MANILA, Philippines – What’s the big fuss about the trees in the country’s summer capital? Those trees trend on Twitter. Protesters flood the streets and “occupy” malls to defend the trees. A court orders a stop to the cutting of the trees. A bishop also puts an end to saying masses in a mall to heed the “cry of trees.”
In observance of Earth Day 2012, Rappler.com tackles the importance of trees and how to protect them — forests in particular, not only in Baguio, but also in other parts of the country.
Explaining the vital role of forests in development, Olivier Langrand, international policy chief of Conservation International (CI), said, “Forests must be seen as more than just a group of trees. Forests give us vital benefits. They already play an enormous economic role in the development of many countries as a source of timber, food, shelter and recreation, and have an even greater potential that needs to be realized in terms of water provision, erosion prevention and carbon sequestration.”
But forests in the Philippines are in peril.
Deforestation rate in the country is the highest in Asia and the 4th in CI’s “World’s 10 Most Threatened Forest Hotspots.”
From 95% of the country’s total land area 100 years ago, forests shrank, according to CI, to about 7% in 2011.
Tree-planting couldn’t catch up with tree-cutting: According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 157,400 hectares of forest were lost annually between 2000 to 2005; only 294,625 hectares were replanted with forest cover from 1997 to 2006.
Forest degradation is the 2nd major cause of global warming. Carbon emission from deforestation is bigger than the emissions of all the planes, ships, trains, trucks and cars in the world combined.
It’s time to click and act. Join Rappler’s discussion on Twitter on how to #SavetheTrees.
We’re asking the questions, “Why should you save trees?” and “How can you save trees?”
Share your thoughts on why you should be part of the solution, what solutions you see, or what solutions have been tried and can be replicated.
Answer in 140 characters or more, submit a photo or video, or share a link to your blog, website, or research findings.
Submissions will be included in a running “Storify” feed featured on our website, www.rappler.com
On Sunday, April 22, starting at 4 pm, we will select compelling ways to save and protect forests. These will be shared with a panel of resource tweeters that will include environmentalists and policy-makers. The discussion will be open to all those interested and will take place on Twitter using the hashtag #SaveTheTrees.
See you online!