Philippine students need to plant 10 trees to graduate
Posted on April 6, 2021
To regain its forest cover and see forests grow again, the Philippines introduced an interesting law that requires each student to plant 10 trees before graduation.
Deforestation constitutes one of the great global problems, constituting a serious threat to existing biodiversity, a decrease in the absorption capacity of CO2, and the loss of habitat for millions of animal and plant species. Every year we cut down 190 times the size of New York in forest area, something that contributes to enhance and worsen climate change, unbalance ecosystems and promote the sixth mass extinction.
Some countries have taken action in this regard, from Norway's public ban on deforestation to the 1 billion tree plan in Australia against global warming.
Notably, between 1990 and 2005, the Philippines lost 32.3% of its forest cover, partly caused by illegal logging. Since 2015, there has been a slight increase in forested areas in the Philippines thanks to government initiatives and increased law enforcement to address widespread illegal logging in the country. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization's Global Forest Resources Assessment, 221,763 hectares of forest were planted in 2012 in the Philippines alone.
The Philippine House of Representatives introduced new laws like "Family Tree Planting Act" and "Graduation Legacy for Reforestation Act". The latter requires all elementary, high school and college students to plant at least 10 trees before graduation. A series of government agencies are in charge of the establishment of nurseries, production of seedlings and preparation of the site.
Note that, although planting new trees is a positive effort, it should be remembered that old forests have more value in terms of biodiversity and ecological function, such as the ability of older trees to sequester more carbon than newer trees. In addition, it is essential to combat, sanction and apply the law to those industries that benefit from pollution or deforestation.
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