Maintaining forest productivity should be the main concern of not only the government but everybody. This has to be given priority because the ill-consequence of forest destruction in the past remains unabated. At present, the extent of forest damage is still serious and the rate of forest destruction in the Philippines is one of the fastest in the world.
Some effective approaches being implemented by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through the Bureau of Forest Development (BFD) are the following;
Proper land classification and classification of existing forest. In the Philippines, mis-classification and misuse of land are corrected by implementing the provisions of P.D 705 which sets appropriate methods, criteria, and guidelines for proper land classification and survey of all lands of public domain. Lands are classified into agricultural, industrial or commercial, residential, resettlement, mineral, timber or forest, grazing and into such other classes. Forests are classified into several categories to limit the activities of illegal loggers.
Increasing the number of national parks. The declaration of Kalawit Island, Mount Apo, Kanlaon, Butuan national Parks and other forests as sacred is a move to conserve forest resources. These national parks are a safe haven for exotic and rare breeds of wildlife. logging is totally banned and hunting is also prohibited in the area.
Selective logging system. selective logging system must be practiced to maintain forest productivity. This is done by cutting or removing only matured, over matured, and defective trees so that immature and healthy trees for commercial purposes and other tree specie will survive for future use.
Selective logging system is done in three phases;
- Tree marking. This is done by identifying and marking trees to be cut. The operation ensures that only matured, over matured, and defective trees will be cut. Tree marking also helps loggers to protect the seed trees or mother trees from logging damages.
- Residual inventory or physical examination and counting of remaining trees after logging. This is done to assess the extent of damage to residuals and to determine the condition, composition, and structure of the forestland.
- Timber stand improvement. This includes all cultural treatment or management practices applied before and after harvesting forest. The main purpose of timber stand improvement is to secure the maximum quantity, quality, composition, growth rate, and condition of forest trees necessary to achieve sustained timber production. Timber stand improvement includes weeding, cleaning, liberation, cutting, and controlling pests and diseases.
Adopting a wholistic approach to forest conservation. This is done by utilizing forest resources in a manner that does not impair other resources such as land, soil, water, wildlife, grass, and timber. In this approach, a specific management scheme should be designed such that management of timber, watershed, range, and national parks are different from one another. maintenance of ecological balance of each resources should be the main purpose.
Forest occupancy management. This includes resettlement of Kaingiñeros and other illegal forest occupants to a more useful area of activity. This process also leads to more productive wildlife management. Game refugees and wildlife sanctuaries like Kalawit Island are kept free from squatters to promote the growth and reproduction of rare and endangered species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and plants. The five rare animals which are the focus of special production and conservation measures all year round are the Philippine Eagle, Philippine crocodile, Palawan peacock pheasant, butuan and pawikan.
Forest Protection through an increase number of forest guards. This procedure decrease forest destruction through the kaingin syatem of farming, illegal logging, and charcoal making. Forest guards also help reduce the number of illegal settlements in public forests.
Reforestation. This program is considered as one among the best approaches to forest conservation. This is done either by natural or artificial restocking of an area with forest trees or by bringing back the lush vegetation of old denuded forests.
Another approaches of reforestation practice by private sector. These practices include the following;
- Private companies engaged in private tree plantations. Individuals or corporations who have the financial capability to convert unproductive forest lands into commercially viable forests engaged in industrial tree plantation, tree farming, or agroforestry farming.
- Reforestation by timber concessionaires, lessees, licences, and permittee who are engaged in cutting trees. Letter of Instruction No. 818 requires them to plant trees in one hectare of open, denuded, or brushland forest ares for every hectare they have logged.
- Individuals or corporations engaged in contract of reforestation. Contract reforestation has become an effective means of reforesting denuded forest areas. This is done by the BFD through the hiring of individuals on contractual basis to plant trees. The basis of payment in contract reforestation is based on the survival and quality of growth of the seedling planted.
Utilization approach to forest conservation. This approach to forest conservation aims to minimize the amount of forest resources used and make useful even the smallest amount of the same kind without stopping the operation.
Approach can be done through the following;
- Proper regulation in forest product utilization. This is done by giving a license agreement to qualified entities or individuals. In this way, extraction, production, and movement of forest products such as rattan, logs, bamboo, and others are considered illegal if not accompanied by valid permit or license.
- Rationalization of wood industry. This is done by legalizing measures which will encourage product utilization such as the law which totally bans log exportation so local processing of logs into semi-processed and finish products like lumber, veneer, plywood, pulp, and paper are encouraged.
- Utilizing and minimizing wood waste. Different waste products left after logging operations such as tree tops, stumps, branches and limbs, broken or splintered and abandoned logs, injured standing trees, and butt trimmings can be utilized for other purposes. waste in sawmills can be converted into commercial articles such as fiber board, pulp and paper, wood tiles, toys, sporting goods, wood carvings, charcoal and fuel. Reducing waste is another means of conserving forest resources.
- Wood preservation. Wood preservation or treatment must be employed to lengthen the life span of wood. Chemicals like creosote, solignum, and other chemical brands applied by spraying, brushing, dipping, and soaking, and treatments using artificial pressure built-up in closed metal cylinders helps preserve wood products.
- Utilization of lesser known species. Lesser known specie of forest products should be utilized in the absence of scarce popular wood species to conserve forest resources. Researches should also be conducted so that other species which are regarded as useless forest products can be utilized for the manufacture of various industrial products such as veneer, plywood, furniture, pencils, and slants.
Revised Forestry Code
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