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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Forest sanctuary is family’s labor of love

By Ross Harper-Alonso
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:41:00 04/13/2008

MANILA, Philippines—With the international focus today on an impending worldwide water crisis, a private tropical jungle and wildlife refuge in central Negros offers valuable insights into the overarching role of trees in maintaining the forest ecosystem vital to securing water resources.

The Tabucol Sanctuary in the foothills of Mt. Kanlaon is possibly the last lowland forest area on Negros island hosting a large variety of plant and wildlife. Pristine streams wind throughout its 140 hectares of towering narra, balete, gmelina and mahogany trees.

The land was not always so luxuriantly green or as thickly canopied with trees as it is now. Decades of illegal logging and slash-and-burn methods had left it barren.

Reinhard and Corazon Sagemuller began reforesting the property when they acquired it in the 1960s, turning it into a zone of biodiversity and providing free water to dozens of communities in the area and irrigation to 80 ha of rice fields.

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