Cebu NGO urges propagation of native trees

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By Anna Valmero

CEBU CITY, CEBU— A non-profit organization based in Cebu  is urging the public to collect and propagate seeds of native trees like narra and lauan to help preserve local wildlife.

The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) pointed out the urgent need to replace trees cut down for construction purposes after some parts of the country experienced the tragic effects of flash floods and landslides.

It is equally important for people to know not only the names of the native trees but also how to collect the seeds and germinate them, said Rowena Alensonorin, executive director of RAFI.

“Our forests should be mainly composed of indigenous trees to provide food and habitat to our native animals,” Alensonorin said.

The lack of this knowledge on the importance of planting native trees have lead to the proliferation of exotic tree species, such as mahogany, gmelina, and ipil-ipil that are now growing in our forests, she explained.

If this will continue, the Philippines will lose wildlife that depends on these native plants and our highly valued trees such as narra, lauan, and mangkono.

Producing quality trees starts from the stock of quality of germinated seeds. The seeds must only come from healthy mother trees or those trees that bear fruits and produce seeds, Alensonorin said.

The RAFI Native Trees Nursery, located in Barangay Busay, collects seeds and wildlings or seeds that germinated underneath or near the mother tree in the Visayas region

According to RAFI, the nursery has 150,000 seedlings of 212 native tree species.

For many people, trees are seen as raw material for building houses, furniture, tools, and for firewood.

To make sure that forests are not depleted of this valuable resource, reforestation programs should focus on the collection and propagation of native seeds to create the “the next generation of native forests,” said Alensonorin.

Get more information about Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.

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