Rambutan for climate change adaptation-A A +A
Friday, October 11, 2013
WHERE before, it was the Oriental side that bore the brunt of super typhoons. Now the roll of the dice points at Negros Occidental.
Or maybe a weather version of the Russian roulette. Five unloaded chambers and one loaded. After being spared lately from the ravages of supertyphoons, the one that finally hit Negros Occidental came from heavy rains stirred by the southwest monsoon and the inter-tropical convergence zone.
Who needs supertyphoons when heavy rains can do the job wreaking havoc in this era of climate change? As of this writing, floods damaged crops, livestock and fisheries valued at P37,243,705.
Badly hit by floods are 6,011 families or roughly 30,055 individuals in Ilog, Hinoba-an and Isabela towns, and Kabankalan, Sipalay and Himamaylan cities.
In the Municipality of Salvador Benedicto, heavy rains triggered landslides in Talos, Spur 13 and Kudyawan, causing the highway to be impassable for several hours. I know some of these places since I managed several community forestry projects in Bagong Silang. Not an enjoyable experience to be stranded there.
Based on Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council assessment reports, 15 LGUs had been hit by floods and landslides, stranding and forcing thousands to be evacuated. It’s not a pretty sight at the CHICKS area, that is, Cauayan, Hinoba-an, Ilog and Candoni, and the cities of Kabankalan and Sipalay.
Or Hinigaran, Himamaylan City, Isabela, Binalbagan, Moises Padilla, La Castellana, La Carlota City and San Enrique, for that matter.
Where there are floods in mountainous areas, expect landslides to follow suit as they did in Salvador Benedicto town, La Castellana, Hinoba-an and Sipalay.
The Philippines ranked third as a key spot for nonearthquake-related landslides worldwide, according to the “Global patterns of loss of life from landslides” posted by the GeoScienceWorld.
How to mitigate the dire effects of heavy rains and supertyphoons? Since Negros Island is mountainous, a UN agency proposes forest enrichment to enhance resilience to climate change and livelihood security in upland and lowland areas.
The practice of forest enrichment has co-benefits to reduce risk and impact of climate variability and extreme weather events with additional potential to contribute to mitigation by reducing emissions and enhancing carbon sinks.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization proposed in its article “Enhancing climate resilience through cultivation of Rambutan for Forest Enrichment, Philippines” the cultivation of Rambutan for forest enrichment addresses to slow down climate change impacts for countries such as the Philippines affected by landslides, mudslides, widespread flooding.
Planting Rambutan is a forest management strategy to improve the present stock of a logged-over forest to improve the density, volume, and species composition using high value producing fruit trees species. Enrichment planting can be successfully used to increase the value of secondary forests and prevent their conversion to other land uses, thus reducing deforestation.
Additionally it helps to stabilize slopes and therewith reduce damages through erosion after heavy rainfall. While reducing the pressure on the forest ecosystem Rambutan is high value fruit tree with promising economic returns.
Since we’re in Rambutan season as well, we can conserve its seeds for strengthening mountain forest conservation and climate change resiliency.
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Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on October 11, 2013.