15-16 September 2023, Laguna Quezon Land Grant, Siniloan, Laguna – Sierra Madre Mountains. Despite the early morning dawn showers and mist, Concentrix’s enthusiastic participants arrived Friday morning mostly by bus and wandered the over 9,000 hectare protected Laguna Quezon Land Grant, managed by FEED’s longest Living Legacy partner, the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) in Siniloan, Laguna – foothills of the Sierra Madre mountain range.
After having freshened up and enjoyed some Barako brew, FEED hosted a short briefing on its community-based Ridge to REEForestation approach, while Forester Reynaldo Lorida spoke of the evolution of Philippine forests, lending light to the significance of every single tree towards community livelihood as well as ecosystem restoration.
Following a power stretching and warmup session to get the circulation going, we proceeded through one of the the forest trails escorted by several forest guards 50 minutes into the forest up to the first top ridge – one of 4 that the forest guardians typically patrol during their daily work schedules, monitoring and maintaining previously planted sites.
Upon arriving at their planting site, for the benefit of first time planters, Concentrix participants were demonstrated how to debag and plant up to seedling’s root collar by Forest ranger Randy Velina.
|Randy Velina||Rowel Doria|
|Renato Dagumboy||Ivan Valenzuela|
|Kevin Pedro||Jenniroso Alawas|
|Mark louie Balino||Jomer Balino|
|Adrian Delmundo||Renato de leon|
|Shermae Canzana||Bernard Baldaria|
Species were also pre-selected to mimic the area requiring reforestation, these included 75 Malaruhat Pula, 200 Huling-huling, 150 Bani and 200 Palong Maria species native to the area, for a total of 625 native species added to Concentrix’s first forest installation of 1,500 trees back in July 2023.
Upon successful completion of the planting and a group photo, participants proceeded to return trek back to base camp, while some opted to take the tractor back on an exhilarating and bumpy drive back down to the training center, filled with much laughter, sweat and some tears from joyful exhaustion and feelings of gratitude – for having completed the challenging trek up to top ridge, having completed the planting despite the morning heavy humidity, and a sunny trek / tractor ride back.
So much so, that the native Binalot chicken adobo with banana and boiled egg was greeted with much enthusiasm on arrival back to the forest dining area, devoured with relish and much deserved accomplishment.
One of the participants captured it quite accurately: “It’s never easy to plant even for me being used to it since a young age, so it must be even more difficult for those who have not been up and about during the pandemic, suddenly enjoying fresh mountain air, greens of all shades and tints, and an overwhelming sense of connection to the Earth.”
After the scrumptious lunch prepared by the community women, the participants freshened up and continued with team-building games inside the Training Center. Concentrix further decided to rough it out in the Sierra Madres and make the most of their stay communing with Nature, so they set up their tents at the outdoor camping area with a bonfire before the anticipated rains were forecast to arrive.
Once they did, we reconvened in the covered Training area to continue evening story-telling, before having an early dinner of Beef Nilaga with fresh veggies and BBQ liempo pork belly and lots of rice to keep warm in preparation for the cold evening after the rains.
The cool evening rains continued well into just before midnight, when some karaoke vibes came out and the night slowly crept into daytime. Breakfast was prepared by the local community women from Barangay Magsaysay, hotdogs, fried eggs and dried fish to recuperate our energies from the evening fun times.
After everyone packed up their tents, the Concentrix participants did a surprise and spontaneous donation drive amongst themselves, to donate additional trees from their own personal money (on top of Concentrix having sponsored the 625) before leaving, with the request to have the additional trees planted by the forest rangers. What a blessing of a closure to this planting weekend! Hundreds of Bitokling, Calumpit, Malaruhat, Lawaan and Palong Maria native tree species were added adjacent to the planting site that same morning by rangers Randy Velina, Jenniroso Alawas, Jomer Balino, Renato de Leon and Bernard Baldaria.
Thank you Concentrix EcoWarriors for your outstanding enthusiasm, environmental leadership and heartfelt compassion in sharing your time with our forest communities and for appreciating Nature, a true spirit of collaboration and a shared sense of camraderie. May the Forest be with you wherever you are!
GPS Coordinates & Picture Gallery
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On Carbon Sequestration – How Much CO2 can our trees absorb?
Trees are often referred to as the “lungs of the Earth” as they are able to store carbon and produce oxygen, which is essential to many life forms. Trees also stabilise soil and reduce air temperature and humidity, whilst also reducing flooding and improving water quality. Without trees, most fauna and flora would not survive, what more humans?
It is widely accepted that a typical tree can absorb around 22 kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year when in fully grown status, meaning that saplings, seedlings and younger trees – whether mangroves or primary or secondary forest trees – absorb around half, so conservatively say 11 kgs per year (also widely used by most international forestry agencies around the world).
So, over a lifetime of a tropical tree (100 years), one tree can absorb around 1 tonne of CO2. Although this figure seems large, it should be measured in perspective: to date we humans generate around 40 billions tonnes of CO2 each year on Earth. Which means, that we need to plant 40 billion trees annually to offset these emissions.
Even if we could, though, land availability for agriculture and farming, including livestock production – one of the largest, increasing land conversion threats worldwide aside from urbanisation – would be significantly reduced. Which then translates into water and food security challenges, among others, but not limited to e.g.: urbanization and lack of city spaces leads to housing and commercial developments in critical watersheds, thereby threatening our fresh water supply and declining forest cover; or agricultural pollution threatening crops and livestocks, affecting poultry, dairy, pork and beef food production systems, and so on and so forth.
All said, we are grateful to Nat Re and every other FEED partner and patron who enable community based reforestation to take place. Nat Re’s 500 trees added to their already 370 planted last November 2019, and another 70 airplants for the office designed by their staff last August 2019. If we combine the trees alone, Nat Re’s cumulative 870 upland native Philippine trees are going to offset* 870 tonnes of CO2 in their lifetime.
*A CARBON OFFSET IS A REDUCTION OR REMOVAL OF EMISSIONS OF CARBON DIOXIDE OR OTHER GREENHOUSE GASES MADE IN ORDER TO COMPENSATE FOR EMISSIONS MADE ELSEWHERE. OFFSETS ARE MEASURED IN TONNES OF CARBON DIOXIDE-EQUIVALENT. ONE TON OF CARBON OFFSET REPRESENTS THE REDUCTION OR REMOVAL OF ONE TON OF CARBON DIOXIDE OR ITS EQUIVALENT IN OTHER GREENHOUSE GASES. (WIKIPEDIA, 2022)
Planting trees could buy more time to fight climate change than thought
Earth has 0.9 billion hectares that are suitable for new forests.
By Susan Milius
JULY 17, 2019 AT 9:02 AM
A whopping new estimate of the power of planting trees could rearrange to-do lists for fighting climate change.
Planting trees on 0.9 billion hectares of land could trap about two-thirds the amount of carbon in the atmosphere that’s come from human activities since the start of the Industrial Revolution, a new study finds. The planet has that much tree-friendly land available for use. Without knocking down cities or taking over farms or natural grasslands, reforested pieces could add up to new tree cover totaling just about the area of the United States, researchers report in the July 5 Science.
The new calculation boosts tree planting to a top priority for gaining some time to fight climate change, says coauthor Tom Crowther, an ecologist at ETH Zurich. The study used satellite images to see how densely trees grow naturally in various ecosystems. Extrapolating from those images showed how much forest similar land could support. Plant a mix of native species, he urges. That will help preserve the birds, insects and other local creatures.
The analysis revealed space to nourish enough trees to capture some 205 metric gigatons of carbon in about a century. That’s close to 10 times the savings expected from managing refrigerants, the top item on a list of climate-fighting strategies from the nonprofit Project Drawdown, a worldwide network of scientists, advocates and others proposing solutions to global warming.
The benefit of tree planting will shrivel if people wait, the researchers warn. Earth’s climate could change enough by 2050 to shrink the places trees can grow by some 223 million hectares if the world keeps emitting greenhouse gases as it does now, the analysis suggests.
More trees here
A map of the planet’s potential to support new forests avoids cities, farmlands and natural grasslands to rate the remaining land as likely to support low (yellow) to high (blue) canopy cover.
Still, storing carbon is only one of the ways that trees could affect climate, says Cat Scott, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Leeds in England who was not involved in the research. Just how these other factors play off each other is not yet clear. She and colleagues have developed computer simulations of trees contributing to cooling a landscape by releasing airborne molecules that invite clouds to form.
Even something as simple as the darkness of tree leaves can change how much heat a landscape absorbs or reflects. Expanding forests into formerly snow-bright, reflective zones, for instance, might warm them. In the tropics, however, the enhanced cooling from clouds might be the more powerful effect.
Ultimately, in the struggle against climate change, such heroic tree planting merely “buys us time,” says study coauthor Jean-François Bastin, also an ecologist at ETH Zurich. But that’s time human societies could use to stop emitting greenhouse gases, the real solution to climate change, he says.
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.
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.
Join us! Help us reverse the Earth’s “hothouse climate” tipping point.
Tree-Planting with FEED
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
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