Save our forests!

When I was a child, my father would sometimes take me and my brother to the forests of Bukidnon. Among the gigantic trees we would play hide-and-seek, explore ravines and cliffs, spy on small animals such as squirrels and birds… To get back to camp, we would listen for that piercing sound of steel biting against wood. The music of chainsaws used to be a comforting sound for me, because it always showed me the way back.

My family used to be loggers — logging fed us, clothed us, educated us. But now, I know that the business of logging is destructive, and no matter how much reforestation is done by responsible loggers, it would take many, many generations to regenerate the primary growth my brother and I once played in. My grandfather told me a long time ago, right before the family withdrew voluntarily from logging, that the narra and other hardwood trees that he had replanted would not be suitable for harvesting even by my own grandchildren’s grandchildren.

Our forests aren’t just places we can visit. They are the homes of countless flora and fauna, many of which are now endangered due to the destruction of their natural habitats.

To put things into perspective, here’s a gallery of excellent photographs by Alain Pascua, who recently went to Bislig to document endemic avian beauties. The widespread illegal logging he witnessed and photographed is heart-wrenching: more lost trees means less and less living space for our birds and other wildlife.

A Team of Wild Bird Photographers were invited by Bislig City Vice Mayor Conrad Cejoco to once again document the wild birds in the former Picop Timber Concession area. The Vice Mayor knows too well that time is running out for the protection and conservation of their forest, wild birds and wildlife as illegal logging, slash-and-burn clearing, illegal settling, etc. are slowly eating their way into the former timberland, which is supposed to be under DENR jurisdiction but seems to be ruled by lawlessness. Our mission was to photograph wild birds that has been attracting hundreds — nay, thousands — of foreign birdwatcher tourists in that part of Mindanao, and to show to the people of Bislig and all Filipinos the Avian Treasurse that we have… that we have to protect and conserve. The Team was composed of Rey Sta. Ana, Nilo Arribas, Tonji and Sylvia Ramos, Dr. Chito Limchiu and Alain Pascua. Nicky Icarangal and Zardo Goring guided the team.

Here are the pictures that Alain Pascua took. Click on a photo to view it in larger size and to see Alain’s descriptions.

Other pictures, in bigger sizes, with camera settings and with comments from Alain’s fellow bird photographers, are posted at the Philippine Bird Photography Forum.

If you care about our environment and our natural resources, please share this with your family, friends and colleagues.

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9 Responses to “Save our forests!”

  1. Didit says:

    Kudos Blog!
    Like you, we must be vigilant in raising awareness on the dwindling habitat of the wildlife in our country.

  2. tristan says:

    hello! i'm into conserving the native trees. Since birds and trees go hand in hand, what trees or fruit trees do the birds depend on? Maybe others can help me collect seeds, fruits or wildlings so we can propagate plant species in gardens and protected areas. for more information, please check out my blog at http://philippinenativeforesttrees.blogspot.com/ . thanks!

  3. Choly says:

    Great insight Blogie. You're father's passion for trees obviously rubbed deep on you. I hope you keep on the campaign to this kind of awareness. It's not only good for mother earth but also beautiful in general. All in all it is a positive thing to love our forest that protects us, provides us and also beautifies our surroundings. A lot of forests in Europe for example are maintained like gardens and parks. Writing this way will create more awareness of how valuable our forests are. More power to you.

  4. Nortehanon says:

    Thank you for blogging about my friends—the trees and the birds. I also grew up in the province and it is hard to imagine that children in the future may not have the chance to climb on trees and enjoy the sweet singing of the birds if we keep on abusing our environment.

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