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Forests in the Philippines

02 April, 2012
Mangrove in the Philippines
Mangrove in the Philippines
Photo Credit: Roberto Verzo, via Flickr

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Voice 1

Welcome to Spotlight. I'm Liz Waid.

Voice 2

And I'm Joshua Leo. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1

What do you think of when you think of forests? The tall pine trees in the mountains of Canada? The rich dark Amazon forests of South America? Well, one of the most amazing forests in the world grows high on mountains in the Philippines. It is the Mossy Rainforest. And it has one of the highest amounts of rain in the world - more than twelve meters of rain in a year! This creates a wet, green environment. Roots and rotting leaves form thick layers that cover the ground. Here, small creatures such as insects dig in the soil, and ten kinds of worm live here, and only here. The trees are not large, but they are very strong. They resist strong wind and storms.

Voice 2

The Mossy Rainforest is just one of the many kinds of forests in the Philippines. At one time, forests covered much of the country. But today, these special environments are in great danger. More than 90 percent of them have been cut down. However, many people are working to save these forests. And their work is having an effect. Today's Spotlight is on efforts to save the Philippines forests.

Voice 1

The Philippines is an island country in Southeast Asia. In fact, there are more than 7000 islands in the country. About 92 million people live there. But the Philippines is not just the home for many people. It is also the home for a great number of different plants and animals. It has amazing biological diversity.

Voice 2

A good example of this diversity is found in the mangrove forests. Mangrove forests grow in many places in the world - but they grow only at the edge of the ocean. And where they grow, they have a very important purpose. They create a barrier between the ocean and the land - a barrier that protects the island from extreme weather. The roots of the trees grow into the water, and this creates a home for fish and other sea life. The mangroves do one other surprising thing. They clean the water, removing dangerous pollution!

Voice 1

However, mangroves often grow in places that are very good for large fish farms. This is true of the mangroves in the Philippines. On many islands, people have cut down the mangroves. This sounds like a good business for poor people. However, without the mangroves, there are many problems. The trees hold soil in the ground – without the trees, soil washes into the ocean. This damages the fish farms, and it makes farming more difficult. Native fish and animals lose their homes. And waste from the fish farms pollutes the water.

Voice 2

However, the mangroves can recover. On Panay Island, local people are planting mangroves again. They are planting in old fish farms - farms that are not used. They are working with the national government, and other organizations. They hope that replanting mangroves will bring many benefits - better fishing, clean water, and a safe barrier from extreme weather. This project will take many years. But the people have faith. They believe that the mangroves can grow again.

Voice 1

But it is not just the mangroves that have disappeared. At the beginning of the program, we described the Mossy Rainforest in the mountains of the Philippines. At one time, many different kinds of rainforests covered the Philippines. In the last century, most of these have been cut down. Some trees were used for building houses and other things. People burned other trees in cooking fires. And they made farms and built homes where the trees had been. Today, more than 90 percent of Philippine forests are gone.

Voice 2

Loss of forests causes many problems. Without the forests, there is less rain. People also use more water that they take from the ground. Over time, there is less and less of this groundwater to use, and it is more polluted. Forests also help control the temperature - as forests disappear, temperatures rise. Just like the mangroves, forests all over the islands also offer protection. They protect people from natural disasters, like floods and storms. Forests hold soil in place. They slow down strong wind, and they create shelter from storms.

Voice 1

Losing forests has a direct connection to disasters like mudslides. Mudslides are very serious in the Philippines. After a storm, wet earth slides down the hills and mountains. In a big mudslide, the earth destroys houses and farms. People are buried, many are killed. Mudslides happen much more easily when the earth is loose - not held by tree roots. Similar problems happen during typhoons - large storms that come from ocean.

Voice 2

Finally, and most importantly, forests create homes for plants, animals and birds. Without the forests, many unusual and beautiful creatures disappear. Some people say that this is a problem because of the effects on humans. In other words, these plants and animals have benefits for people - they create food, and medicine. But the special environments matter for another reason - for themselves! They are places of special beauty. They have a rich variety of different creatures, and each creature has value.

Voice 1

The loss of forests is serious. But there are many people working to save them. In some places, people are replanting trees - like the mangroves on Panay Island. A recent government plan will employ more than 14 million students to plant trees through the whole country. The government has also banned people from cutting down trees in the rainforest. They do not permit anyone to sell this wood for building or burning. And these efforts are making a difference. The size of the forests in the Philippines is increasing for the first time in many years.

Voice 2

Conservation International is one environment organization working in the Philippines. Olivier Langrand is their international policy chief. In a report on threatened forests, he wrote:

Voice 3

"People must see forests as more than just a group of trees. Forests give us important things. They are already important to the economic development of many countries - for building materials, food, shelter and sport. But they have a greater future importance in other areas - in providing water, preventing soil loss, and reducing carbon pollution in the atmosphere."

Voice 1

The writer of today's program was Christy VanArragon. The producer was Joshua Leo. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. This program is called "Forests in the Philippines."

Voice 2

If you have questions or comments for Spotlight, you can email us at radio@english.net. Or you can leave a comment on our website at http://www.radio.english.net. You can also find Spotlight on Facebook. Just search for Spotlight Radio.

Voice 1

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Until next time, goodbye.

Comments

witchdalat

witchdalat said on March 09, 2011

Formerday, we live together with nature and mother nature protect us.
Today, we live without nature. We have to think more about this.
let’s maintain and protect mother nature!

GelezniyDen

GelezniyDen said on March 12, 2011

Hello everybody and good evening all people over the world and of course good holidays!))) Good article and of course we all should protect our forests and our environment in whole please put trash into container )

chaukhanhpham@gmail.com

chaukhanhpham@gmail.com said on April 03, 2012

hi every body i am vietnamese, this programe is very useful

LarisaF

LarisaF said on April 27, 2012

Good time everybody!) It is useful article. And it is very important topic in our days!

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