Since most native trees grow from seeds, a non-government organization called on the
public to collect seeds and propagate them to contribute to the creation of native tree forests.
Rowena Bandola-Alensonorin, executive director of the Integrated Development unit of
the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) pointed out the urgent need to replace trees cut down
for construction purposes after some parts of the country experienced the tragic effects of
flashfloods and landslides.
“The primary importance of trees in the ecosystem is to reduce carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere, and prevent soil erosion. For many people, they see trees as beneficial for building
houses, furniture, tools, and for firewood; hence, these demands have significantly reduced the
number of trees in the forests,” she noted.
One way to address this is to collect and propagate seeds, which are considered “the
next generation of forests.”
Alensonorin said that it is equally important for the people to know not only the names of
the native trees but also how to collect the seeds and germinate them.
“The scarcity of this knowledge might have led to the proliferation of exotic tree species,
such as mahogany, gmelina, and ipil-ipil that are now growing in our forests. If this will continue,
we will not only lose these animals, but also our highly valued trees such as narra, lauan,
and mangkono that have been valued here and abroad for their toughness and strength. Our
forests should be mainly composed of indigenous trees to provide food and habitat to our native
animals,” she explained.
Producing quality trees starts from the quality of seeds germinated. These seeds
must only come from healthy mother trees or those trees that bear fruits and produce seeds.
Germinated seeds should be nurtured in a well-managed tree nursery that provides a suitable
area for these seeds to grow into plantable seedlings for use in reforestation initiatives.
The RAFI Native Trees Nursery collects seeds and wildlings (seeds that germinated
underneath or near the mother tree) all over the Visayas region. The nursery is also willing to
receive seeds and seedlings from people who would like to donate. The nursery has an existing
150,000 seedlings of 212 native tree species and is located in Barangay Busay, Cebu City.
The RAFI Native Trees Nursery is a mechanism of the GREENIN Philippines Program of
RAFI to create forests composed of native trees.