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RAIN FOREST

Political and Ecological System

 The nomadic rice farming method was to burn an area then plant the seeds. The farmers moved on after harvesting the crops as the land again tries to recover. This dry system known as "kaingin" is very rough to the land. The banaue rice terrace exemplifies the wet rice farming. The people started building permanent dwellings and farms side by side. Water recycles the farm through the irrigation's system. Irrigation is distribution of water coming from the rain forest that holds and controls the eventual flow. It balances the flood and drought since the beginning of times. I heard farmers praying for storms when rains are delayed for a long time.   Water resource management is now an ongoing nature and political agenda.

 Rainforest is nature's water sheds. They have been protected from us because of its distance. As our needs grow and we explore get closer to the heart of the forest. Our early fear of the indigenous people who dwell in the forest also for a while insured the protection of this nature reserve. Just the word Headhunters is enough to drive would be nature exploiters away. Lately because of the economic disparity in the lowland the rain forest became a place for political refugee. It became the place to hide for the guerrillas, bandits , and to the present day National People's Army (NPA). What ever political agenda they had nothing to do with ecological system . They however provided moratorium against destructive lugging, mining, and clearing of the forest because we were afraid to venture to the realm of the forest. They guarded the environment without knowing it. Now as peace is with in reach I can not help but remember the farmer's prayer for storm. Nature can be very unforgiving to just one generation

Nestor Palugod Enriquez
phix7@yahoo.com Nestor Palugod Enriquez


SUBMARINE FOREST IN THE PHILIPPINES

According to the 1997 Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DNR) report, the importance of coral reefs to the country's food production initiative could not be undersestimated.

 It said the resource is estimated to yield 10 to 156 percent of the total yearly fish production, not to mention its other uses in construction, medicine and shoreline protection, among others.

 As of December 1993, th report said the Philippine territorial waters have set at 220,000 hectares its shell area (at 200 meters depth) at 18,460,000 hectares, its coral reef area at 27,000 sq. hectares (within 10 to 20 fathoms) and its coastline at 17,460 hectares.

 The report warned that the coral reef areas continue to be degraded and destroyed.
 Not enough resources, it said, have been channeled to keeping track of what's left of the resource.
 If said the most comprehensive survey conducted to date is still the one undertaken in the 70s under the project, "Investigation of the Coral Resources of the Philippnes" or ICRP. Undertaken by the now Marine Science Institute of the University of the Philippines (U.P. Diliman), in cooperation with U.P. Cebu and Siliman University.

The result of this study, it said, showed that nationwide, out of 742 stations monitored, 39 or only 5.3 percent were still in excellent condition (75-100 percent live coral cover), 187 o4 25.2 percetn could be considered in good condition or having 50 to 74 percent live coral cover, 290 or 29.0 percent were in fair condition or having 25 to 49.9 percent live coral cover, while the rest, 226 stations or 30.5 percent were in poor condition (0-24 percent live coral cover.)

 It said two other recent projects, namely, the ASEAN-US Coastal Resources Management Project and the ASEAN- Australia Marine Science Project Living Coastal Resources also conducted coral surveys but on a more limited scale.

 The ASEAN-US CRMP surveyed 40 stations which revealed that corals in these areas could only be considered good to poor (45 percent good, 42.5 percent fair and 12.5 percent poor), the report revealed.

 The ASEAN-Australia MSP CLR, on the other hand, surveyed 103 stations and established that four of these or 3.9 percent could still be considered in excellent condition, 32 or 3.1 percent in good condition, 46 or 44.7 percent fair and 21 or 20.4 percent poor.

 The report pointed to situation as still the most improtant factor seriously affecting the country's coral reefs. In the Zambales coral reef, it said this has been affected by the ashfall and lahar produceed by the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1990. Only 10 to 70 percent remained a week after the eruption out of the final 60 to 170 percent live coral cover, it added.(PNA NEWS)