DENR warns on illegal harvesting of forest plant species

Published September 20, 2020, 7:18 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

Orchids, tree ferns, and molave bonsai, which are very popular garden and house plant species in the Philippines, are among the 10 commonly poached threatened plants in the country, according to a list released by the Deparment of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

DENR regional offices in Mindanao have been on the lookout for poachers of these plant species taking advantage of the popularity of gardening among Filipinos cooped up at home because of the pandemic.

Aside from orchids (Dendrobiums, Hoyas, Lady slippers, Phalaenopsis, Waling-waling), tree ferns, and molave bonsai, the other threatened plants include Cycad, Medinilla, Alocacia, Begonia, Zingiber or wild ginger, and Agarwood, according to the list recently released by DENR-Soccskargen.

DENR-Zamboanga Peninsula also released a similar list as it reminded the public that harvesting of these plants is prohibited by law. 

“The collection of wild flora directly from the forest, especially those considered as threatened species, without permit is prohibited under Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act,” DENR-Zamboanga Peninsula Executive Director Crisanta Marlene Rodriguez said.

Plant poachers caught gathering wild plants in the forest without a permit can be charged under this law, she warned.

The DENR-Zamboanga Peninsula advised the public to secure proper permits in the collection and trade of plant species.

Citing the Department Administrative Order No. 2017- 11, Rodriguez said “collection and trade of threatened species are prohibited unless such acts are covered under a permit issued by the DENR and the species are found in areas under a valid tenure instrument or a parcel of land covered by a title under the Torrens System.”

“Furthermore, collection of plant species within Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (E-NIPAS) sites are strictly for research purposes and would require Gratuitous Permits issued by the DENR,” Rodriguez pointed out.

A complete list of threatened species can be downloaded at http://bit.ly/DENRThreatenedPHPlants.

If collected wild plants are found to be classified as critically endangered species, violators can face imprisonment from six to 12 years and a fine of P100,000 to P1,000,000 as specified under the law.

 
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