Youth leadership, capacit
This was emphasized by forestry and conservation experts who are also trained Climate Reality Leaders from the Philippines and Indonesia during the World Environment Day episode of the Klimatotohanan
Anne Marie Mananquil-Bakker, Director for Partnerships at non-profit organization Fostering Education and Environment for Development (FEED) Philippines
“To be honest, they [media] will respond when it comes from you, the youth. Don’t underestimate your power. Keep at it. Consolidate yourselves. Consolidate across the ASEAN region and then you have the voice for change,” Mananquil-Bakker told
Philippine forest cover is down to about only seven (7) million hectares or 23% of the country’s total land area from over 90% during pre-colonial times. Even with a National Greening Program and log ban in place, forest loss persists, and gains from reforestation efforts in some parts of the country are erased by losses in others.
The 2019 Special Report on Climate Change and Land of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s top scientific body on climate change, has identified the forestry and land use sector as a significant net source of greenhouse gas emissions. Continuous deforestation and land degradation, however, will chip away at this carbon sink.
Raiza Mae Togado, Forest Monitoring Officer for the National Greening Program of the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources, explained during the webcast that the key drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in the Philippines include agricultural and infrastructure expansion, land conversion, and climate change.
A lot of constraints in reforestation and forest conservation efforts, Mananqui
Mananquil-Bakker also emphasized the need to ensure the sustainability, replicability, and scalability of reforestation and climate action projects moving forward. “What we try to design is a sustainable project that can be replicated in other parts of the country, can be scaled up, is designed on best practice for the community, by the community. All the science of development and forestry must be there. Otherwise, we shouldn’t do it,” she said.
Deforestation rates in Indonesia hit a historic low in 2020 due to various government policies such as a permanent ban on the clearing of forests and peatlands, a moratorium on oil palm plantation licenses, forest fire mitigation, and a social forestry program. However, while Indonesia’s forest cover is at 50.9%, its Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement allows up to 325,000 hectares of deforestation per year to supposedly leave room for economic development, potentially clearing 3.25 million hectares of rainforest by 2030.
Pointing out that the root of the problem is lack of awareness, Dr. Puji Rianti, environmental activist, researcher, and lecturer at the FMIPA IPB University in Indonesia, said that there is a need to educate the public on how forests, including everything in it, support not only those in nearby communities but also those living in the metropolitan areas.
Mahardika Putra Purba, Research and Program Consultant at Indonesia-based non-government organization Alam Sehat Lestari, meanwhile, underscore
This special Klimatotohanan ep