By Ken Penaflor, Jr.
Government bodies and environmental organizations continue to face challenges in restoring the Philippines’ forest lands. The country lost about 47,000 hectares of forest in 2018, mostly due to unsustainable practices and natural disasters. This loss of forest resources means the loss of homes for species, heightened effects of climate change, and growing scarcity of ecological services.
The continuous destruction of our forests will gravely impact future generations, who will suffer from inadequate supply of water, clean air, food, raw materials found in these lands.
Fortunately, there are corporations committed to revive Mother Earth through their contributions to forest restoration efforts. One of which is the Honda Foundation, which partnered with Haribon Foundation to support the Forest for Life (FFL) movement.
The movement aims to restore our forests, especially those located in protected areas and watersheds, through plantations of indigenous and endemic tree species using Rainforestation technology.
In the last 10 years, Honda Foundation’s contributions helped restore 36.2 hectares by planting about 50,000 native trees from 2010 to 2019. The effort also engaged 2,180 volunteers from Honda for the tree planting activities. Haribon made the most of these activities by also sharing their advocacy to the volunteers, which the foundation sees as an effective approach to transform individuals into biodiversity champions.
Aside from forest restoration, the Forest For Life Movement also aims to empower its partner communities by giving livelihood opportunities, training, and incentives. These efforts are part of the strategy to change individuals’ unsustainable practices and promote sustainable forest management.
Forest restoration is not an easy task, but every success—no matter how small—proves to be rewarding when they are achieved. Witnessing communities change their way of living and sharing their realizations further proves that joint efforts don’t go to waste.
But more work needs to be done, and accomplishing more in this great endeavor means helping more people become biodiversity champions. After all, every one of us is a steward of our temporary home.