Concrete land markers erected to establish forest boundaries can easily get lost to overgrowth and vegetation, and forest authorities here think of a way to put up one that unmistakably asserts the delineation.
The ingenious solution: instead of concrete landmarks, plant acacia instead.
The move, which would soon be implemented in Bohol, delineating all forest buffer zone areas, asserting what many would easily disregard regulated access.
“Over time, the acacia will establish a clear boundary and its crowns would form a visible line effectively separating the alienable and disposable lands from the established timberlands,” explains Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Nestor Canda.
Speaking at the Kapihan sa PIA celebrating June as Environment Month, the PENRO in Bohol asserted the need to re-establish the forest boundaries especially with the recent human activities reaching forest zones.
â€œUnahon nato ang boundary, ang atong balay bitaw, ato mang kurawon. Kini para klaro sa community ang boundary [forest],â€ Canda beamed all over Bohol from the radio forum aired over DyTR AM.
â€œWe fix the boundary first, like we fence our houses. This is to clearly establish to the communities our [forest] boundaries.â€
Aside from making sure the boundaries are clearly defined, picking acacia: a non fruit bearing shade tree can also be very ideal for farmers.
Thereâ€™s no fruits to earn the interest of people, since the government implements no cutting for acacia trees, they stand a bigger chance of surviving and it can be a bonus for farmers who pasture their farm animals under its shade, or rest under the mid-day sun, Canda reasoned out.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is spearheading a boundary planting June 17 in Sierra Bullones town, well within the Rajah Sikatuna Protected Landscape (RSPL).
The RSPL is among the countryâ€™s declared National Integrated Protected Areas Systems (NIPAS) where Bohol keeps the last frontiers for molave and its surviving diptherocarps.
Through the NIPAS Act, the government has appropriated protected areas systems in a bid to conserve patches of forests that could help sustain life in the planet.
In Bohol, the RSPL is set aside by its unique physical and biological significance, managed to enhance biological diversity and protected against destructive human exploration, and as part of the international commitments signed by the Philippine Government such Convention on Biological Diversity, Ramsar Convention, World Heritage Convention, Convention on Migratory Species, and the ASEAN Agreement on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
However, with the forest buffer areas now settled by communities, the temptation to breach the forest and harvest what is otherwise protected by law is a reality forest rangers face every day.
While some breaches are for reasons of innocent incursions, several cases of encroachment into the forests are informs of technical land claims pursued after forest landmarks are not asserted, DENR Sources bared.
Reports surfaced include physically relocating the concrete forest boundaries or in certain cases, when the concrete forest boundary markers get lost to landslides, erosion.
With the recent DENR Bohol move, says DENR supervising ecosystems management specialist Candido Salces, is a first that he knows of in the country.
The boundary planting is just among the many activities DENR is spearheading for the Environment Month. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)