Kathleen A. Martin
January 27, 2011
RATHER THAN IMPOSING a national log ban, the country should instead stop conversion of forest lands for non-forestry uses, an expert on forestry said yesterday.
“Instead of a total logging ban, the Philippines should stop the conversion of forest lands into corporate farms, cattle ranches, golf courses, subdivisions, garbage dumps, and industrial sites and other non-forestry uses,” Ricardo M. Umali, former president of Society of Filipino Foresters, Inc., and former secretary of the Department of Environment & Natural Resources, said in a statement.
Mr. Umali made the statement in response to President Benigno S. C. Aquinoâ€™s pronouncement last Jan. 14 that he was considering a total log ban, and to two pending bills in the Senate, Senate Bills 1360 and 2172.
Mr. Umali said a total log ban does not necessarily stop or minimize flooding, mudflows and landslides, citing that these are the consequences of climate change seen in excessive rains. Mr. Umali also cited that other countries which supposedly have more forest lands than the Philippines, such as Australia and Brazil, are also suffering from flooding due to excessive and heavy rainfall.
“Deforestation in the Philippines is caused mostly by conversion of forests to rangelands of ranchers and livestock growers and to farmlands by landless farmers who practice the destructive kaingin or slash and burn agriculture. Much of the farmed former forests have become marginally productive and should be reforested,” Mr. Umali said, adding that the country can stop deforestation through providing more opportunities for livelihood.
Earlier, the Society of Filipino Foresters, Inc. opposed a national ban on logging, saying that it can discourage investments in the forestry sector.