Deforestation in Luzon's mountains leads to deadly landslides, damaged watersheds and loss of wildlife

Reforestation in Luzon’s mountains will help prevent deadly landslides, damaged watersheds and loss of wildlife

Here’s more news about efforts to preserve rainforests – this time from Luzon island in the Republic of The Philippines. With the support of the Disney’s Friends for Change, The Haribon Foundation (BirdLife in the Philippines) has produced a 6-minute video on deforestation and its impacts in the Philippines aimed at children. The video also shows how Haribon is working with communities to help restore degraded forests as part of BirdLife International’s broader Forests of Hope programme. Children from all over the World voted to protect the forests in Irid-Angelo area of Luzon’s Sierra Madre via Disney’s Friends for Change campaign. Haribon have been involved in local community “Rainforestation” in the Irid- Angelo Mountains about 40 Km North-east of Manila for several years already – this involves raising seedlings in nurseries and replanting degraded forest. Now Haribon is involved in a lengthy and thorough consultation process necessary to establish the preserve.

According to a document on the above-linked site,  Luzon’s Sierra Madre mountain range had lost 83% of its 1930’s levels of forest cover by the 1990’s, the large commercial logging concessions have been cancelled and The Haribon Foundation has identified a well-forested area of 30-40,000 ha in the Irid- Angelo Mountains where there is still some high quality mature Dipterocarp forest and Montane forest to serve as a kernel of high biodiversity. Apparently an initial survey recorded 88 bird and 17 mammal species, of which over 40% are endemic. The very high rate of wildlife endemism in The Philippines argues strongly for more protection.

Principle threats to the forest have been identified as illegal logging, slash and burn farming (Kayingin), small scale gold and Calcium Carbonate mining, on-going road constructions  from the eastern coastal towns to Manila directly through the forests, proposed construction of large dams, unregulated collection of non-timber forest products, wildlife hunting for the pet trade and for food (with pigeons and doves, Philippine Hanging Parrots and malkohas particularly targeted). It seems there is no time to lose in securing genuine and lasting protection for this area.

The local people are supportive of conservation efforts.  The forest conveys many benefits: forest cover preserves watersheds, prevents landslides, can provide sustainable local use of forest produce and harbors wildlife recognised as being internationally important, including the iconic Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi).

Here is the short film:

The Haribon Foundation
Disney’s Friends for Change campaign