Bluestone’s Insurances Expand the Sierra Madre Forest

13 March 2021, Laguna Quezon Land Grant, Siniloan, Laguna. The second tree-planting activity carried out by Bluestone employees in the Philippines continues their annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program commitment, following their launch in February with the planting of 315 trees.

Assisted by some of the 28 permanent forest guardians, trained community members based in and around Barangay Magsaysay, in Siniloan, Laguna – at the  over 9,000 hectare protected forest reserve managed byFEED’s longest Living Legacy partner, the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB).

A total of 138 seedlings were successfully planted, comprising 4 different native tree species  endemic to the Sierra Madre mountains, the longest mountain range in the Philippines, and a major source of freshwater for Luzon.

One of Bluestone staff said: “The tree planting event were also blessed with afternoon (post-planting) rains – with mother nature’s power and capability humbling everyone’s experience. We were very blessed and with our land and soil here in the Philippines. We can grow almost everything and anything we just need more awareness and care towards our environment.  It was super stormy last week, so we are lucky to be warm and comfortable in our houses while Bluestone employees are planting in the cold stormy weather in Sierra Madre. The trees planted will serves as the wind buffer for the storm in the future and it will also help the soil to absorb water and decrease soil erosion.”

It has been a year since the borders are closed and locked downs imposed due to Covid-19. Bluestone employees took this chance to be out of their homes and daily routines to breath  fresh air in the Sierra Madres with BTW ZERO cases of Covid. Aside from tree planting and helping the Environment  the Bluestone employees were also rewarded with a breath taking view of Sierra Madre Mountains and its beautiful landscape there were able to touch the soil with their bare hands and they saw worms as an indication of a healthy soil and they were smiling and laughing while sliding in the muddy terrain of Sierra Madre. And because of this experience they are more motivated to sell their product so that they can go back and plant more monthly with FEED. 

About Bluestone “Our Story”

Bluestone is a fast-growing lender specialising in residential home loans. We have a team of over 275 professionals across Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines. Bluestone started out as an Australian lender headquartered in Sydney in 2000. We manage over A$10bn in home loans for our Australian and New Zealand customers and have helped over 48,000 Aussies and 11,500 Kiwis with home loans that fit a wide range of circumstances.

Bluestone helps people with a variety of financial needs, whether they are looking to refinance, purchase homes or invest in residential property. Our solutions are popular not only with PAYG borrowers, but also self-employed borrowers who require alternative ways to prove their income, and residential property investors with complicated income streams.

The circumstances and needs of our customers are diverse – for example, some have a clear credit history and others have had a few financial hiccups. That’s why we have done away with credit scores and instead ask questions to better understand each unique situation. By assessing every application on a case-by-case basis, we can build a more accurate picture of personal circumstance and match home loans to different lifestyle needs.

About Us

GPS Coordinates of Bluestone Planting Site, 18 February 2021, Sierra Madres

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:

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.

Endemic Flora
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.

Endemic Fauna
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.

Non-Endemic Fauna Species
Isabela oriole, Philippine Eagle, and Philippine Crocodile are critically endangered species that can be found in fragmented locations.

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.

Thank you again to all Earth Keepers!

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.

More here: https://friendsoftheearth.uk/climate-change/what-can-I-do-to-stop-climate-change

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Contact FEED

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.

Tree-Planting with FEED

Contact us at FEED for more details, to join our regular activities or to design your own tree-nurturing eventinfo@feed.org.ph or call/text +63 (0)917 552 4722.

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