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Sad summary

Manila Standard

THE forests and mountains in the Philippines are in poor condition, with a forest cover ranking among the lowest in the world at only 0.085 hectares per capita.

Observers have noted deforestation has accelerated due to irresponsible logging practices, slash-and-burn farming, agricultural expansion, and illegal logging activities.

Deforestation is a serious problem affecting many countries, and the Philippines, home to a lineup of unique flora and fauna, is no exception and has put many of these species at risk of extinction.

Deforestation, which has affected biodiversity in the Philippines, one of the most severely deforested countries in the tropics, with most deforestation happening in the last 40 years, has, according to experts, long-term negative impacts on the country’s food production.

It has also been associated with floods, soil erosion, deaths, and damage to property.

Estimates place forest cover in the Philippines in the year 1900 at 21 million hectares, covering 70 percent of the total land area.

If forests are cleared, or even disturbed, they release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Climate experts have said forest loss and damage have caused around 10 percent of global warming, adding there is simply no way we can fight the climate crisis if we don’t stop deforestation.

From 2001 to 2023, the Philippines lost 1.47 million hectares of relative tree cover, equivalent to a 7.9 percent decrease since 2000 and 0.30 percent of the global total.

In at least one report, 442,870 deforestation alerts were detected in the Philippines, which affected an area of about 5.35 thousands in hectares.

The government has implemented programs and policies to promote reforestation, sustainable forest management, and biodiversity conservation.

One such is the National Greening Program, which aims to plant 1.5 billion trees across 1.5 million hectares of land by 2028 .

It is heartening to note the government has committed to addressing the deforestation issue through robust policy initiatives, including the establishment of the Philippine Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation Sytrategy or REDD Plus.

We have our fingers crossed the Philippines will be able to stand up to the challenge.

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