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What is 'rainforestation'?

Ever since the first humans became settlers, forests have been cleared to make way for the growing of crops and for livestock grazing, or felled for timber. Whilst forests were no doubt valued for what they could provide, it is clear that humans acted as though they would go on forever.  As we have come to recognise the crucial importance of standing forests for human welfare, increased effort has been made to finds ways that forest edge communities can benefit from the forests remaining intact, rather than chopped down for use or for the land the trees occupy.

'Rainforestation' is the term for replanting tropical forest, using native trees that can deliver sustainable benefits to local people and landowners.  It is a mixture of fruiting trees, indigenous trees and abaca.  Due to its fast-growing properties and high value at market, our rainforestation programme has prioritised growing abaca trees and training the local people on how to produce and trade the final product ('abaca fibres').  The process of production is described below.

In the Cuernos de Negros Landscape Conservation is working with its local partners, the NGO PENAGMANNAKI, and the Naubo Community Farmers Association, which comprises of people living in Mantiquil Barangay on the edge of the forest.


"We never thought of planting trees as crops, but we are farmers and know how to look after what we plant"


Jimmy, Naubo resident

Preparing the Demonstration Plot

The first stage is to clear the land of the scrub that took over once the fields were abandoned.  The abaca trees need a few metres between them to expand, but the good news is that spaces in between can be used for planting other native species.


The trees need to be planted at a certain depth, with invasive foliage cleared from the base.  Planting takes place between January and March, in the dry season.  The ground still holds sufficient water however to enable the saplings to grow vigorously


When they are four years old, the trees can be cut and removed to prepare the fibres from the bark.  In the meantime, the area has regenerated the native trees planted at the same time as the abaca, and provided a forest wildlife habitat for species such as spotted deer, bleeding heart doves and a plethora of indigenous invertebrates and plants


The bark is stripped off the tree and split into the long fibres of abaca, also known as 'Manila hemp'.  The fibres have great commercial value as they are used in the production of a variety of products, from tea bags to industrial sacking!

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