last bastion for many species that have become endangered in other parts of the country.
Social forestry (SF) can be a part of a sustainable forest management (SFM) strategy to achieve environmental, economic and social objectives. “SF and SFM can be compatible because both recognize the importance of community participation in achieving sustainable use of forest resources. However, there is a gap in translating the SF concept to activities within the SFM approach and a lack of continuity. To strengthen the role of local communities in SFM through SF, there is a need for a platform enabling open discussion among relevant stakeholders, increasing awareness about the benefits of SF and securing adequate funding to conduct SF activities.” (Source: https://www.cifor.org/knowledge/publication/7647)
These are the holistic approaches FEED and partners adopt as a science-based, proven method towards enhancing community participation in all planting programs, whether from ridge to reef, up to and including nursery and forest establishment, protection, maintenance, (GPS) monitoring and reporting to ensure at least 85% survival of all species planted, as well as community empowerment in the conservation of our natural resources.
NATURE IS SPEAKING (Narrated by Julia Roberts)
What can I do to stop climate change?
“As the world warms, extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and intense, sea levels are rising, prolonged droughts are putting pressure on food crops, and many animal and plant species are being driven to extinction. It’s hard to imagine what we as individuals can do to resolve a problem of this scale and severity.
The good news: We are not alone. People, communities, cities, businesses, schools, faith groups and other organizations are taking action. We’re fighting like our lives depend on it — because they do.
In a world of more than seven billion people, each of us is a drop in the bucket. But with enough drops, we can fill any bucket.” – David Suzuki
Check out some of the ways you can take more climate change action.
For example, Climate Action groups are the local solution to a global crisis. Right now people just like you are coming together to develop practical, local solutions and make their towns and cities more climate-friendly. Are you ready to join them? Find out what’s happening near you.
In 2015, the Philippine government submitted to the United Nations the country’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The country committed to reduce its carbon emissions by 70 percent by 2030. The carbon dioxide reductions will come from the sectors of energy, transport, waste, forestry and industry. Join us! Help us reverse the Earth’s “hothouse climate” tipping point.
Join Climate Change Action Programs with FEED
FEED’s Climate Change Action Programs are community-based planting interventions ranging from:
- Source: upland agroforestry sites (protected rainforests managed by Bantay Gubat/Forest Guardians/AFP Jungle Warriors), to
- Mid-land food forests (for and by public schools and remote areas far from market-access roads); and
- Sea: Lowland mangrove and coral plantings (in coastal areas with trained Bantay Dagat/Fisheries Cooperatives).
These Ridge to Reef programs endorse the management of waters from source to sea; “healthy and well-managed river basins and coastal areas where people and nature thrive, is the vision behind the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) initiative”.
“Healthy ecosystems are ecological life-support systems. Lands and waters that function to provide goods and services that are vital to human health and livelihood are natural assets that are increasingly referred to as ecosystem services. These services can include clear air, high quality water, carbon sequestration benefits, and habitats that support a range of economically and ecologically valuable resources.” (Source: US Land Trust Alliance)
© Fostering Education & Environment for Development, Inc.