By CHRIS V. PANGANIBAN
and MELODY C. GEOLAGON
This was realized after the provincial government implemented the Community Awareness on Resources and Environment (CARE) project enjoining municipal and barangay officials to adopt the endangered trees found in their respective areas.
The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office-Local Government Unit (PENRO-LGU) has identified the endemic trees as White Lauan, two kinds of Philippine Iron Wood or Magcono, Dao, Toog and Narra.
Officials at the PENRO-LGU said these rare kinds of trees underwent tedious process in the identification and nomination of possible flora and fauna and inculcating the importance of endemic species conservation before they were submitted for adoption to the host villages where they are still sighted.
Among the towns and villages which adopted the endemic trees are Barangay Bitahon in Esperanza town, Barangay Mabuhay in Prosperidad town and Barangay Santiago in San Luis town for White Lauan, Dao and the two Magcono species in Barangay Alegria in San Francisco town and Narra in the poblacions of Sta. Josefa and Veruela towns.
Studies showed that the White Lauan (Shorea contorta) which belongs to dipterocarp family is considered endemic and classified as critically endangered based on the Red List 2007 of the International Union for Conservation of the Nature (IUCN).
The Philippine Magcono (Xanthostemon verdugonianus), specie of plant which belong to Myrtaceae family is endemic to the Philippines and classified as Vulnerable based on IUCN Red List 2007.
The Dao (Dracontomelon dao) although endemic to the Philippines can be also seen in the forests of Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Thailand.
The Toog (Combretodendron quadrialatum) which is also known as the Philippine Rosewood belongs the Lecythidaceae family. There are only two species of Toog: One occurs in tropical West Africa and the other is found in the Philippines.
The Narra (Pterocarpus indicus) which belongs to the Fabaceae family is the Philippine national tree is also classified as vulnerable based on IUCN Red List 2007.
These tree species can most likely be seen in Mt. Magdiwata range and other mountainous parts of Agusan del Sur, but illegal logging and timber poaching continues to pose threat in its proliferation. The practice of slash and burn agriculture is also one of the causes of its depleting population.
The implementation of the CARE project is considered as a distinct effort to raise the level of environmental awareness of the local government units and their constituents in response to the urgent need to conserve and protect the endangered tree species.
On July 15, 1988, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Education, Culture, and Sports (DECS), and Department of Local Government (DLG) have entered into Memorandum of Agreement which gave birth to CARE.
DENR Administrative Order No. 30 series of 1992 Section 3.2.C, cites that local governments are encouraged to choose, adopt, protect, and conserve flora and fauna species that are unique to the locality.
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