Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Presenting the Other Side of the Tree Cutting Controversy

I was fortunate to be present in a blogger's chat with DENR7 spokesperson Dr. Eddie Llamedo who presented their side of the tree cutting controversy. To recall there is an ongoing debate whether to cut the trees lining the highway in the South such as Naga City. On one side, they are saying that they should be cut since it already poses a danger to those passing the roads where the trees stand as they are old. On the other side, they are citing that the trees should be rehabilitated, pruned or preserved since these are heritage trees. They added that DENR should be for the preservation of trees and not for cutting them.

I will not try to present my own views here. I will just echo what I got from the DENR spokesperson and I will leave the decision to you whether to agree or disagree with him.

Here are some points he mentioned (this is not verbatim, OK?) along with the provincial government environment officer.

  1. The trees are too old. The kind of trees found in Naga City (from what I understand) have an effective "lifespan" of just 100 years. (I do not know what is the proper term to use honestly, if it's relly lifespan). According to him, studies have shown that rehabilitation efforts cannot do much to these kinds of old trees as they are practically dead - hollow in the center and "gabuk".
  2. The danger to those passing the highway or the roads where the trees are is real. Trees such as the narra trees in Naga, have superficial lateral roots according to him. As roads are made and various constructions are done, these lateral roots are cut perhaps unconsciously. The cutting weakens the hold of the roots. With age, the roots of the tree become very vulnerable and with time, the said trees are in danger of falling down to an unsuspecting loaded vehicle or person.
  3. From what I understand also, according to Dr. Llamedo the forest expert who was previously asked regarding his stand on the cutting of the trees which eventually recommended not cutting the said trees was not a tree pathologist. The tree pathologist is the better judge whether the tree is for cutting or not based on its state of "health".
  4. The government including the DENR is not promoting the cutting of trees and they are said to be also for a livable community. However they mentioned that how can a community be livable when upon passing a road, you are always scared about what might happen to you if that big old tree will fall on you? It's just those trees that pose a danger that they recommended for cutting. And they will plant more to replace the cut ones.
So there you have it. Does this change your view or not?

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