A concerned social media user informed the environment agency that a supposed century-old tree was cut along a forest trail in Rodriguez, Rizal after seeing pictures shared by a mountaineer.
Mountaineer and mountain biker Duanne Vasquez shared a “before” and “after” shots of the tree that was identified as a dao tree by the locals.
It was located on a trail going to the Matulid Falls at Sitio Lubog in Rodriguez, Rizal.
Vasquez said that he took the “before” shot of the tree — as seen on the left side of his post — in 2016, when he and his friend visited the Matulid Falls via mountain bikes.
The “after” shot of the picture — seen on the right side of the post — was taken by a companion of a certain Oliver Solomon, who is a friend of Vasquez’s friend and a fellow mountaineer.
In an online interview with Interaksyon, Vasquez shared that the “after” shot was taken “this past Holy Week,” based on the comments on Solomon’s original post.
The “after” shot showed that the tree was cut down, much to Vasquez’s dismay.
Social media users echoed his sentiments and condemned the cutting as well.
One of them, Rica Ann Hernandez Guelas, shared that she sent a message to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on its Facebook page about Vasquez’s post.
She forwarded the post to the agency and wrote, “Sayang naman (‘yung) puno hundred years na.”
DENR replied that they will be sending the information to its satellite office in Rizal.
Before cutting trees, a permit must be secured from the agency itself, whether the trees are in a public or a private lot. Different instances require specific types of permit as well.
There is a different permit if the trees to be cut are for a government project and a separate one if it is for private purposes.
Importance of preserving mature trees
Mature trees need to be preserved since they provide habitat for wildlife creatures, according to Jerry Franklin of the American Forests Science Advisory.
“Big, old trees aren’t just objects of oddities and objects of interest. We need to have populations of big, old trees present in much our forest landscape in order to provide the kinds of habitat that we need for a lot of our wildlife,” he said in an interview.
A 2014 study published on Nature, an international scientific journal, also indicated that mature trees are able to “capture the most carbon from the atmosphere.”
This means that they could trap such gases that would otherwise contribute to climate change.
Mature trees have the ability to “store nearly 300 billion tons of carbon in their living parts (biomass)—roughly 30 times the annual amount of emissions created by burning fossil fuels,” according to EcoWatch.
If these kinds of trees are cut or destroyed, there is a higher chance of carbon being released to the atmosphere which leads to increased rates of global warming.