Press Release
January 26, 2010


After her consultations with environment and weather experts, Sen. Loren Legarda reiterated her call to Congress to enact a Total Log Ban for the next 25 years to save the country from the aggravate effects of natural calamities. Legarda is urging to prohibit logging operations of any kind in any forest, timber land, forest reserve or watershed through Senate Bill 73.

"We have already seen the adverse effects of denuded forest lands to local and indigenous communities. We experienced tragic incidents of landslides and aggravated flooding. This is the utmost conscientious motive that I have in pushing for this bill to be enacted--to save those who live in the vicinity of such dangerous areas," Legarda stressed.

At the turn of the century, the leading cause of forest disturbance is illegal cutting with a total of 4,920 hectares of land destroyed, the highest incidence since the 1990s. There were two major causes in the decline of stocks of forest resources during the period 1988 to 1994. The country lost resources worth P48.6 billion to harvesting and other logging activities, while the conversion of forestland to non-forest use accounted for P20.4 billion in losses. Also contributing to the decline in stocks were forest fires, accounting for P439.7 million, and the natural death of trees (stand mortality) which accounted for P5.9 billion. Demand for agricultural land is one of the main reasons that forests continue to be erased at the rate of 13 million hectares a year. By 2005, forests were estimated at 47 % of the total land, from 51 in 1990.

Legarda contended that in the Philippines, forest resources have continued to dissipate through the years. The forest resources have been decreasing rapidly and stocks have hit historical lows in recent years. It involves removal or destruction of significant areas of forest cover and results to a degraded environment with reduced biodiversity. In developing countries, massive deforestation is ongoing and is shaping climate and geography. Legarda explained that "deforestation accounts for 18 percent of the carbon dioxide produced each year, which cause global warming and poses risks to forests via increased fires and the spread of pests. It thus likewise has caused massive flooding and landslides all over the country, which has caused countless lives."

"There is an urgent need to stop deforestation in the country, which at some point was highest among the Southeast Asian Nations together with Myanmar. The benefits of ensuring the sustainable growth and development of our forest resource and the richness of our biodiversity are boundless and cannot be compensated by commercial progress," concluded Legarda.

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