Deforestation, main cause of soil-erosion catastrophies in RP — WB report

October 4, 2010 6:58 am 

MANILA, Oct. 3 – Soil erosion is the most serious environmental problem in the Philippines due to smallholder agriculture in upland communities, a recent report of the World Bank (WB) said.

The WB report said other contributing factors include the physical environment of the country, increasing demographic pressures in the uplands, high incidence of poverty in the rural areas, and the prevalence of social and economic structures unfavorable to small farmers.

It identified “deforestation” as one of major causes of many soil-erosion related catastrophies that happened in the country in the past, and still are happening today because both legal and illegal logging continue, and cutting of trees go on in various localities nationwide. <P>The WB report also said the problem on how to control soil erosion has been a concern plaguing the country for almost three decades now, and despite soil and water conservation efforts brought to fore by a number of concerned government and non-government agencies to help mitigate the problem, much is yet to be accomplished.

”It is not that technologies are lacking, there are in fact many soil and water conservation (SWC) strategies developed through the initiatives of scores of government and NGO programs and projects backed up with international funding and some significant components all aimed at promoting and helping the upland farmers, the WB said.

The Philippines, being one of the countries most vulnerable to extreme weather changes is always at risk when there is accelerated rise in the sea level, when there are floods and storms that cause land slides and mudslides, when there is damage caused to the ecosystem, and when biodiversity is lost.

Quoting a recent newspaper report, the WB said, “there was flooding in three cities in Northern Mindanao, where Cagayan de Oro City was hard hit, affecting more than 30,000 persons, the second since 1957. The flooding drowned approximately 10,000 residents in Ormoc, Leyte on Nov. 5, 1991 and the frightful landslide killing many people at the foothills of Sitio Masara, Barangay Poblacion in Maco, Compostela Valley.”

The WB noted that in a project at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) that was recently completed, soil erosion could have been controlled if developed technologies did not end with their completion, but rather tried and diffused to a wider scale possible. (PNA)



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