Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Albay radiomen plant 3 rare tree species in Lignon Hill
By Jorge Hallare

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 8 (PNA) --- Local broadcast journalists and their partners from different government agencies in Albay planted some 250 seedlings of three species of trees identified as indigenous and endemic to the Philippines over the weekend morning in Lignon Hill in this city.

Kapisanan ng Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP)-Albay chapter president Hermogenes “Jun” Alegre Jr. said their group decided to plant the “Lauan, Dao and Cuyaoyao” species this year.

He said "Project: Broadcastreeing" at the hilltop, which was also site of the Mayon Volcano observatory of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, is an annual undertaking of their group.

“This is my fourth year as KBP chapter president in Albay and I want it to be part of the noble program of the Legazpi City government and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to cultivate and preserve the nearly endangered species of the endemic and indigenous trees of the country."

Alegre, owner and station manager of local radio station Zagitsit News FM (100.3hz), said members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Legazpi City, Albay and the Police Regional Office 5 or PRO5 trooped to Lignon Hill to support the project.

Miel Loria, forester of DENR-Bicol, said last year’s “broadcastreeing” program planted hundreds of narra seedlings in Lignon Hill.

“This time, however, the group decided to plant the three species as these can hardly be found because of the alarming massive cutting of trees and ‘kaingin’ (slash and burn farming) done by farmers,” he said.

He said Lauan, Dao and Cuyaoyao could only be found in the forested areas in the Philippines, which is why they are deemed “endemic and indigenous” to the country.

“But these tree species are rarely found in forested areas in country,” said Loria.

He said the white “lauan” (Lawaan) (scientific name: Shorea Contorta) is a large tree reaching up to 50 meters high and 182 centimeters in diameter.

On the other hand, “Dao” (scientific name:Dracontomelon Dao) is a native tree that reaches up to 40 meters high and 90 centimeters in diameter,” said Loria.

He added that the small to medium tree, locally called “Cuyaoyao” (Kuyawyaw) or “Batino” (scientific name: Alstonia Macrophylla), that belongs to the Moraceae tree family, can be found mostly in Masbate and some parts of the Bicol region.

Loria said there were other endemic and indigenous trees in the Philippines such as “Amurao,” “Yakal,” and “Apitong” but DENR-Bicol does not have these in their nursery.

“We have difficulty finding them,” he said.

He said the agency’s forest rangers continuously search for these tree species.

“But we are still hopeful we could find a mother tree or seedlings of these trees that are endemic or indigenous trees to the country,” added Loria.

He said in the Bicol region, there were still virgin forests where endemic and indigenous trees could be found, citing Mt. Bulusan in Irosin town and Magallanes town, both in Sorsogon province; Mt. Masaraga in Albay; Bicol National Park in Camarines Norte; and Mt. Isarog in Camarines Sur.

“Some primary forested areas in Catanduanes also have these endemic and indigenous trees,” he added.

Alegre said they had decided to plant the Lauan, Dao and Cuyaoyao in Lignon Hill so that they could easily “look after the trees and take care of them.”

Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal, who joined the activity, said they had allocated 2.1-hectares, that were part of Lignon Hill, for the city government’s reforestation program.

He declared the 2.1-ha area as “Arboretum Area” that would be devoted primarily for the planting of indigenous and endemic trees.

The “Broadcastreeing” program is yearly observed by KBP members every month of August nationwide. (PNA) RMA/GVR/JH/CBD