Nat Re expands Sierra Madre forest with 500 trees

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The National Reinsurance Corporation of the Philippines (Nat Re), the country’s national reinsurer, added another 500 trees to their Sierra Madre forest, continuing their Corporate Social Responsibility and commitment to sustainability last December 17th, 2021.

In 2019, Nat Re previously planted almost 400 seedlings in the same area under the theme “We are SEEDING (Socially Engaged in Environmental Development) the future” – Nat Re’s advocacy covering environmental preservation, restoration, and bio-diversification of ecosystem services in the Philippines.

“We in Nat Re are fully committed to our role as an environmental steward and a contributor to the achievement of universal sustainability goals. Building on our 2019 work, we have expanded our planting site, adding more areas set for land and agro-forestry restoration, and contributing to further sustainable livelihood development for surrounding communities,” said Allan R. Santos, Nat Re President and Chief Executive Officer.

Seedlings planted included: Malaruhat (250), Bani (150), and White Lauan (100), planted by community forest guardians: Randy Velina, Larry Rizaldo, Joel Velina, Roger Glipo, Ariel Atip, Jimlie Ortega, Renato De Leon, Ronjienvel Aurin, Gilbert Ryan Ella and Elmer Dayandante.

On Carbon Sequestration – How Much CO2 can our trees absorb?

Trees are often referred to as the “lungs of the Earth” as they are able to store carbon and produce oxygen, which is essential to many life forms.  Trees also stabilize soil and reduce air temperature and humidity, whilst also reducing flooding and improving water quality. Without trees, most fauna and flora would not survive, what more humans?

It is widely accepted that a typical tree can absorb around 22 kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year when in fully grown status, meaning that saplings, seedlings and younger trees – whether mangroves or primary or secondary forest trees – absorb around half, so conservatively say 11 kgs per year (also widely used by most international forestry agencies around the world).

So, over a lifetime of a tropical tree (100 years), one tree can absorb around 1 tonne of CO2. Although this figure seems large, it should be measured in perspective: to date humans generate around 40 billion tonnes of CO2 each year on Earth. This means that 40 billion trees need to be planted annually to offset these emissions.

Even if possible, though, land availability for agriculture and farming, including livestock production – one of the largest, increasing land conversion threats worldwide aside from urbanization – would be significantly reduced. This then translates into water and food security challenges, among others, but not limited to e.g.:  urbanization and lack of city spaces lead to housing and commercial developments in critical watersheds, thereby threatening our fresh water supply and declining forest cover; or agricultural pollution threatening crops and livestock, affecting poultry, dairy, pork, and beef food production systems, and so on and so forth.

Nat Re’s 500 trees were added to the 370 already planted last November 2019, and another 70 airplants for the office designed by Nat Re employees last August 2019. If these are combined, Nat Re’s cumulative 870 upland native Philippine trees are going to offset* 870 tonnes of CO2 in their lifetime.