Trees matter to all of us. Trees provide shade, mitigate floods, absorb carbon dioxide, filter air pollution, and provide habitats for birds, mammals and other plants. The rich biodiversity within a rainforest is also incredibly important to the well-being of humans and of the planet.
In an effort to preserve the existing flora and fauna in its 400-hectare township in Cagayan de Oro, Pueblo de Oro Development Corporation (PDO) signed in 2005 a memorandum of agreement for the first Urban Rainforest in the Philippines with the ICCP Group Foundation, Inc., the Bukidnon local government, and the Department of Natural Resources (DENR). Pueblo de Oro started its preservation efforts by planting more endemic plant seedlings, or “wildlings,” sourced from the rainforests of Mt. Kitanglad and other nearby mountains in Bukidnon. By propagating them in areas such as the ridges and knoll of the urban rainforest, native animal species were encouraged to build their nests and thrive.
The Pueblo de Oro urban rainforest is a 40-hectare rainforest in the heart of Cagayan de Oro’s growth area, abundant with different plants animals. According to PDO management, having a township wherein trees are abundant is not just for aesthetic purposes, but also benefits the species living within the area.
In the years since the project kicked off, PDO has sought and joined forces with other partners and agencies in its efforts to preserve the urban rainforest to welcome and nurture the species that settled in the township.
As a result of the preservation efforts, the grasslands and creeks in the forest are now home to numerous species of animals — from small insects to beautiful flights of birds. PDO has made it a mission to protect and multiply these endemic species. The developer is concerned about the reality that our wildlife is affected by the loss of its natural habitats.
Coupled with the efforts of PDO to preserve and nurture the urban rainforest, the protection of watersheds is also a part of their commitment to the care of the environment. Protecting the watersheds promotes sustainable agriculture, ecological security and water resource preservation.
Giant bamboo and mahogany seedlings were planted by employees along the Calaanan Creek to help protect the soil in the Iponan Watershed, of which it is a part, and prevent it from washing downstream. Maintaining a forest cover as well as following environmentally-enhancing practices leads to a sustainable watershed.
People often think of “land-based” climate solutions or nature as being something that’s far removed from the urbanism that more than half of the population lives in. But forests can be the unseen heroes of natural climate solutions where green spaces provide health and community benefits, as well as, shelter us from the full effect and impacts of climate change.