Trees grow again in mined-out fields

Agriculture - - Contents -

A 42-HECTARE for­mer cop­per-pyrite aban­doned mine in Ba­ga­cay, Samar has been re­ha­bil­i­tated by the De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources (DENR), prov­ing mined out ar­eas can be re­stored as lush forests. Jointly un­der­taken by DENR-at­tached Ecosys­tems Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Bu­reau (ERDB) and the Mines and Geo­sciences Bu­reau (MGB), the re­for­esta­tion of Ba­ga­cay Mine used phy­tore­me­di­a­tion (the use of liv­ing plants to re­move con­tam­i­nants in soil, sludge, sed­i­ment, sur­face, and ground wa­ter) This pi­lot ef­fort to re­for­est a mined-out area started in 2009. To­tal area covered is 2,672 hectares.

Ba­ga­cay Mine used to be op­er­ated by Marinduque Mine In­dus­trial Cor­po­ra­tion from 1956 to 1985 and by the Philip­pine Pyrite Cor­po­ra­tion from 1986 to 1992. It ranked first in the gen­eral risk rank­ing among the in­ac­tive mines in the Philip­pines.

In the joint re­search un­der­taken by ERDB and MGB, three ex­per­i­men­tal blocks of land mea­sur­ing 20 me­ters by 50 me­ters were put up. All these three ex­per­i­men­tal blocks were cho­sen for hav­ing been laced with heavy met­als. “ERDB de­ter­mined the po­ten­tial of se­lected in­dige­nous tree species in re­green­ing and ab­sorb­ing toxic elements [from] the aban­doned mined-out

Species used that have aes­thet­i­cally greened the for­mer mine in Hi­noban­gan, West­ern Samar are Mt. Agoho ( Gym­nos­toma rumphi­anum), ve­tiver ( Ve­tive­ria zizan­ioides), narra ( Pte­ro­car­pus in­di­cus), Aca­cia au­ri­culi­formis or A. Auri, and mangium ( Aca­cia mangium).

“To­day, the aes­thetic con­di­tion of the waste dump area has im­proved. A to­tal of forty two hectares of mined out area have been suc­cess­fully planted al­ready. The project has also pro­vided em­ploy­ment to the sur­round­ing com­mu­nity,” said ERDB Di­rec­tor Dr. Henry A. Ador­nado.

area,” said Ador­nado.

Af­ter the study pe­riod, high con­cen­tra­tions of heavy met­als were recorded for Mt. Agoho, mangium, A. auri, and narra. This showed that the four species planted on the metal-filled soil were most ef­fi­cient in ab­sorb­ing the met­als and in dis­tribut­ing heavy met­als from their roots to leaves.

“All hope is not lost for the en­vi­ron­ment. The ini­tial re­sults of the phy­tore­me­di­a­tion study con­ducted by the DENR-ERDB and MGB re­vealed that mined-out ar­eas can be re­ha­bil­i­tated through the use of ap­pro­pri­ate tech­nol­ogy,” said Ador­nado.

ERDB Forester Gre­go­rio E. San­tos, Jr., study project leader, said that with the in­her­ent phy­tore­me­di­a­tion ca­pac­ity of se­lected tree species along with the fer­til­iza­tion tech­nique, an ob­serv­able in­crease in the height of mangium and Agoho del Monte was ob­served in the for­mer mine.

Biomass (or­ganic mat­ter com­posed of liv­ing and re­cently de­ceased or­gan­isms) pro­duced by narra was noted to pro­vide nu­tri­ents to the soil that prompted the growth of grasses and other shrub species.

The re­search also re­vealed that or­ganic fer­til­izer treat­ment could work well in ar­eas like the Ba­ga­cay mine.

The com­bi­na­tion of an area of one by three me­ters of for­est soil, 1 liter of agri­cul­tural lime, and 3 liters of or­ganic fer­til­izer (chicken ma­nure) was found to be the best treat­ment for the four tree species that were in­cluded in the study, ac­cord­ing to ERDB forestry staff mem­bers Niro Vil­lac­eran, Joseph An­thony Luna, Jose Mil­ton Mon­taras, and Zan­der Do­den.

ERDB hopes that this joint re­search may in­spire other min­ing com­pa­nies to use sim­i­lar re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­to­cols to bring back the nat­u­ral state of the mined out ar­eas in the Philip­pines. The agency is cur­rently im­ple­ment­ing the use of other ERDB-de­vel­oped tech­nolo­gies such as car­bonized biomass and Hi Q Vam 1 (a biofer­til­izer that uses my­c­or­rhizal tech­nol­ogy) in this en­deavor. ERDB ex­perts ap­plied Hi Q Vam on the plants while they were grow­ing.

Hi Q Vam, also my­c­or­rhiza, is a fun­gus that has a sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship with plants. My­c­or­rhiza re­sides in plant roots, help­ing these re­tain soil nu­tri­ents and im­prov­ing the sur­vival and growth rate of these plants de­spite ad­verse soil con­di­tions, such as heavy metal con­tent.

Ador­nado re­it­er­ated that Sec­tion 47 of PD 705 of the Re­vised Forestry Code of the Philip­pines re­quires min­ing com­pa­nies to re­store mined ar­eas as near to its for­mer nat­u­ral state be­fore min­ing op­er­a­tions may com­mence. (Growth Pub­lish­ing for ERDB)

Ba­ga­cay Mine prior to the ERDB-MGB re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion. Pho­tos on the fac­ing page show the fully re­ha­bil­i­tated ERDB ex­per­i­men­tal plot in Block 2 of Ba­ga­cay Mine, Hin­a­ban­gan, West­ern Samar, over a pe­riod of six years af­ter the first plant­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.