In our fast-paced, technology-driven generation, many of us take nature for granted. When was the last time you stopped to appreciate the trees that lined the streets? Would you notice if a tree along your usual route to work was cut down?
With deforestation and development of forest areas and rapid urbanization, trees are no longer as common a sight as they once were.
Worse, native tree species are threatened and pushed to extinction as more exotic tree species are planted. People are now seeing more popular yet exotic trees like mahogany, acacia and gmelina. Unknown to many, exotic and foreign tree species disrupt the balance of the local ecosystems, invading the biodiversity of the forests; moreover, these exotic species do not support local flora and fauna as well as the local species.
To help its partners further appreciate the work that the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) BINHI team does on-ground, BINHI recently organized a two-day BINHI Tree Encounter and Knowledge Sharing (TREK) with some of its partner organizations in Mt. Makiling in Los Baños, Laguna.
EDC has prioritized the propagation of 96 identified rare and threatened Philippine tree species through BINHI.
BINHI focuses on mainstreaming 96 identified rare and threatened Philippine species, and it has done so by planting these species in watersheds within EDC’s geothermal reservations across the country.
Aside from this, BINHI has partnered with 164 institutions and groups in 16 regions in the country which have pledged to dedicate a space for these tree species to be planted and grown.
The BINHI team goes deep inside forested areas around the country to ensure that native trees still existing in the wild are identified, documented and geotagged.
Since its launch in 2008, the BINHI team has successfully located these 96 species in the wild, taking their samples for propagation.
Representatives from Masungi Georeserve, 2030 Youth Force Philippines, National University Mountaineers, Rain Forest Restoration Network Initiative, Earth Day Network Philippines Inc., Permaculture Philippines Association, the University of the Philippines Los Baños College of Forestry and Natural Resources, and the Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystem—all of which are BINHI partners—joined BINHI TREK.
They got to experience firsthand some of the activities that the BINHI team does during its tree inventory activities.
After being briefed on mountaineering etiquette, the participants hiked up Mt. Makiling to try their hand at tree identification, tree measurement and tree geotagging as demonstrated by the BINHI team.
Beyond just tree-specific activities, the participants got to appreciate the fauna in the mountain. Mist nets were set up so that they were able to see up close the bats native to Makiling; the bats were then set free.
The two-day hike proved to be quite grueling for some of the participants. Despite this, they have grown to have a greater appreciation for the great lengths the BINHI team goes through to ensure that the 96 tree species will continue to grow in number. (Story/Photos by: Kreeshia Share)