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The Franciscan Youths (YOUFRA) of Enrique Villanueva, Siquijor: Feeling triumphant after giving their share to the community. Tree planting and clean up activities are one of the regular activities of these youth to help mitigate the adverse effects of climate change following their weekly formation at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Enrique Villanueva, Siquijor. (pia-siquijor/Rizalie Anding Calibo)
Central Visayas Region

PIA Press Release
Tuesday, January 31, 2012

NGO urges public to collect, propagate seeds to create native tree forests in CV

by Hazel F. Gloria

CEBU CITY, January 31 (PIA) -- As part of the GREENIN Philippines Program, a Cebu-based NGO, Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc (RAFI) calls on the public to collect and propagate seeds to contribute to the creation of native tree forests in Central Visayas.

Executive director of the Integrated Development unit of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) Rowena Alensonorin pointed out the urgent need to replace trees cut down for construction purposes after some parts of the country experienced the tragic effects of flashfloods and landslides.

“The primary importance of trees in the ecosystem is to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and prevent soil erosion," Alensonorin noted.

For many people, they see trees as beneficial for building houses, furniture, tools, and for firewood; hence, these demands have significantly reduced the number of trees in the forests, she noted.

One way to address this is to collect and propagate seeds, which are considered “the next generation of forests,” Alensonorin added.

Alensonorin said that 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.

The scarcity of this knowledge might have led to the proliferation of exotic tree species, such as mahogany, gmelina, and ipil-ipil that are now growing in our forests," she stated.

If this will continue, Alensonorin explained we will not only lose these animals, but also our highly valued trees such as narra, lauan, and mangkono that have been valued here and abroad for their toughness and strength.

"Our forests should be mainly composed of indigenous trees to provide food and habitat to our native animals,” she urged the public.

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

Germinated seeds should be nurtured in a well-managed tree nursery that provides a suitable area for these seeds to grow into plantable seedlings for use in reforestation initiatives, Alensonorin shared.

The RAFI Native Trees Nursery collects seeds and wildlings (seeds that germinated underneath or near the mother tree) all over the Visayas region.

The nursery is also willing to receive seeds and seedlings from people who would like to donate. According to RAFI the nursery has an existing 150,000 seedlings of 212 native tree species and is located in Barangay Busay, Cebu City.(mbcn/hfg/PIA-7 & RAFI)

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