After Haiyan: Planting forests in the Philippines | Global Ideas | DW | 18.02.2014
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Global Ideas

After Haiyan: Planting forests in the Philippines

The Philippine island of Panay is dotted with rice paddies, fields and meadows, but little forest land. Typhoon Haiyan has changed that: now, trees are planted to protect humans and nature against storms.

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Project goal: Preserving the remaining forest land on Panay to protect the region’s rich biodiversity
Project implementation: Helping local communities develop eco-friendly agroforestry
Project size: Developing critical habitats on a 50,000-hectare plot of forest land
Project volume: Funding from the International Climate Initiative of ca. 2 million euros

The forests of the Philippine island of Panay are home to rare and severely endangered animals and plants. The Panay hornbill nests in tree hollows and depends on old trees in the forests to survive. Even the rare Rafflesia plant grows here whose flowers emit an overpowering smell of rotting flesh. But for decades, the primeval forests here were rampantly chopped down in order to sell wood or to create new agricultural land. Without the protection of the trees, the landscape is completely vulnerable to natural catastrophes such as Typhoon Haiyan. That has put at risk the local biodiversity as well as the livelihoods of residents. That’s why rebuilding and forest protection are at the heart of efforts to revive the area. Supported by local non-governmental organizations and the German development organization (GIZ), the local population is deciding which areas should be protected, where cultivation should be carried out and where reforestation is needed. On hill slopes, farmers are already planting deep-rooted cacao and coffee bushes. That helps to stabilize the soil, reduce erosion and the impact of storms. And in the forests, endangered tree and animal species are beginning to flourish once again.

A film by Christian Jaburg

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