THE GREENING OF MT. PINATUBO

Introduction

The Greening of Mt. Pinatubo is an exciting concept that shows great promise in its initial implementation in the creation of livelihood projects positively impacting the communities directly involved. Through its efforts, and with the valuable assistance of local and national government agencies as well as the private sector, EPAFI envisions the eventual achievement of almost complete reforestation throughout the areas affected by the Mt. Pinatubo Eruption.

 

The environment of Mt. Pinatubo, even prior to the eruption, experienced large scale degradation due to deforestation caused by illegal logging activities. This resulted in long term gradual soil erosion. These ecological problems created an extensive siltation and flooding of downstream river systems and coastal areas. Apart from siltation, industrial and domestic pollution of the area’s river system continue to be of great significance. The ten river system of this area has been considered to be seriously polluted. This includes the San Fernando and Santa Rita rivers located in Pampanga.

 

Mt. Pinatubo lies within the Zambales and Southern Luzon Biogeographic Zones as defined under the Philippine Protected Area System. Each Zone is believed to contain significant numbers of flora and fauna species that are distinctive and not shared with other biogeographic zones within the country. It is believed that during and after the eruption, an irreversible loss of biodiversity in the area may have occurred.

Prior to the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, the area has been described to be one of the richest botanical areas in Luzon. With the onslaught of lahar, green areas became virtual wastelands. Lahar and pyroclastic materials combined in the immediate vicinity of the volcano and along stream corridors. Slowly the vegetation in the lahar affected areas started regenerating and today, nature continues in its inevitable course.

Recent surveys on the Zambales mountain range have yielded information on the biodiversity of the remaining forested areas to the north of Mt. Pinatubo. Most recently, this work was able to confirm the presence of a number of rare birds, some mammals and reptiles.

Over one third of the region’s land area is utilized for agricultural purposes. Almost one third are grasslands, while more than one-fifth is classified as forest lands. Pampanga and Tarlac are made up mostly of agricultural lands while Zambales, because of its more extensive mountainous terrain is dominated by grasslands and shrublands. Zambales also has the most extensive forest area in the region.

 

(EPAFI File Photos)

List of Vegetation Found in Lahar Affected Areas

Common Name Scientific Name Family Name

• Trees
Datiles
Ipil-Ipil

Kamachile
Talisai
Guava
Araibong

• Weeds and Grasses
Malamakahiya
Kawa-kawayahn
Mutha
Bahu-babu

Balele
Palpaltog
Walis-walisan
Alibangon
-
Talciling baka
Kulapi
-
-
Busikad
Ooko
-
Sili-silihan (Hagonoy)
Cenfrocema
Colantro
Ar-aritus
Native Spinatch
Talahib (Bagokbok)
Cogon
Stargrass
Bamboo
Makahiya
Buche-buche
Kamut pusa
Kang-kong
Malasampaloc
Timon-Timon
Timbo (Rono)
Grama
Palay-palayan
Napier grass
Putok-Putokan

• SHRUB


Muntingla calebura L.
Leucaena leococephala
Pitchecellebium dulce (Roxb.) Benth
Terminalia catappa L.
Psidium guahava L.
Trema orientalis

 


Aeschynamene indica

-
Cyperus pulcheri
Mus Wild and Kunth Ludwigia
Cendens (L) Hara
Elipta alba (L) Hassk
Crotolasia pallida ait.
Sida acuta Burm F.
Commelina diffusa
Kilinga monecephala
Ludirigia octanaluis (jacq.) Rauen
Digitaria setigeria
Roth ex R & S
Blumea laciniata
Cyperus difformis
Mikania cordata
Fimbristylis dicho toma (L.) Vahi.
Chromolaena odorata
Antrocema prostecens
-
-
-
Themada triandra
Imperata cylindrical
Saccherum spontaneum
Bambusa vulgaris
-
-
Typha agustifolia
Ipomoea aquatica
Bhyllanothus nurili
-
-
-
-
Pennisetum purpureum
-
Jathropa specie


Tillacease
Mimosaceae
Mimosaceae

Combretaceae
Myrtaceae
Ulmaceae

 

Papilionaceae

Graminae
Cyperaceae
Anagraceae
Composilae

Papilionaceae
Malvaceae
Commenlinaceae
Cyperaceae
Onaglaceae
Graminae

Composilae
Cyperaceae
Compositae
Cyperaceae
-
Leguminosae
-
-
-
Graminae
-
Graminae
Graminae
-
-
-
-
Euphorbiaceae
-
-
-
-
Garaminae
-
-Euphorblaceae

Pampanga

A comparison of pre-and post-eruption land use/cover of the province of Pampanga is provided below. Based on land use/cover interpretations conducted as part of this study, recent impacts have involved the “loss” or burial by pyroclastic flows or lahar deposits, of an estimated 12,518 ha of former farm land, fishpond developments and woodlands (secondary forests).

PRE- AND POST-ERUPTION LAND USE/COVER
PAMPANGA PROVINCE

LAND USE/COVER Pre-eruption
ha [Percent]
Post-eruption
ha [Percent] 
 Changing
[ha]

Agricultural
Grassland/shrubland
Woodland
Fishpond, wetlands
Urban/ built-up
River bed
Miscellaneous
Pyroclastic flows
Lahar deposits

112,859 [ 51.7]
22,123 [ 10.1]
29,736 [ 13.6]
28,494 [ 13.1]
20,539 [ 9.40]
- -
4,326 [ 2.00]
- -
- -

105,114 [ 51.7]
21,798 [ 10.1]
27,459 [ 13.6]
25,989 [ 13.1]
20,424 [ 9.40]
4,245 [ 2.00]
81
2,602 [ 1.2]
10,356 [ 4.7]

- 7,736
- 325
- 2,277
- 2,505
- 115
+ 4,245
- 4,245
+ 2,602
+10,356
Total 218,068 [100.0] 218,068 [100.0]  

Tarlac

The province of Tarlac includes the influence area of the O’Donnell river basin, as well as a significant part of the Sacobia-Bamban river basin. The province has a total land area of about 305,345 hectares of land, 43.5 percent of which is considered lowland. Like the adjacent province of Pampanga, land use for the province can be described as predominantly agricultural (sugarcane and rice). Tarlac has lost an estimated 10,074 hectares of farmland and woodland due to the pyroclastic flows. Below is a comparison of land use/cover during pre-and post-eruption of Mt. Pinatubo.

PRE- AND POST-ERUPTION LAND USE/COVER
TARLAC PROVINCE

LAND USE/COVER Pre-eruption
ha [Percent]
Post-eruption
ha [Percent] 
 Changing
[ha]

Agricultural
Grassland/shrubland
Woodland
Fishpond, wetlands
Urban/ built-up
River bed
Miscellaneous
Pyroclastic flows
Lahar deposits

140,130 [ 45.9]
84,555 [ 27.7]
52,757 [ 17.3]
352 [ 0.10]
20,785 [ 6.80]
1,524 [ 0.50]
5,242 [ 1.70]
- -
- -


132,337 [ 43.3]
83,917 [ 27.5]
50,476 [ 16.5]
352 [-----]
20,785 [ 6.80]
2,782 [ 0.90]
3,984 [ 1.30]
2,919 [ 0.90]
7,793 [ 2.60]

- 7,793
- 638
- 2,281
-
-
+ 1,258
- 1,258
+ 2,919
+ 7,793
Total 305,345 [100.0] 305,345 [100.0]  

Zambales

The province of Zambales is characterized by complex physical features, ranging from rugged mountain slopes to alluvial coastal plains along the South China Sea. The province has a total land area of 371,440, hectares, 21 percent of which is considered lowland. Compared to Pampanga and Tarlac, Zambales is less developed agriculturally (currently 14 percent) due to its generally rugged terrain. Uncultivated grassland and shrubland now constitute about 50 percent of the provincial land area. It is estimated that a total of 14,165 ha of former farmland, grassland/shrubland and woodland have been covered by the lahar deposits. Zambales also received a large amount of ashfall and pyroclastic flow due to the prevailing wind during the Pinatubo eruption in 1991 (Pierson et al. 1992; PHIVOLCS, 1993; USACE 1993)

PRE- AND POST-ERUPTION LAND USE/COVER
ZAMBALES PROVINCE

LAND USE/COVER Pre-eruption
ha [Percent]
Post-eruption
ha [Percent] 
 Changing
[ha]

Agricultural
Grassland/shrubland
Woodland
Fishpond, wetlands
Urban/ built-up
River bed
Miscellaneous
Pyroclastic flows
Lahar deposits


53,526 [ 14.4]
195,643 [ 52.7]
104,175 [ 28.8]
3,152 [ 0.80]
3,795 [ 1.00]
688 [ 0.10]
10,461 [ 2.80]
- -
- -



51,312 [ 43.3]
182,027 [ 49.8]
102,840 [ 27.7]
3,152 [ 0.80]
3,795 [ 1.00]
7,713 [ 2.10]
3,436 [ 0.90]
11,951 [ 3.20]
2,214 [ 0.60]


- 2,214
- 10,616
- 1,335
NC
NC
+ 1,258
- 1,258
-
-
Total 371,440 [100.0] 371,440 [100.0]  

In its commitment to preserving biodiversity, EPAFI proposes an integrated approach to achieving the reforestation of these affected areas. The program will be divided into three geographical components, these being the provinces of Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales. Initially, EPAFI has chosen three locations involving three Aeta villages: 1) Kapitan Banaba, Brgy. Sapang Uwak, Porac, Pampanga; 2) Sitio Haduan, Mabalacat, Pampanga and; 3) Sitio Tarukan, Santa Juliana, Capas, Tarlac. Project sites and target areas for Zambales have yet to be determined.

An integral aspect of this program is the establishment of seedling banks centrally located within each of the three primary target areas. Each site shall have appropriate provisions such as water sources, electricity and housing for staff. Tree planting activities shall be undertaken by local community participants and volunteers.

This exciting project holds great promise for all and will have a positive impact on the region and its peoples. This is a continuing effort of our Foundation and we invite you to join us in the Greening of Mt. Pinatubo.

 

 
 
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