Philippines: Deforestation not caused by loggers but by farmers that use fire

Dugan says deforestation is caused not so much by logging as by
kaingin, the burning of mountainsides by destitute farmers seeking
arable land. But mountain land is not very suitable for agriculture,
and once they have eked out everything they can from the land, the
kaingineros move on, abandoning land on which nothing (or seemingly
nothing) else can grow but cogon.

It’s no small irony, then, that most
of the village folk recruited to work on the ANR areas are probably
former kaingineros themselves. But being so, they have an innate
knowledge of the seasons and familiarity with the land that makes them
experts on the conditions best suited to bring out the forests lying
dormant among the grass.

To further protect potential forests from
fires, some cleared lands are surrounded by fire breaks, cleared
strips of land that make it difficult for flames to leap and spread.
In some areas, the locals have planted pineapples and banana plants to
augment their income. Another plus that ANR brings to reforestation is
that it assures biodiversity, since the potential trees spotted in the
grass are usually indigenous species that reflect the wide diversity
in the area. Unlike in traditional tree planting efforts, where
well-meaning people bring in a single specie that may not be suited
for the area, or worse, can actually harm the surrounding trees, as in
the case of the inappropriate gemelina trees, for instance.

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