Sunday, 21 November 2010

‘Native trees will bring back birds’

Indigenous trees can restore the biodiversity of birds in Cebu’s forests, a birdwatcher said.

“There are birds that feed on specific food and insects from trees that are gone,” Nilo Arribas, a birdwatcher and photographer, told CEBU DAILY NEWS.

Arribas and 13 individuals and institutions signed yesterday a memorandum of agreement with the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) for a project dubbed Generation Redemption and Expansion of Natural resources Initiatives (GREENIN) in the Philippines, which aims to restore biodiversity in the country’s forests.

“We are planting native trees to fit the birds,” Roberto Aboitiz, RAFI president, said.

Ruth Alensonorin, executive director of RAFI’s integrated development program, said that they aim to plant at least 1,670 trees per hectare of land.

The stakeholders would also be oriented on activities such as weeding, watering, applying fertilizer to the seedlings and monitoring the tree plantations.

Arribas said Cebu's continuing urban growth, with forests cleared to make room for infrastructure, is destroying the natural habitat of birds.

The rare Cebu flowerpecker, which was often sighted 30 years ago, is now almost extinct, Arriba said.

The canary flycatcher is still found in Consolacion town, north Cebu, but their population is also declining, he said.

Reforestation efforts using trees that are not native to the area will change forest biodiversity.

Arriba cited the man-made forest in Bohol that has many exotic trees but less biodiversity.

“We need not just a thick forest, but also a living forest,” he said.

By Candeze R. Mongaya

Cebu Daily News

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