Why your tree planting isn’t helping the Philippine environment

Hundred foot trees have to start small

Planning to join a tree planting event?

Hold up, you might be doing more harm than good.

As far as helping nature goes, “Plant a tree” probably rules the Top 10 list of things you can do for nature, beating out “Recycle” and “Don’t litter.”

And for good reason.

I’ve been taught since I was a kid, and you probably were too, that trees create oxygen, store water, house wildlife, and that planting a tree does a whole lot of good in the world.

It does, but too bad they never taught us how to do it the right way.

It turns out, many tree planting activities today are flawed, creating “forests” that fail to give these benefits.

I was disappointed that while I may get that warm fuzzy feeling of having contributed to the conservation of the environment, the actual help I do may be less than what I think.


Because not all trees are equal.

Some of them are actually better at restoring nature simply because they originally made up the forest when it still existed instead of being imported from someplace else.

One of these exotic species I’ve encountered that end up damaging the local environment instead of helping it is Mahogany. It is also one of the many trees prioritized for planting in the Philippines.

Take for example, the government’s own National Greening Program, a project that aims to plant 1.5 billion trees by 2016. Of the 25 million seedlings prepared as of 2011, guess how many are exotic to the country?

NGP pie chart of native and exotic species
That many.

I’m singling out Mahogany because its pretty special in its own way.

Even though it grows naturally in South America and not in the Philippines, Mahogany grows really really well here because it can transform the soil until it becomes what it needs to survive.

Sounds like a superpower right? It actually sounds kinda cool, in a super villain kind of way.

So why is this bad?

Because it prevents native trees that face extinction from growing.

You see, mahogany is self-centered and vain. It doesn’t care what the others around it are feeling. It won’t share its position in the food chain and if you don’t like it, GTFO.

Regina George is Mahogany in disguise
Regina George was originally meant to be a metaphor for Philippine forests

It just so happens that soil with a serving of acidity that Mahogany loves so much isn’t so good for other organisms.

This makes them very invasive and able to choke out other plants. I learned from this review of local reforestation studies that the pseudo-forests they make up are often devoid of wildlife when compared to natural forests.

You won’t see much bacteria in the soil, insects on its leaves, birds on its branches, nor anything else you’d expect to find in a real forest.

You can see the difference for yourself by visiting Bohol’s man made Mahogany forest in Bilar, which is as close to a biological dead zone as you’re gonna get.

Bagras, a tree native to Mindanao
I mean, wouldn’t you want something more fabulous? Like Bagras, i.e. rainbow eucalyptus.  Yes, that’s really purple and gold. Photo from Phil Native Trees 101.

Here’s one example I found of what we are set to lose:

You might be familiar with Narra because it was either your section in grade school, or you remember an Araling Panlipunan lesson on how it’s our national tree.

Well, Narra is classified as Vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

And it’s not the only one.

I did a quick search on the official Red List of Species that revealed that Molave, Apitong, Rafflesia, and 682 other native plants (so far) are threatened with extinction.

I didn’t even know we had that many.

This massive disappearance is mainly due to habitat loss, meaning the destruction of forests, which is made even worse by their natural range being taken over by exotic species.

So should you and I still be planting trees?


Our forests have been steadily disappearing for the past century so if we want to survive for several more, I think we definitely should.

After all, we only have 3% of original forests where native trees grow left in the country. That’s primarily thanks to decades of both legal and illegal logging, conversion of forest lands, unsustainable management, and a number of non-Mahogany related factors.

But including artificial "forests" for production, the DENR says there is 23% is left.
But including artificial “forests” for production, the DENR says 23% is left. From the Haribon Foundation.

Just do it correctly and remember what it is you’re planting for.

If you want to conserve nature and prevent extinctions, go join a tree planting activity for native species. Check out this page for a list of the right trees you can plant.

If you’re looking to grow trees to cut them down later on, find an isolated area and go crazy with mahogany.

Wildlife can be picky when choosing where to live. Most nests of the critically endangered Philippine Eagle, the largest in the world, are made on native trees like Red Lauan (also critically endangered) that reach over a hundred feet high.  
Click here to learn more about the Philippine Eagle and see the rare photo of it getting ready to feast on a monkey.

This post was written by volunteer nature lovers. If you think it was helpful, please consider sharing it on Facebook and Twitter to help raise awareness about the Philippine environment.
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  • thelighttraveler
    October 30, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    Very informative. I heard about the government’s National Greening Program, but I did not know that majority of the species they are planting are non-native ones. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      October 30, 2014 at 6:42 pm

      Thank you! I didn’t know about it either until I started researching about it a year ago. I’ve been told that it’s better than nothing, but why not do it properly if you’re going to invest so much in it?

      • Dexter David
        November 18, 2016 at 12:39 pm

        hi po. Im Dexter from kidapawan city, We are currently creating KIDAPAWAN GREENING PROGRAM. Can we contact you so that we could collaborate regarding our project? my email is haring.david.dd@gmail.com. hope to contact you.

      • Concepcion Romero
        September 29, 2018 at 1:37 am

        I beg to disagree with your observation that mahogany is invasive thus prohibiying other trees to survive..this is not true..i have a private plantation and i was able to intercrop this tree with other hardwood and fruit trees.I guess the mahogany plantation that you have observed was planted at a closer spacing of 2m x 2m so that as they grow, there is high competition for sunlight. Those that recieve a better sunlight became dominant and the other suppress.Regardingbthe wildlife, i have seen a pair of “ibong kilyawan” frequently visiting and even nesting on them.

    • Uli
      November 10, 2014 at 11:47 pm

      I am from Mama Earth Davao and we planted 705,000 mangroves in the Gulf of Davao, but also in intercropping system 100,000 mahogany tees for lumber purposes. This is also on the way to protect the remaining virgin forest for illegal logging. We plant also in different areas many endemic trees: In our opinion are only one way successful: Different ways! Thanks.

      • Feeling Environmentalist
        November 11, 2014 at 10:33 am

        Hi Uli! Good to hear about your work with Mama Earth Davao (great name by the way). You’re right, there are different ways we can help, but I hope your Mahogany trees were planted in the right area.

      • Concepcion Romero
        September 29, 2018 at 1:43 am

        Mangroves will only survive within the mangrove zones in the coastal ecosystem.It should not be planted in seagrass beds or in beach area.

    • Ilikecats23
      July 10, 2016 at 9:11 pm

      dude your artical is crap no one gives a shit about what you are saying

      • Jen
        November 24, 2016 at 2:58 am

        you are crap to think crap when educating your crap mind will uncrap you.

  • Crescentine
    October 31, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    This is very very informative. I’ll share this with other people when going on tree planting activities! I love learning new things / facts like this!

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      October 31, 2014 at 6:49 pm

      Thanks Crescentine! I’ll make sure to write more stuff like this then.

  • Dace T.
    October 31, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    This is an eye opener. I don’t really pay so much attention to this fact until I trekked up to Lake Holon (in my hometown Tboli, South Cotabato) last March. There is a small village called Sitio Nabol. It got its name from the dense Nabol trees (Elaeocarpus gigantifolius) that used to exist in the area. There are already few trees standing these days. The dwindling number of native trees species in the Philippines has reached a very alarming level. The only solution is to plant. The time is now, and we need to do it fast.

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      October 31, 2014 at 9:45 pm

      Hi Dace! Thanks for the info about Nabol, I wasn’t aware of it until now. I would love to see it. The IUCN list says it’s also Vulnerable to extinction though, maybe you can gather up some of its seeds for future planting?

      • Dace T.
        October 31, 2014 at 9:56 pm

        I’m sure it is vulnerable to extinction. My brother had photos of Nabol trees in the same are 2 years ago and I saw a lot. When I went up last March, I could easily count the last few standing. Nabol trees are huge and tall and beautiful to look at. I will coordinate with our local gov’t unit for the seeds. I will keep you posted. 🙂

  • D
    November 2, 2014 at 8:27 am

    I used Falcata as border trees for my farm in Mindanao but we will harvest it for wood soon (if I can get past the barricade from insurgents) but I am wondering if I am using the right tree the right way or should I find an alternative?

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      November 3, 2014 at 10:18 am

      Hi D! I suppose that you chose Falcata because it can be harvested in a relatively short time? I heard that it’s a favorite in plantations for that reason. I’m not an expert on Falcata, but I think it should be ok as long as your farm is away from forests and not on the uplands.

      There are better alternatives though that you can try after you harvest your next batch. Check out this manual for Rainforestation Farming, which is a method of using native trees to support the growth of crops and fruit trees.

      Have you also tried including Abaca in your farm? It’s a good fast strategy to do while you’re still starting out with Rainforestation Farming, which can take several years to be fully functional. Here’s a manual for that 🙂

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  • Ross Gardner
    November 5, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    An example of misguided government policy towards the environment? Surely not?

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      November 5, 2014 at 9:54 pm

      It hurts to admit, but unfortunately it is. Its been known through local studies since the mid 1990s too that exotic trees are harmful.

      • Ross Gardner
        November 7, 2014 at 4:07 am

        Shame. Familiar story though (hence my rather sarcastic comment above). Not quite the same, but it’s a bit like when you by toilet rolls in the shops over here and says on the packet something like: “for every tree we cut down we plant two in its place”, but they never say which trees they are planting. Good that there’s folk like you to make the point.

  • Rowie Boquiren
    November 8, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    Support the Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation, Inc. (PTFCF) and the Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE), two NGOs that extend grants (financial assistance) to appropriate actions of responsible people who are in forest conservation. I should know, I had been its BOT member for many years! Link up with them, their connection can be goggled.

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      November 8, 2014 at 9:07 pm

      Hi Rowie, thanks for the info! So honored that this post somehow reached you. I will definitely add the FPE in my list of local NGOs to contact in order to find out which issues need more attention.

      I’ve found that while there are many conservation orgs who do great work in the Philippines, I feel like most of them can still do a lot in terms of translating their findings/lessons into a more easily understandable and mainstream form. From my limited experience, most of them only create scientific papers or technical management plans? That is just my opinion though. This is one of the major reasons why I decided to put this blog up so having you here is boosting my motivation to do so 🙂

      I’m a corporate writer, but I’ve always wanted to contribute my skills (no matter how imperfect) for an advocacy, similar to how BOT members like you take the time to help manage the FPE. Hopefully I can do this full time someday.

      • Joy Oh
        November 10, 2014 at 8:09 am

        thank you.. keep up the good work

      • lagataw
        November 10, 2014 at 11:23 pm

        This makes a lot of sense! The reason why advocacies that make sense get hushed up by the less relevant sometimes vain ones is that they are inaccessible to the masses. This blog has turned the good cause into something mainstream. And this is really selfless! It must have been tough deciding whether to package a cause as sacred as this in a vile style as 9gag’s.
        But the fight is tough because those less relevant pseudo-causes are peddled around by big corporations who control the media…Nobody really bothered to ask what becomes of the world when we turn off our lights for an hour..or when we use paper bags instead of plastic…We just take it for granted that those causes are good because ABS CBN says so. It is not every day that we find writers like you guys who can make use of a special skill to get across a politics-and-corruption-free message to the public so as to create a massive relevant change. I have already started sharing your articles.

        • Feeling Environmentalist
          November 11, 2014 at 10:35 am

          Hi Lagataw! I really wanted to make this issue mainstream so I appreciate your compliment that it’s working 🙂

      • KimberlyTheBrave
        November 12, 2014 at 3:56 pm

        This is what we actually need at present,people who serve as bridge between the scientific community and the people in general. Im an ecology major and am aspiring to spread this advocacy in our region as well:) Keep up the good work!:)

  • Fredd Ochavo
    November 10, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Great article!

  • Fredd Ochavo
    November 10, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    aside from the Bolivian Mahogany which you mentioned above, Auri (Acacia auriculiformis) is also self-centered and vain. But until now, this species is still being used for reforestation at Mt. Balagbag which is part of Ipo Watershed.

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      November 10, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      I appreciate the compliment Fred 🙂 Thanks for the info about Auri too! Would you happen to know which groups are behind Ipo’s reforestation? I haven’t been there yet, but maybe we can reach out to them.

  • Jowa
    November 10, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    Just shared your article, this is what I really fear the most. the day when our native species will disappear along with the birds and insects. We plant too many mahoganies and non-native ornamental plants. Also who knows what kind of diseases/viruses/bacteria these imported plants would bring to our ecosystem. Our Baranggays, towns and cities are named after the our native trees (Maynilad, Calumpang, Bakawan etc.) Lets keep planting native trees~!

  • Eric Gerard Nebran
    November 11, 2014 at 4:43 am

    Effie Trinket should be informed about this!

  • liquiddruid
    November 11, 2014 at 5:10 am

    I’ve read about that dead forest in Bohol some 2 years ago and why it was one big clusterf*ck of a mistake. Hopefully the DENR learns about it and adjusts their reforestation priorities.

  • frchito
    November 11, 2014 at 5:23 am

    Reblogged this on Kalakbay at Katoto and commented:
    To friends who might want to help, but don’t know how … here are some useful tips

  • Mike Dorado
    November 11, 2014 at 7:25 am

    great article! We planted around 2000 mahogany trees in laguna. I wanted to get rid of them last year after learning that mahogany is a dominant self centered tree. When typhoon Glenda hit us onky 16 remained. Nature is now giving me a chance to replace them with our native species.

    I hope we can find a list of where to plant those local endangered species so that next time we go tree planting we’re planting the right species.

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      November 11, 2014 at 10:30 am

      Hi Mike! Based on the experience of people I’ve asked, you might have to do something to rejuvenate the soil before native trees can grow in it again 🙁

    • Frankie
      January 8, 2015 at 9:34 pm

      I read somewhere a long time ago about the perils of planting non native trees to reforest our country. The native fauna don’t recognize them as habitat or food source. And these trees have not evolved to “live” with our natural calamities. Just take a look around whenever a strong typhoon has passed by. The native trees like narra, lauan, molave, coconut, etc are relatively intact with only a few broken branches, while the imports like mahogany, acacia (rain tree) are usually fallen or badly broken.

  • amadorandrea
    November 11, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Maybe a factor to planting Mahogany is its use for construction. (Are they being planted to be harvested via illegal logging??)

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      November 11, 2014 at 10:28 am

      Hi Drei! From what I’ve read, I think you’re right. A big reason why Mahogany was imported to the Philippines was for construction materials because they grow fast and need little help. Unfortunately, they became a problem when people started falling in love with it a little too much and started planting it outside of lumber plantations (which are supposed to be isolated from natural forests).

  • jubiem
    November 11, 2014 at 9:14 am

    thank you for sharing this. Its very informative and challenging. Conserve our environment the right way.

  • klarenz
    November 11, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Informative article…just want to share of the 2 nat’l govt financed programs in cagayan valley, manggo trees in middle sorrounded by 2 lanes narra and mahogany (very slow growing tree) as mark of division of adjacent lot and the coconut tree planting. Can we consider this as reforestation program as the govt rep. (DENR & Phil.coconut auth.) claim?

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      November 11, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      Thanks Klarenz! I’m not an expert, but that sounds like rainforestation farming for livelihood? That’s another alternative to try. You can read about in this manual.

  • Noreen
    November 11, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Informative but hated your RG metaphor. Is it possible to share the article sans that picture?

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      November 11, 2014 at 3:56 pm

      Thanks for the feedback Noreen! I was really wondering how people would react to that metaphor. What do you think would be a good alternative to it? You can actually choose the picture that will show when you share it on Facebook.

      • liquiddruid
        November 11, 2014 at 4:03 pm

        Leave RG there. It’s your blog.

  • markbalido
    November 11, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    I have attended a planning on tree planting which will be implemented very soon, and I learned that not all mahogany are exotic trees. There are species of mahogany which are natives in the Philippines. Examples are lawaan and apitong. They are both species of mahogany. 🙂

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      November 11, 2014 at 7:01 pm

      Thanks for reading Mark! The Mahogany I describe here is Sweetenia macrophylla, but you’re correct that there are native Philippine Mahogany species. But, based on what I’ve read, Apitong and Lawaan/Lauan are better referred to as dipterocarps (which we need more of). Calling them Philippine Mahogany may have added to the confusion that lead to people planting the exotic type. Besides, it’s much better to use their local names 🙂

      • ppe
        January 8, 2015 at 9:28 am

        I believe most people who plant “mahogany” here indeed plant lauan. Moreover bagras is pretty but sucks up so much water from the water table which is why it’s only planted in swampy areas.

  • ohyes
    November 12, 2014 at 1:17 am

    If, hypothetically, all the native trees and shrubs of a country with very few people belonging to indigenous, tribal groups, were to be replaced by imported ones, and all the endemic animals of that country get affected by this and become extinct, setting aside symbolic importance and any other attachment to local wildlife, how exactly would this change that country’s human way of life aside from incurring some losses in the tourism, food (exotic native animals), construction (native woods) and agricultural (I don’t even see how this is connected) sector?

  • Carlos
    November 12, 2014 at 9:30 am

    The native vs exotic debate is old. Yes, native trees would be ideal, but you also have to understand that the land is not the same as it was before when said species flourished. Lack of habitat due to human encroachment is actually the greatest contributor to extincinction. Not what we label as invassive. Because technically humans are the single most invassive of all species in nature.

    Correct we do need trees so any bit helps. Whether it’s mahogany or nara, or a mango tree we need it.

    To say mahogany or a certain species is invasive though is incorrect. Nature knows best, and it grows what it can grow where it can grow it. We only label species we don’t like as invassive. Nature will grow where conditions are favorable.

    To understand it more I recommend you read Masanobu Fukuoka’s one straw revolution. Or Toby hemenway’s gaias garden. These two books will help you understand why there is no such thing as in invassive species. It’s only us humans who call it such.

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      November 12, 2014 at 10:25 am

      Thanks for those resources Carlos! I agree that the main cause of extinctions is lack of habitat (part of that is forests being transformed in to other use areas), but I have to disagree with your other points.

      As I’ve said in the post, Mahogany (the Sweitenia macrophylla kind) is not natural in the country. Because of this, it has little relationships with other organisms in the local ecosystem. Organisms have their ecological nich, and the environment has its own checks and balances that prevent one species from overrunning the entire place. Nature does know best, which is why mahogany seeds aren’t capable of spreading from South America to the Philippines on its own. If you think people actively importing mahogany to the country is a natural process (like pollination), then where do you draw the line? Do the buildings people put up in the middle of forests also count as natural?

      Another example I can think of is climate change and global warming. They are both normal processes, but they have been accelerated beyond natural levels due to the higher amount of emmissions. Would you still call the rate it is affecting the world natural?

    • liquiddruid
      November 12, 2014 at 3:25 pm

      You have already contradicted yourself. You consider humans encroaching on forests as particularly invasive, yet you don’t think it’s invasive when humans introduce trees from one habitat to another and the latter gets disrupted.

      “you also have to understand that the land is not the same as it was before when said species flourished” — But of course! It’s precisely because of that human element.

  • KimberlyTheBrave
    November 12, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Reblogged this on Ang Manlalayag.

  • KimberlyTheBrave
    November 12, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Indeed.we should’ve already learned the dangers of invasive species by now,learning from our past mistakes:) (golden apple snails and bufo marinus were supposed to help agriculture on pest management but became pests themselves; mahogany prevents other trees from growing in its periphery; janitor fish in laguna de bay wiped out other species in the area). Passion and good intentions should always be partnered with informed actions 🙂
    You have a great blog here :)))

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      November 12, 2014 at 6:26 pm

      I hope that we’ll learn from those examples too, Kimberly 🙂 “Passion and good intentions should always be partnered with informed actions” <– I like that way you phrased that!

      • myla
        November 13, 2014 at 9:23 am

        You got a very good article. Im from Bohol and im very sad to hear that we have a dead forest in our province. Our government should step forward and educate people about this matter. They should be distributing seedlings that are really eco friendly. I just hope that they are aware of the impact of planting mahogany trees. Reeducate people. Create awareness. When i was a kid i used to grow mahogany as these is being taught and distributed for tree planting. I hope our children should be educated first. Im a mother and and ofw. In my own little way i will start educating my children. Good luck to your cause. Im sharing your article now

      • ohyes
        November 13, 2014 at 9:39 am

        Yes I agree that the introduction of other species of flora and fauna will ‘destroy’ the current ecosystem of an isolated area such as the Philippine archipelago, but at the same time the same ecosystem will adapt to the change, including humans. Trees in particular have a neat way of ‘terraforming’ their occupied region. In my opinion this is no different from, say, the hypothetical extinction of the carabao. Even if it changes things, maybe to the extent of affecting the human population, I still don’t see why it’s an issue. Maybe you’re talking about preserving the ecological status quo?

  • igol
    November 13, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    Exactly! Thanks for taking the effort to raise public awareness on this issue. it was tough enough getting the DENR to agree on the 5 million native tree seedlings. As foresters, the lot of them should have known better yet they insist on doing this. Something doesn’t feel right. Neither the science nor the socio-economic aspects make any sense….

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      November 14, 2014 at 10:27 am

      Thanks for reading Igol! I agree, but one of their reasoning behind it is that exotic trees will be able to provide livelihood when they are harvested several years after they plant. Whether the benefit of that is greater than the benefit of ecological services of native forests, is another topic 🙂

  • George Isaac Florendo Asibal
    November 15, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    Nice post. Brings a lot of awareness. Kinda gets your blood boiling on how our government can be so stupid sometimes.

    Why not diversify though? I think you can plant both native and exotic trees/plants. You just have to design the land properly. Have you guys heard of permaculture?

    Check out what this guy has been doing on his land —–> https://www.facebook.com/renanteareola?fref=nf

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      November 17, 2014 at 10:08 pm

      Thanks for reading George! Haven’t seen an application of permaculture yet, but I agree that combining both can definitely be beneficial. As long as you do the proper preparations, of course.

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    November 17, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Thank you for posting the true situation of the different tree planting/growing/parenting.

    This will enlighten the minds of different organizers and will focus on the most applicable solutions to address climate change and disaster risk and reduction.

    Special Project Chairman/ Public Relations Officer- Board of Director ,
    Pollution Control Association of the Philippines, Inc.-XII

    505 Disaster Rescuers for Emergencies, Assistance and Management.

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      November 17, 2014 at 10:06 pm

      Hi Marlon! I hope this will be helpful in your work. If you’ve got other issues you think should get more attention, let us know 🙂

  • lifelustwandergirl
    November 18, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Amusing to read this post because I got myself involved in one of these tree planting activities. Thumbs up for the information provided here.!

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      November 18, 2014 at 5:46 pm

      Thanks for reading Patty! That makes two of us who got into tree planting before knowing how it should be done.

  • dax
    November 20, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Thank you for this post and the links you included along with it. Really useful stuff.

  • Ed Abuan
    November 22, 2014 at 1:52 am

    HI, you are partly right in what you were writing but otherwise, many of them are not really supported by science or research or plane common sense. The first question you should ask when doing tree planting is to ask yourself: What for? Then you will start to consider factors that will guide you. If you are planting for environmental reason, then you start with the wrong foot. Why? You don’t need to plant! Nature can take care of itself. Want evidence? Go around the city or town or barangay where you are now and take a look at lots which are left alone and undisturbed. Even with a concrete on top of the lot you will soon find out grasses and small herbs starting to grow. In just few months you will soon find out (assuming the lot remained undisturbed) that small shrubs usually leguminous start emerging and before the year ends, small trees will start to emerge. The common ones are called manzanitas, binunga and balanti. There are also species belonging to the jackfruit family like is-is. If you are planting to use the wood later on, then you would consider trees with high value and preferably local or endemic and not introduced. You have choices of dipterocarps which have the species red and white lauan, bagtikan, yakal, guijo, apitong and many others. There are other types of premium wood producing trees like narra , tindalo, molave, nato and ipil. Mahogany and gmelina are two of the common exotic trees with lumber highly acceptable and widely used by many furniture makers in the country. It is very hard to collect seeds of dipterocarps because they don’t flower every year and once they do flower and produce fruits these are easily attacked by insects or eaten by small animals. Besides, it will take 50 to 100 years to grow them to commercial size. You may be wrong to believe that narra is a threatened species. It is very easy to propagate and there are many sources of trees where you can collect fruits. The real threatened species which I seldom see now is Tindalo. Mahogany and gmelina takes only 8 to 15 years to become harvestable. That is why, it might be wrong and purely ignorant to simply lump all introduced species as bad like mahogany. Want examples of introduced trees or plants in the Philippines? Examples are avocado, corn, cacao, coffee. Are these plants bad? I wish to write so much more. Hope to do soon. God bless.

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      November 23, 2014 at 11:10 pm

      Hi Ed! You brought up a lot of good discussion points. I wrote this primarily to make people think whether what they are doing is really having the effect they want it to. This is why I especially like the “What for?” question you presented: because most people enter tree planting for the broad purpose of “helping the environment”. What I included here is the way one common example (mahogany) doesn’t do that.

      If you read until the end, I said that if you want to plant trees to cut them down later on for lumber go for mahogany. Same goes with cacao, coffee, etc. which are all part of the government’s NGP and have become sources of livelihood and everyday food. I agree with you that we definitely need them despite being exotic to the Philippines (I can see where you’re coming from because I didn’t really include this point for the sake of brevity and focused instead on the aforementioned purpose). The problem I stated in the article still exists though when they’re planted in areas where the good they bring is being offset by the bad (in watershed/protected/national park areas with great ecological worth) making it not contribute much towards “helping the environment” part.

      You could also click on the links in the article itself to check the sources I used. I’d appreciate it if you can let me know if you find something that shouldn’t be there. Maybe you can let me know too when you get to write more about the points you raised to make more people understand the importance of having a purpose 🙂

      • Joshua Mendoza
        January 9, 2015 at 1:07 pm

        The National Greening Program actually ensures that ONLY native growing species are planted in watersheds and Protected Areas. The Forestry Management Bureau (FMB) which is the arm of the DENR tasked to spearhead this project has always collaborated with Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) in this endeavor.

    • Jojit
      July 7, 2017 at 11:34 am

      Nice comment. I couldn’t agree more with the idea that there is no such thing as bad or good tree. All trees sequester carbon. They all produce oxygen. They all end up as food or home to certain animal or fungi. I’ve seen termites attacking mahogany. I’ve seen wasps cutting edges of mahogany leaves. I’ve talked with an official of MCME about mahogany being water voracious and he said that there is no proof of that yet. Mahogany may not be a good species for boosting biodiversity but for sure it has its important uses even to the environment.

      • Feeling Environmentalist
        November 24, 2018 at 10:13 am

        Yes agreed, even mahogany has its practical uses and it’s better to have a tree than nothing at all. But this doesn’t mean it should be mahogany everywhere when there are better alternatives available?

        • Jaime Bondoc
          February 27, 2021 at 2:46 pm

          Hi! I am JB007. I UNDETSTAND that people from DENR had their solid background in classifying and identifying different species of trees. I just can’t reconcile to myself WHY DENR resorted into choosing MAHOGANY and other exotic trees when PH government waved it’s National Greening Program as it’s global warming crisis solution, with the DENR as it’s lead agency. With all horrible calamities that happened in the Phil. brought about by strong typhoons (like Yolanda to name one), It’s high time to rethink wiser and long-term solutions on how to do “reforestation”. For God’s sake and for the sake of all God’s creation, gasgas na itong nakasanayang reforestation with Mahogany, Acasia Mangium, etc. Let’s popularize the correct solution which is the RAINFORESTATION! it is the only way that we can truly preserve the remaining forests and hopefully, keeping the remaining species that are classified as endangered. It is not for us that we do it, it’s for the coming generation. It is not for money, but for the many. Genuine concern for the environment should be the prime motive of Greening Program and the preservation of the ecosystem should be the expected outcome. The input is kind of a hard thing to do: the political will to do it all with all the sincerity at the heart of doing it.

  • moirainori77
    November 25, 2014 at 7:14 am

    Reblogged this on Sunflowers for Moira and commented:
    For tree-planters and tree-lovers out there.

  • karinsnatureblog
    December 16, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    There is the ‘ Trees for the Future ‘ organization’s who is specialised in growing sustainable forests with great success for over 20 years.Amongst other projects they have they replant desdicated areas with the correct trees who have been cut down but also grow mixed sustainable forest gardens which feed the farmers and give them also a income without having further need to take down existing trees.
    They are all professionals and can be hired by any government around the globe.So tree planting yes, but best left to professionals who have studied nature.

  • JP
    December 17, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Hello po. Sadly the authorities here are behind in recognizing invasive plants. Here is what other experts and countries think about Acacia auriculiformis (an iconic but invasive plant in the Philippines) from cabi,org:
    “In Florida, USA, A. auriculiformis is a category 1 alien plant (Langeland and Burks, 1998). Space et al. (2000) list A. auriculiformis among species that are invasive elsewhere and are invasive or potentially invasive on the Pacific island of Chuuk. Similarly, PIER (2001) grouped A. auriculiformis among species that are known to be invasive elsewhere, and are common or weedy in Tonga. Further monitoring in the anticipation that this species might spread more rapidly was recommended. A. auriculiformis is presently rare or uncommon in American Samoa but was listed among those naturalized species considered invasive elsewhere and classed as common or weedy. A. auriculiformis is also listed as a category 2 invasive plant species in the Bahamas (BEST Commission, 2003). Islam (2002) reports that following recent introduction of this species to Bangladesh, A. auriculiformis germinates naturally in plantation forests and prevents the germination of native species. It is one of 17 plant species named on a preliminary list of invasive alien species for Singapore (Tan and Tan, 2002). Starr et al. (2003) recommended the eradication of A. auriculiformis in Hawaii, USA, where it is presently sparingly cultivated on Maui, to prevent its invasion.”

  • jaypoy
    January 5, 2015 at 8:25 am

    The way i look, exotic trees is not the only reasons why tree planting activities isn’t helping the environment, it is because of the management. Example NGP in ARMM, if you look at the report the project have already 100% completed, but if you go to the ground out of 100 hectars plantation site, there are only 5-10 hectars had been planted for picturial and justification purposes only. Mostly ghost project ghost benificiaries.

  • skies_101
    January 5, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    Thanks for sharing this very informative article sir! Now i know.
    As what I have observed in our area, planting mahogany trees degraded the area and lessen the growth of other trees. We have coffee trees planted in a mountainous area somewhere in Iloilo wherein it is planted together with Ipil-ipil trees because of their slim bark and wide leaf coverage that protects the coffee trees from direct hit of sunlight and storms. Some areas were planted with mahoganies together with coffee trees but sad to say, all those coffee trees beneath those mahoganies were suddenly withered and died. Theres also an area where there is some huge native trees like Lauan, Talisay and many more naturally grown trees. Although coffee trees were dwarfed with their neighbouring native trees and their trunks were slim yet they survive with their ecosystem unlike of those planted along with exotic mahoganies…

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      January 14, 2015 at 9:11 pm

      Thanks for sharing Skies! You might in interested in researching rainforestation farming for techniques on growing crops using both native and exotic species 🙂

  • Hemres Alburo
    January 6, 2015 at 9:10 am

    We have no idea what are the negative effects of planting mahogany to the ecosystem when we started early reforestation efforts in the Philippines. We just realized this in the 1990s just in time when we also realized the importance of biodiversity. It is really surprising that DENR as a whole is promoting mahogany and other exotics when biodiversity conservation is one of its goals. In Cebu however, mahogany is still planted in some NGP sites although it is not substantial base on results of our validation.

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      January 14, 2015 at 9:10 pm

      Yes, studies regarding native vs exotic I found were mostly from the 1990s. Maybe Mahogany supplies being rampant today is a remnant of the time and focus given to them prior to those studies being made. Things are changing for the better though!

  • fsomintac
    January 7, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    not considered officially as a Tree, nor one of the National Philippine Stamp.. but it sure is an Expressive Symbol of Ours-Filipinos.

  • Carmelita Hansel
    January 8, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Read your post up to the end, including all the comments and your informed replies. Keep up the good intelligent writing. I will read your other articles once I have more time. Apparently, you’re not a single person but a number. Kudos to you all.

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      January 14, 2015 at 9:06 pm

      Thank you Carmelita! We’re actually looking for more contributors if you’re interested in sharing your expertise 🙂

  • Joshua Mendoza
    January 9, 2015 at 1:01 pm


    This a well written and informative article, but some parts of it is misleading. I worked in the DENR as an object 29 during the conception of the NGP program so I would want to add information that is relevant to the article.

    The National Greening Program is not merely a reforestation effort of the government but is also a sustainable livelihood program for forest dwellers among others.The article describes mahogany as an invasive tree and shows a graph with a label “Mahogany & other Exotic Species” which may lead people to think the the government is majorly planting invasive species, which is not the case. If we delve deeper into the data, only a certain amount of the trees planted are mahogany. A question may arise “why are we planting an invasive specie in the first place?” the answer for that question is simple, it is what the stakeholders or the beneficiaries of the NGP requested for such species. The choosing of the species to be planted is generally determined by the the People’s Organization (PO) and Foresters. They base it on the need of the community and sustainability of the specie. This answers the question “why not plant native growing trees”. Additionally, the National Greening Progam also ensures, that for Protected areas, only native growing trees are planted. Lastly, though we may have good intentions in posting such article, but indirectly saying that the governments projects is doing more harm than good which will only decrease support and appreciation of the project. The National Greening Program may not be perfect, but I can say that it is a start when it comes to our government’s awareness of the ever changing needs of our environment.

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      January 14, 2015 at 9:03 pm

      Thank you for those points Joshua! I agree that these other purposes should also be made known to the public since exotic trees also contribute in other areas like livelihood. I singled out Mahogany here because I focused on one purpose only, which is ecological services and biodiversity. Perhaps you would be interested in writing about these other lesser known goals of the NGP?

  • xcassandra
    January 9, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Critical, but not abrasive. As part of a company which participated in the Mindanao leg of the NGP last year, this is indeed revealing. While I appreciate the essence of the govt’s NGP, why did they allow such unequal distribution of plant species in the first place? I think groups like yours should take this up with DENR..and fast. It’s only a matter of time before they achieve their 2016 target. Great read!

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      January 14, 2015 at 8:59 pm

      Hi Cassandra! One thing the NGP can do better is actually communicating the purpose of the high number of exotic species. These are mostly used for products like timber, fruits, and rubber since they grow relatively fast. I think many people are shocked because the NGP also lists providing livelihood opportunities via these exotic trees as one of their goal.

  • Alvin Gatbonton
    January 9, 2015 at 8:30 pm


    • Feeling Environmentalist
      January 14, 2015 at 8:52 pm

      Hi Alvin! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment here on what you think can be done to make this post better.

      First of all, this isn’t an anti-DENR article so please don’t take it that way. The NGP is probably the project which has the largest potential to actually tackle environmental issues in the country today. But it isn’t perfect. It also isn’t well understood by the public (in my opinion).

      Everything I said here were based on previous news reports, statistics, studies and that you can view yourself by clicking on the text and images. I selected only the most reputable ones so if you think one of my references are unreliable or if I misunderstood what they were saying, please let me know so I can review it.

      Regarding your points:

      Unfortunately, this news article says otherwise, which is where I got the data for the pie chart. This table of seedling numbers on the NGP website suggests that there are more exotics. This DENR article also says that Mahogany was the most planted tree in 2011 along with other exotics. However, it also says that they have since then pushed to include more native species in NGP as shown by Narra overtaking Mahogany as #1 in 2012.

      By looking at the pie chart alone, I think I made it pretty clear that Narra and other native species are being planted too.

      This point I can understand. I mentioned that the introduction of exotic species were making the situation worse, but I didn’t actually get to say what caused the massive deforestation in the first place. Thank you for pointing this out, I have added a line listing the major reasons.

      This is actually what I say in the conlusion.

      I agree completely! The main goal of this post was to make people rethink about the concept of planting trees = saving the environment. What they don’t know is that it’s more complicated than that. Planting exotic species have their own importance (especially those that contribute livelihood) which I alluded to in the last few lines.

      Like what another commenter here said last year, it’s important to consider the purpose of planting trees. THis is why I included the line “remember what it is you’re planting for” near the end.

      This article focused solely on trees and forests to provide ecological services (wildlife habitat, water source, biodiversity, etc.), which Mahogany isn’t well suited to. Ecological services, however, isn’t the only purpose of NGP which is why it mixes exotic species. Everything has their respective place, but problems arise when exotics start encroaching in areas where they shouldn’t be found.

      Finally, I think it would be great to have the DENR perspective of the other benefits of NGP. I’d gladly make a new post to complement this one if you can give more data about it.

  • Ferdie B. Pestaño
    January 10, 2015 at 12:58 am

    i am also a tree planter and i prefer to plant narra and out native acacia for its durability and long lasting life but now it is replaced by trees coming from india “yate” and acacia mangium they grow fast but good for making firewood

  • belovedreg
    January 10, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Reblogged this on Beloved Reg.

  • Nathan lagac
    January 11, 2015 at 7:16 am

    i would like to lay blame to mostly commercial mindset of people, particularly those who we consult on greening program, DENR folks. They seems to be there, in the said office, without real knowledge of the problem. They want to solve the shortage in lumber industry but never on the ecological imbalance.

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      January 14, 2015 at 7:42 pm

      Thanks for reading Nathan! I’m sure they know the problem, but, as with any entity as large as they are, they have to balance a lot of objectives when it comes to the environment like conserving it and using for jobs, resources, etc. The is line is kinda hard to The DENR might not be perfect, but it is still our best hope to tackle environmental issues because of their reach, authority, and finances.

  • roel buot
    January 11, 2015 at 8:18 am

    I love to read more on this page. Plesse fill me in kos am also planting trees.

  • Anna S.
    January 15, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    Reblogged this on ✰ Counting Stars ✰.

  • Mnm
    March 13, 2015 at 7:59 am

    Can I you a question? What species of mahogany widely seen /grown in Cagayan Valley?

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  • Niccolo
    March 23, 2015 at 8:11 am

    I have an enclosed farm with both native and mahogany trees. Plenty of birds and other wildlife love staying there.

    I think the main reason people use mahogany for reforestation is that native trees take way longer to grow. If I’m not mistaken many watersheds and eco parks have grown native and nonnative trees together for both short run and long run reforestation development.

    I’m pretty sure all trees influence the soil to their liking, and with the proper distancing between trees and proper care taking, native species should be able to coexist with nonnative trees.

    Stop it with the racism. All trees are equal.

    • Jordan Bates
      August 3, 2016 at 4:12 pm

      Sorry, I beg to differ. Exotic species introduced into an environment that they are not natives of CAN create many problems, too many problems to list here. They can become invasive and completely alter the natural environment they are introduced into. Maybe you are being humorous with your racism comment, but all trees are not equal. There are hundreds of thousands of different species with countless shapes, sizes, eco-system service functions and environmental conditions. Yes, natives can co-exist with non-natives, but your anecdotal evidence is overly simplifying the issue at hand.

  • Khimverly Policarpio
    April 10, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    thank you sir for this information. I’m a member of feu outdoors and I’m planning to suggest a tree planting project to help our environment. our group aims to achieve a goal of protecting mother earth and reading this article really helps! 🙂

    • Cris S. Rivero
      February 16, 2017 at 6:01 am

      Thank you for this article. There really is the great need to educate people even some foresters and forest managers about planting the right trees when doing reforestation. Of course one must know that exotic trees is a big no-no in natural forests especially protected areas. And yet unfortunately it is continuing. Not only mahogany. Gmelina, golden shower, kakawate, ipil-ipil. Try visiting some government nurseries and the common ones you will see are mahogany seedlings. Where are the dipterocarps? our anislag? kamagong? Our dao, mapilig, malabayabas and tindalo?

      The usual answer that you can get is that they are hard to produce so on and so forth. We have produced hundreds of thousands of malabuho, nato, amuguis and tuai and some other forty native species in El Verde nurseries in Camarines Sur and most of them did fairly well even in the field. Just a few months ago, the Protected Area Management Board ( PAMB) of Bicol Natural Park in Bicol stopped the use of kakawate and ear pod in a newly awarded contract that covers several hundreds of hectares. Ironically, just a few meters from where we are having our meeting are hundreds of wildlings of dipterocarps that need to be transferred so that they can have better growing space. A large native lamio tree is also nearby, with thousands of fruits just rotting on the concrete driveway and canal. This prompted the PAMB to adopt two projects: one is the exotic species eradication project and the indigenous tree production project. Hopefully , both will succeed.

  • Fredd Ochavo
    May 25, 2015 at 7:48 am

    You might find this infographic useful when illustrating the difference between using native species and non-native species for reforestation: https://www.facebook.com/674744369276327/photos/a.674784545938976.1073741827.674744369276327/684160851668012/?type=1&theater&refid=13

  • bong
    July 28, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    ho hum. sorry to say this but you’re no expert to say all these things. let the experts tell the story, not you

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      September 15, 2015 at 8:59 pm

      Hi Bong! This is actually based on what the experts are saying (click on the links in the post for my sources). Exotic trees have a purpose for sure, but being inside watersheds where biodiversity is needed to keep it functioning (and keep us alive) isn’t one of them.

    • Jay
      December 28, 2015 at 1:05 pm

      Absolutely correct bong. I was jut scrolling down the comments section to see if any posters are critical thinkers, but alas none except you. Most readily accept all the author’s opinions as facts withouth even verifying the studies linked are peer reviewed. The author did not even mention the basic and most IMPORTANT fact in how trees helps the environment. First and foremost, It is very good at CARBON SEQUESTRATION. Every true environmentalist knows that as opposed to “feel good types- oh look at me I am doing stuff for the environment” I even doubt if the author knows where the mass of a growing tree came form, I am pretty sure he would say the soil and sunlight.mmm. JUST PLANT ANY TREE PEOPLE it is best in storing carbon and covering the the soil. Nature will do the rest and bring diversity back!

      • Feeling Environmentalist
        January 22, 2016 at 8:55 pm

        Thanks for your feedback, Jay! If more people thought about the effects of what they were doing more, the global environmentalist movement wouldn’t be necessary today.

        Yes, all trees contribute to carbon sequestration and any tree is better than no tree. But if you’re going to go through the trouble of launching a widescale reforestation project, why not make sure that you’re maximizing all the work, time, and money you put in? Any tree you plant will store carbon, but while you’re at it, why not pick trees that have added benefits?

        I linked my sources on the article so let me know if you spot anything wrong.

  • GC
    August 1, 2015 at 5:10 am

    Hi, the message is very helpful and informative, but to be honest, I would prefer to have the title changed as in first impression, it implies discouragement for potential volunteers to join tree-planting activities. Surely, many people would read the whole article, but it is possible that some will just browse randomly and miss the objective of informing the right way to do tree-planting activities.

    Bottomline, tree-planting should definitely be promoted but the science of doing it the proper way must be taken highly into consideration. We need nature advocates with adequate awareness about the impact of the activities they are partaking on.

    I know this might be too late as the article is archived since last year, but just saying… 🙂

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      September 15, 2015 at 9:03 pm

      Hi GC! Sorry for the really really embarassingly late reply, hopefully you’ll still get this. You’re not the first person to give me feedback on the title and the title actually took me the longest time to create.

      I decided with the current one because tree planting has become a generally accepted way to “help nature”. It’s right up there with “I will recycle”. It’s so common that people have actually stopped thinking about it. They just think, trees are good therefore planting trees is good. But it’s not always as simple as that.

      We need to decide what it is we’re planting for. If it’s to keep our watersheds, wildlife and biodiversity healthy, then native trees are your bet.

  • Dan the farmer
    August 11, 2015 at 12:13 am

    The native tree species are going extinct because people are cutting it for firewood, charcoal, lumber, etc…In our area, our land is almost the only part that is not devoid of trees, because our neighbors cut the native trees down to sell as firewood, timber, etc. As for the wildlife? I don’t believe in your statement that their is no wildlife in these “reforestation” areas. We planted mahogany and falcata on our land, and their are birds, insects, bee, snakes, termites, lizards, civets, etc that are living there…(so I can say that those studies you mentioned are non-conclusive and inaccurate to back up the claim in your article from my experience) The major reason these livingcreatureshings go away is because people hunt them or deprive them of their food source…trust me, it’s not the “exotic” trees….but the irresponsible people living there….

  • Mari
    November 14, 2015 at 9:12 am

    Thank you for this very informative article. I hope you can also tackle the issue on mangrove tree planting in seagrass, mudflats and other inappropriate places which the government is also undertaking in the name of environmental protection.

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      January 22, 2016 at 8:58 pm

      Thanks for reading, Mari. Yes, I’ve spoken to many people about that and was very surprised myself that mangrove planting was altering what should be mudflat areas. Definitely need to do more research about that. If you have any information about, please let us know.

  • ponchit enrile
    January 21, 2016 at 3:39 am

    Ponchit Hardinero. it is far better to plant natives even in your own backyard. The problem sometimes is the lack of planting materials and because it is now fashionable to plant natives. ang mahal mahal naman ng seedlings. Yung mga nagtanim ng exotic noon eh bigyan nyo naman din nang kaunting pasasalamat dahil kahit papaano nagtanim sila. Di naman sila expert mayroon lang silang sipag at tyaga. yung iba naman ay batikos lang ang gawa kahit kangkong di nagtanim. Meron naman nagtanim nga ng native eh mas malaki pa karatula at pangalan kaysa sa tanim na pinabayaan na rin matapos ang photo op. Yung mga nagtanim ng exotic na binabatikos. putulin nyo na dalhin sa lumber yard at ibenta nyo na.

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      January 22, 2016 at 8:49 pm

      Hi Ponchit! That’s a good point. We really didn’t know better back then so we went all out with exotic trees thinking it would be the best. Now that we have substantially more knowledge, we can now plan better on when to plant natives and when to plant exotic trees. We really should be thankful that there were people and agencies who were concerned enough to launch widescale reforestation and it’s now up to us to improve on what they started.

  • glenn
    January 21, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    I myself has established mahogany plantation. reason behind is easy to get DENR permit when harvesting. i planned to plant narra trees but DENR will not give cutting permit after 25 years.

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      January 22, 2016 at 8:45 pm

      Hi Glenn! I’m not aware of licensing permits for plantations. Does that mean you would be free to harvest Narra as long as its less than 24 years old?

  • Socrates
    January 22, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    This is a great article — and should be shared!!! Good things we plant BAMBOO!

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      January 22, 2016 at 8:43 pm

      Hi Socrates! Glad to hear that you liked the article, hopefully we can make more people be aware.

  • bodots
    January 23, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    I think the DENR should be held liable. They should know what to plant in the first place. Why they did not figure this out when they are the ‘guardian’ of the environment?

  • Daniel C. Almirez
    January 28, 2016 at 1:26 am

    What exactly is your definition of native trees as opposed to that which is indigenous? Does tamarind, cacao, avocado, coffee, chico, guava, soursap (guyabano) count as exotic? Strictly speaking coconuts would count as an exotic if one were to plant it inland. Even calamansi is not native to the Phil, it being indigenous to China….

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  • ergie
    April 26, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    hi, what is the name of the seedling in ur profile picture?

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      August 3, 2016 at 10:06 pm

      Hi Ergie! Good question. I’m not exactly sure anymore since I took this picture of a germination bed somewhere in Baras, Rizal way back in 2013.

  • Lisa Pineda Gacuma
    May 18, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    the farmers in our area spend extra money just to pay people to pick up mahogany leaves from the ricefield. its only now that i realize this task got sense.

  • Veronica Siloy
    June 8, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    Thanks for your very informative article. We have tree planting activities lined up during the onset of rainy days. Can you refer us to where we can avail of these native trees? Any gov’t agency? free or for sale? Thank you very much and hoping to hear from you.

  • frjadagr7
    June 10, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    hi! wonderful article! but i’d like to point out the little correction on IUCN, the Union should be Nature (since you typed “International Union for the Conservation of Union”) informative and eye-opening article nonetheless!

    • Feeling Environmentalist
      August 3, 2016 at 10:02 pm

      Thanks for that correction! Glad to hear that you found this helpful, Danne 🙂

  • Mons
    June 17, 2016 at 8:20 am

    TY 4 d very inspiring info. But 2 pts i would like to share: One. In d govmnt land reform program, a portion of the land “taken” from big landed estates should have been aloted to reforestration (5-10%). Second, to encourage our citizens to plant more trees “planters” should be allowed to cut/harvest the trees they planted in their own pvt land, using their own money, maybe considering this as an investment, without having to experience the hassle of asking permits, paying fees, etc. Imagine. You plant trees in your own piece of land, using your own money, paying helpers in the planting. But when you cut a tree or the trees after several years you are not free to do so without asking permission frm the govmnt throught permits and fees.
    Just sharing.

  • Fernando Gutierrez
    July 31, 2016 at 10:04 am

    Hi, we are currently starting a reforestation project in North Negros National park using the native trema orientalis as a pioneer species followed by all native & endemic trees. Hope this worke as the trema is an ultra fast grower ideal for open and damaged eroded areas

  • Con Abraham
    July 31, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    same sentiments with others…so informative! thank you. we have Sampalok tree infront of yard and it has its various birds inhabitants and some of them even nest on it. my question…is this a local tree and should i continue sharing it to park for planting? sometimes i collect the fallen fruit and whenever i am out of town i would disseminate them to the forested areas i stroll to.

  • Eypi
    July 31, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    thanks for this info! there should be more of this and the DENR and office of the mayor of certain towns that are into this, must know what kind of trees to plant. sayang ang pagod at resources kung walang kwentang puno ang itatanim.

  • BOB Q
    August 1, 2016 at 9:50 am

    molave should be planted instead….for those wanted to plant molave..i have wildlings of this tree…

  • Paul Farol
    August 1, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Reblogged this on #justsaying and commented:
    Perhaps DENR Secretary Gina Lopez should look into this more closely.

  • Juan Sinag
    August 1, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    Just exactly what I wanted to tell my ‘environmentalist’ friends. They really don’t know what they’re losing in planting mahogany. That mistake happened in one patch of land on our farm in Nueva Ecija, mangoes tend to be dwarfed if it’s planted near mahoganies. So my lolo decided to cut those mahoganies and use them as ballasts and furniture. And for that piece of land, I think they’ve just burned and buried carabao dung there to plant eggplants and bitter gourds. Anyways, kudos to you sir/maam! This kind of blogpost must be shared!

  • bernardo m. furog, jr
    August 5, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Sir, did you encounter a study about hagimit tree propagation?

  • earl silao
    August 27, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    ma.awa kayu xa sarili nyo! mag basa kayu kung ano ang National greening Program! bago kayu mag husga!

  • Linda P. Gonzalez
    November 6, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    Good writing style! Effective for matters relevant. Carry on!

  • zion821
    December 8, 2016 at 6:51 am

    Uhm I have a question. According to our Biology Teacher, its not just Mahogany but also Gmelina. To be honest, I’m kind of curious to the biology part of how and why these two plants are not compatible to our biodiversity.

  • katz
    February 13, 2017 at 2:31 pm


    you article if is very informative and delivered in layman’s term.
    may i asked where or what articled were you got the map?


  • noel campos
    May 13, 2017 at 1:57 am

    Very true! Reforestation before were mainly focused on timber production and not really bringing back the forest. Another issue is survival rate of seedlings due to lack of water especially during summer. For those with FARMS and REFORESTATION PROJECTS, check this self-watering device. Absolutely zero-cost since you can get all the materials from around your house. https://web.facebook.com/243233236159278/videos/243435826139019/

  • Strigiformes scriptum
    September 25, 2017 at 11:48 am

    Pls cite sources next time. Thank you.

  • Rueben Hansen
    January 11, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    My time in the Philippines as a forestry volunteer was in the early 1980’s, and it seems the bias towards exotic versus native plantings has yet to be resolved.
    When I worked in Sorsogon as a Peace corps volunteer we were pretty much told don’t waste your time with the native species; concentrate on “good species”, in other words fast growing mono culture plantings that produced fast results.
    At least the discussion is being held as to the validity of exotic plantings; I wish all of you in favor of the natives good luck in bringing some common sense to this problem.

  • crunchylike
    April 13, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    http://www.pcaarrd.dost.gov.ph/home/momentum/wood/resources/Philippine%20Native%20Trees.pdf-DrCBLantican-30jan2015.pdf – you might want to replace your link for native trees with this one 🙂 thanks for your post!

  • Corazon Cook
    July 14, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    Anyone knows of Philippine native trees that retains water? A young farmer told me that Mahogany, which is non-native, retains water but I have not seen springs where mahogany trees are planted.

  • Benedicto S. Benin
    October 24, 2018 at 10:37 pm

    i have about 400 mahogany trees planted in my farm since 1995, and I agree with your article that there is not much natural activity happening aside from the shade that the mahogany trees give. what should i do? should i replace them with other native trees as you have suggested? tnx very much for your very informative article.

  • James Roin Manlavi
    November 6, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    Thanks for sharing this article! Very informative, guess I’ll need to do more research and reading about Philippine Native Trees and ideal trees to plant in our areas. May I also have the permission to use this article as a material to discuss for our schools organization for environment? Thanks in advance!

  • Danica
    December 28, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    Thanks for this eye opener article.

  • Rey
    May 23, 2019 at 8:37 am

    This is soo true. Greening program should invest more on native species not on introduced specie. We have lots of trees on our small lot and I noticed that birds seldom built thier nest on the mahogany trees, as compared to our narra and acacia. they also tend to flock on those trees except mahogany that I thought there might be something wrong with mahogany.

  • maducayan
    August 21, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    A lot of people writes and teach of something they don’t practice at all, but I believe that I am doing my part when it comes to preserving our forest. I have a few hectares of Mahogany plantation for my personal consumption in the future. I have also a natural tropical forest inherited from my forefathers and privately protected. I wish someone can come and visit our natural forest, and to gather seeds as many as they can to propagate our so called native tree species. Like white and red lauan trees, they flower every 3-4 years I think. In October this year will be the harvesting of its seeds. I wish DENR will support the production of our own native trees. Please visit my website http://www.balikongkong-maducayan.com hoping that we can still save our forest. We need your help.

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