by Emma Wright
A revolutionary new conservation project aims to maintain island biodiversity by replanting native trees!
Cebu is a beautiful island in the Philippines filled with strange and endemic species like the Cebu Flowerpecker. This bird was thought to have been extinct when rapid urbanisation of the island lead to heavy deforestation in the early twentieth century. The tiny bird has since been found, hidden in small patches of forest, but it is still under threat of extinction.
Luckily the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) are doing something about this and the other species threatened by loss of habitat on the island. They have set up a project aiming to return lost native trees to the region by planting a staggering 1670 trees per hectare!
Those involved in this project will not only plant the seedlings but also plan to nurture them by watering, fertilizing and, ensuring that the denuded forests will be returned to an area of amazing biodiversity.
In other areas conservation efforts have been made using whatever plants are easily obtained or grown or using plants which may have economic benefits. But for Cebu it was decided that returning the original species to the area would better maintain the existing biodiversity. As Nilo Arribas, a bird watcher and photographer, said ‘we need not just a thick forest, but also a living forest.’