Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Silent Forest

The stand of introduced mahogany
A silent forest
This is a young mahogany forest in Tanay, Rizal.  The common mahogany or Swietenia macrophylla is different from the dipterocarps which locals call Philippine mahogany.  The former is an introduced species from the Americas, brought here for wood harvest.  But it has proven to be a resilient species and is promoted as a reforestation tree by the government.  Now stands of mahogany tower in place of our original Philippine dipterocarps and other native species.  

The lone tuai tree
Yesterday I stood in the middle of this mahogany forest. It was silent.  Amidst the trunk of the trees, I did not hear any birds chirping or any other animal stirring. The only thing I could discern was the rushing water of a nearby stream. I could  not hear any sign of life. Mahoganies bear no fruit which wildlife could eat.  It seems that no birds were even enticed to seek shelter in the canopies.

Yet in a ravine a few meters from the artificial forest, there is a fruiting native tree called tuai (Bischofia javanica) and it was teeming with life.  It was heavily burdened with fruits and these were feasted on by yellow vented bulbuls and swiftlets.  The air was filled with the animated birds and their high pitched sounds. It was a clear contrast to the silence of the American mahogany patch. 

The tuai fruits
This paints a scenario of what might be happening in some of the country's reforestation projects. Mahogany patches are claimed to not harbor native wildlife. This is also said to be what is happening in the Bohol artificial forest. My birdwatcher friends say birds are accustomed to native trees because the fruit they create and the shade they provide are what the winged animals are used to.  So when they are replaced with the non-familiar species, they are reduced feeding and perching on the remaining natural vegetation.  In this case, it is a single tuai tree in a 13.5 hectare property. May this not be the case in our remaining forests all around the Philippines. 

6 comments:

dr magsasaka said...

Grabe, ano?
Many people in government until now have really no idea.
Considering that they are paid using public funds, one can only ask himself whether they read at all, or keep abreast of the developments in their field.

howlingwind said...

yeah, thats the main reason why I stop planting mahogany ang shifted to kamagong or mabolo, i hope our forest will regain its former glory

Johnnybee said...

Wow this is enlightening...it is a good idea to plant maogany trees, but its a better idea to plant fruit bearing trees to allow biodiversity

metscaper said...

Actually it is better to plant native trees from that particular area so that the ecology of the place could be preserved.

Grace Servino said...

Thanks Pat for continuing to educate the people through your blogs. Hopefully, the people behind such reforestation in the Phils. will be enlightened too.

mary roxanne apit said...

Hi! i would like to inquire about services of bloggers on forestry and agriculture. can i possibly get your contact number or email address? Thank you. God bless.