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CO2 and other toxic gases are being released into the air in large quantities from factories, manufacturing firms, transportation vehicles, and burning of fossil fuels by the residents themselves. As the country began to industrialize, many people from rural areas come to urban center mainly to find stable jobs, build businesses, and to find a comfortable place to live. Since cities are where many opportunities are centered, it is also the main cause for overcrowding, rapid depletion of natural resources as people continue to exploit them for their benefits (Lasco & Pulhin, 2000).
As the population in cities continues to grow there is a need to improve the quality of urban environments. Rapid declination and deterioration of the quality of the environment in these urban centers could result to health hazards to the residents. Although the rate of medical problems and cataclysmic events (i.e., storms, floods, landslides, and droughts) has consistently expanded, this should fill in as an update that resilience to disaster is of critical importance (McPherson et al., 2005). Trees provide benefits to people and animals in a wide range of ways. Beside from the ocean sinks that ingests carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, trees additionally fill in as the best carbon sink which expend CO2 and gives off O2; hence, they mitigate or lessen pollutants in area. Trees, likewise, give shade, serve as buffer against noise and airborne dust and preserve water and soil. However, native species of trees provide benefits well beyond those of non-native species (“The Benefits of Planting Native Trees,” n.d.).
Planting native species of trees and shrubs serves to restore the original ecosystem of the region. Some species of wildlife don’t perceive non-native species and can’t utilize them for sustenance or sanctuary. They are more qualified to develop than an alien species. They are very well appropriate to an area’s climate and soil types and, once settled; require less water and fertilizer than non-native species. Native species have likewise developed close with local insect population and have created natural defenses to ward off these pests (“Advantages of Native Plants,” 2018).
Planting of trees along urban roads, in road medians, or on private property are a basic establishment for both a healthy human populace and sound economy (Tzoulas et al., 2007). These are some of the initiative already being taken and is still being practiced nowadays since Marcos regime in the Philippines. It is lead by non- governmental agency and other LGUs that took action in lessening the harmful effect of climate change. However, one of the significant impacts of rapid urban development is the decrease of tree cover because of anthropogenic activities (Ejares et al., 2016). As tree cover deteriorates in cities, so will the associated ecosystem services and their effects on environmental quality and human health. In addition, more than 800 million individuals rely upon trees for fuel, food, and income (Chomitz 2007).
Globally, Philippines was also considered as one of the biodiversity hotspots because of the abundance in marine and terrestrial ecosystems that were disrupted due to habitat fragmentation, climate change, anthropogenic activities and pollution (Department of Environment and Natural Resources Biodiversity Management Bureau [DENR] 2016). A terrestrial ecosystem in the Philippines, have been fundamentally changed, particularly in the most recent century. The primary drivers of biological systems change are anthropogenic in nature which incorporates land conversion, deforestation due to logging and transformation to horticultural land, mining, introduction of alien species, and contamination that will result to environments’ lessened capacity to give life-managing services (Cruz et al., 2017).
As this progress, the Philippines will be subjected in losing its rich biodiversity assets. Climate change will take over as showed by warming temperature and postponed onset of rainy season that will influence the development of trees and other living life forms (Cruz et al., 2017).Among the numerous urban areas in the Philippines, Cebu City is one of the six congested and polluted cities in the country. As indicated by the Philippine Statistics Authority (2010), 45.4% Filipinos (41.9M of 92.3M of the total population) live in urban areas. In 2010, 93.5% of Cebu City’s total population (866,171) lived in urban barangays. This prompts the expansion of the utilization of its territory for lodging, business, industrial, institutional, and other related structures.
There are, however, patches of vegetation in downtown Cebu City scattered among building structures, street lanes, residential areas in a blended urban development setting. Cebu contains an immense amount of endemic groups of flora and fauna that consists of countless structures that are more appealing which includes its genera and species (Cebu Biodiversity Conservation Programme [CBCP] 2017). The initiative of different regional projects for conservation is the stepping stone for worldwide preservation of the endemic species and the re-establishment of the habitat especially in urban setting. Hence, there is a need to assess whatever remaining age-old trees flourishing in downtown Cebu City.
The great challenge now is to focus on the urban ecosystem management which comprise native or indigenous trees that are primary sources in the urban communities that give ecosystem services beneficial to every living thing. Trees located along the urban corridors such as street roads and highways are an important factor of urban greening because the combined area is much larger than the green spaces and formal parks (Shackeleton 2016). These trees strive hard for their survival in the harsh environment of the city as they fight against pollution created by humans. It has been discovered that indigenous trees in urban areas are rarely monitored, disappearing at alarming rates and is not documented sufficiently (Babalola et al. 2013).
In connection this study aims to produce a coherent list of indigenous trees present along the major urban roads in Cebu City and evaluate the importance of this tree species through the urban ecosystem services it will provide. To date no inventory has been undertaken in Cebu City specifically for indigenous trees except for the inventory on the trees to be cut down for BRT for road widening. Also this paper is in support with the first objective (a) to establish tree strips and forest parks to help in reducing air, noise, and sight pollution and in improving air temperature in urban area and to attain a tree to person ratio of 1:4 of Urban Forestry Program which is one of the component program under the 1990 Master Plan for Forestry Development (MPFD) in which the medium term is for 10-15 years; however it is already 18 years but as we could observe in our city it is not yet being completely implemented because of lack of initiative to assess the tree status.
Specifically this correlates with their third component entitles Greenbelt development (roadside planting); however this study will only identify the indigenous or native trees being planted in the urban main roads and streets that promote urban forestry and resiliency. In connection to this, the outcome of this study will improve the knowledge of the youth of this century to raise awareness and inculcate to them the idea of conservation as early as elementary level.
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