25 November 2022, Laguna Quezon Land Grant, Siniloan, Laguna, Sierra Madre Mountain Range. 35 active participants from the National Reinsurance Corporation of the Philippines (Nat Re), many of whom had planted with FEED on prior occasions, others new – arrived at the Laguna Quezon Land Grant (LQLG) from 7am onwards to experience several aspects of FEED’s Ridge to REEForestation work in the Sierra Madre mountain range, in collaboration with FEED’s fist and longest Living Legacy partner, the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), which manages the over 9,000 hectare protected forests at the LQLG.
“We are Seeding the Future” is Nat Re’s tagline, which indeed encapsulates their focus on the importance of nursery work (adding 100 new trees to the nursery), food and water security (500 seeds and cuttings to the vegetable garden), reforestation (500 native Philippine trees planted) and community uplifting and development (scholarship contribution to Kyle Cancinas, FEED’s latest scholar at UPLB focused on carbon sequestration capabilities in the LQLG. Trees planted included:
- Lanite -200, Malaruhat Pula -200, Malasantol – 50, Batikoling – 5, Igang – 15, and Malalansones – 30.
Facilitated by some members of the LQLG forest guard ground team who were not on patrol that day: Randy Velina, Freddie Chavez, Roger Glipo, Ariel Atip, Teotimo Argete, Renato Dagumboy, Teofilo Breganza, Dave Montecalvo, Shermae Canzana, Dante Rasay and Cecil Cuyo.
Starting with a brief recap of the Summit to Sea integrated and community based Social Forestry approach to reforestation, we proceeded to a power stretching warm up prior to a comfortable 30 minute trek to the LQLG’s main nursery through the bamboo forest trail.
The group was introduced into the basics of community-based nursery propagation and bagging of native Philippine forest wildlings collected by the forest rangers, and then proceeded to the vegetable garden also prepared near by, as a source of heirloom vegetable seeds also managed by the forest guards, to provide sustenance to the various barangays and communities we work with surrounding the protected site. Having planted throughout the pandemic, the vegetable garden provides nutrition throughout the year as a perennial vegetable garden source for the rangers, their families and other forest dwellers affected by the long distances required to head to the closest market in Siniloan.
The vegetable garden planted adopted native seeds and cuttings from the Bio-Intensive Garden modalities espoused by the International Institute for Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), FEED’s major partner in tackling malnutrition and poverty alleviation in all Ridge to REEForestation sites. Some of the perennial crops included: kamote (sweet potato), talinum (native spinach), various beans, tomatoes, okras, eggplants, squash, patolla, saluyot, sigarillas, chaya and malungay (moringa).
After completing a quality control session including labeling of the garden for the forest guardians to maintain, we proceeded just nearby again near the top of the closest ridge, to complete the planting of 500 Philippine forest trees including Bani, white lauan and kupang – after which we took the trail back to the base camp through the Katmon forest trail, down to the lake for brunch and certificate awarding to all participants.
Thank you Nat Re for being super enthusiastic and for continuing your commitment to the community and environment! May the Forest be with you Always!
- Hidden Benefits of Urban Gardening @ Work: Nat Re Sponsors Air Plants for Staff Health & Well-Being (Aug 2019)
- SEEDing the Future: 31 Nat Re Earth Warriors Add 370 Native Trees to Protect Sierra Madre Watershed (Nov 2019)
- Nat Re Expands their Sierra Madre Forest with 500 Trees (Dec 2021)
GPS Coordinates & Photo Gallery
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:
Taking Climate Change Action
Thank you to NAT RE for supporting the community’s livelihood, and our protection and conservation programs in place to protect the Sierra Madre mountains!FEED’s Climate Change Action Programs are community-based landscape to seascape planting interventions ranging from:
- Watersheds: 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
- Coastal & Sea: Lowland mangrove and coral plantings (in coastal areas with trained Bantay Dagat/Fisheries Cooperatives/La Union Surf Club, Inc.).
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 theInternational 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)
“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.
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.
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.
About National Reinsurance Corporation of the Philippines (Nat Re)
Nat Re provides life and non-life reinsurance capacity, and, in relation to this, consultancy, technical, and advisory services. We cater to independent insurers and multinationals operating in the Philippines, and to (re)insurers abroad who aim to diversify their portfolios.
At Nat Re, providing reinsurance capacity isn’t our only business. We believe that what we do ultimately entails giving greater protection to the insuring public and helping them recover financially after natural disasters and other crises. We also believe in caring for the environment by promoting a culture of awareness on environmental sustainability within the organization itself.
This is why we value forging meaningful relationships with private and public sector partners in the sphere of disaster risk financing and insurance. By leveraging our combined resources and know-how, we can create effective and affordable solutions for a more disaster-resilient public.
For more details on Nat Re advocacies, visit: https://www.nat-re.com/about-us/advocacies/
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
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