In celebration of the International Day of Forests 2024, the Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS) of the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) held a ceremonial tree planting event on 21 March 2024 at the forest arboretum located on the east portion of the UP Open University. This year’s celebration theme, “Forests and Innovation: New Solutions for a Better World,” highlights the importance of promoting innovation to benefit the world’s forests, showcasing the vital role of scientific and technological progress in bolstering sustainable forest management practices.

(from left to right) Ms. Sydney Macahiya, Ms. Josephine Macale, Ms. Maryjane Reondanga, Ms. Wyomia Pradas, Dr. Joane Serrano,. Karl Abelard Edberto Villegas, Jr., Dr. Leo Mendel Rosario, Mr. Justin Tolentino, and Mr. Noel Elegerio during the tree planting activity

Faculty and staff of FMDS attended the ceremony led by Dr. Joane Serrano, FMDS Dean, together with Asst. Prof. Karl Abelard Edberto Villegas, Jr., faculty member and Diploma in and Master of Environment and Natural Resources Management (D/MENRM) Program Chair, Dr. Leo Mendel Rosario, Assistant Professor and Diploma in and Master of Research and Development Management (D/MR&DM) Program Chair. Representatives from the FMDS administrative office who attended the event were Ms. Wyomia Pradas, Ms. Josephine Macale, and Mr. Justin Tolentino. Ms. Maryjane Reondanga and Mr. Noel Elegerio, FMDS Perma G.A.R.D.E.N. (Growing Appreciation towards Resilience, Development, Entrepreneurship, and Nutrition) caretakers, and Ms. Sydney Rovin Macahiya and Ms. Raizza Anna Alforja, research assistants, also participated during the activity. 

Mr. Elegerio initially prepared the hole where the seedling tree was planted. Before planting it below the ground surface, Ms. Reondanga made sure to fill out the hole with banana tree trunks to continuously retain water around the planted area, allowing the growth of Anisoptera thurifera even during drier seasons. This was followed by a sack of compost which could additionally contribute to its health and growth.

A single endemic tree was planted with its wood commercially known as Palosapis (Anisoptera thurifera) that reaches a height of 40-45 meters and a diameter of 140-180 centimeters. During the tree planting, Asst. Prof. Villegas shared the importance of choosing the right tree species to plant in a particular area within the Philippines. This dipterocarp species was chosen for being the most common and best known species of the genus in our country. He also added the range of uses of its wood as major benefits for construction.

This tree planting activity signified the role of collective action and sustainable innovation in safeguarding our forested landscapes for future generations. 

Following this activity, more tree planting ceremonies are expected to set off in the future as part of the operationalization of the Sustainability in Action – a Living Laboratory Campus (SiALLC) of the UP Open University.

Written by: Raizza Anna Alforja • Edited by: Larry N. Cruz

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