Gov’t imposes partial ban on cutting of coconut trees
The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) has imposed a partial ban on the cutting of coconut trees for coco lumber use after monster typhoons razed some 40 million trees in the past year alone.
The PCA said in a statement that it made the decision upon learning that Supertyphoon “Yolanda” destroyed 32 million trees in Samar and Leyte in Eastern Visayas, and two million trees in Western Visayas.
Apart from Yolanda’s destructive toll, some 5.4 million more trees in the Davao region were destroyed by typhoon “Pablo” in December 2012.
The PCA said that permits to cut and transport trees could still be issued if the trees involved were beyond recovery, particularly those in stricken parts of the Visayas and Mimaropa, as well as in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley.
The ban also does not cover coconut trees that have been “duly ascertained as severely infested beyond recovery,” and trees that “pose danger to life and property including those affected by eminent domain.”
Lumber harvesters may still get hold of trees in areas which the Department of Agriculture has designated as covered by land use conversion.
“Damaged trees were allowed to be cut in the typhoon-ravaged areas because, if they decayed, they will be the host of Rhinoceros beetles,” PCA Administrator Euclides Forbes said, referring to pests that lay waste to coconut trees.
Forbes added that the lumber to be cut could “provide millions of board feet for housing and public buildings for the typhoon victims.”
Also, the PCA will still allow farmers to cut as many as five coconut trees, only if these were considered to be “senile.”
Coconut trees are considered senile when these no longer bear fruit in commercially viable numbers because of old age.
Earlier, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations said that coconut-producing countries must replant trees on a massive scale if they were to meet the world’s rapidly growing demand for coconut products.
The advancing age of trees in the Asia-Pacific region threatened the economies and livelihood of those who depended on coconut, according to FAO, whose regional office is in Bangkok.
The agency noted that a coconut tree reaches its peak production between the age of 10 and 30 years, but most trees in the region are about 50 to 60 years old.
The Asia-Pacific accounts for 90 percent of the world’s coconut products, such as coconut oil, water and milk, virgin coconut oil and raw materials, such as fibrous materials and timber used in construction.
The FAO said global demand for coconut products is growing at more than 10 percent yearly, but production growth is only 2 percent.
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