Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Shade of Noah’s Flood.


Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class Monday to Friday (www.pbs.gov.ph)


Flash flood as I recall it in painting, acrylic 2009

 The water kept on rising and dad made another notch on the post of our stair.

It is the season of siyamsiyam we call in Ilocano nepnep, the phenomenal – or is it proverbial? – “nine-plus-nine days of continuous rainfall” which occurs usually in August, the rainiest month in the country and peak of the monsoon in the Asian region. But it had been raining much longer than that, and dad said it would last for forty days, citing the story in the bible about Noah’s Flood.

I was in the elementary but I was then strong enough to wade and retrieve our empty basi jars or burnay being swept away by the flood. Since there was no dry ground left I pulled the jars from the rushing current. It was not easy to restrain a jar partly filled with water so that you have to empty it as much as you can before you could pull it to safety. Dad and I barely understood each other at the top of our voices in the downpour and rumbling flood, but I knew he was telling me to let the jars go because of the extreme danger, pointing at the main current just across the house.

But I simply ignored him not realizing the danger until he pulled me, letting off the jars to roll in the current sometimes banging at one another. We never gave up though with whatever we could under the extreme situation. My brother Eugene was even more daring, overtaking the jars before they were swept to the street. Manang Veny kept an watchful eye on the jars in the cellar and under the sagumbi (kichen-granary).

When we were nearly exhausted dad examined the water level he marked earlier. It was down two marks which meant the water was receding. Only then did we realize we had been working in danger, cold and hungry, for the whole morning. In the afternoon the jars came to a halt in the muddy sediment.  The flood was over. I thought I saw a white dove flying above.

Where did the floodwater come from? Towards the east is the edge of the Cordillera range running parallel with the coast of South China Sea. Dad used to tell me that when he was like me then, it was verdant green, bluish in the morning mist and before dusk.

I realized how different it was on that day the floodwater came down.  It is worse today.  When the day is clear you can see the scars of erosion in roan and orange and ochre, breaking the monotony and giving it a somewhat romantic touch. But these are not good signs.  In fact they are signs of destruction of the forest cover, the watershed of the narrow strip of flat land spreading out northward and spilling westward to the South China Sea. Along it is a chain of villages around towns wedged by the mountain and the sea. One can imagine the movement of water when it rains, and how ground water is trapped and stored to irrigate tobacco, vegetables and other summer crops.

But without trees, runoff water simply rushes down into flood, scouring on its way riverbanks, farms and houses.  There is not enough time and foothold for rain to seep into the ground and feed the spring and aquifers.  And there is not enough ground water to be drawn out from wells. Because water is scarce and too deep trees succumb in summer and brushfire often sweeps and consumes the dying vegetation.   

Many years has passed since the Noah’s Flood of my childhood.  I trained my tired aging eyes over the Cordillera of my childhood.  It too, is now old, tired and worn.~

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Kamote Tops Beauty

In observance of World Food Day October 16, 2016
Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog [avrotor.blogspot.com]
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid  738 DZRB AM with Ms Melly C Tenorio 
8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

(Model: Miss Gelyn S Gabao, 19 Filipina)

Kamote (Ipomea batatas) tops contain more minerals and vitamins than any other vegetables, or its equivalent weight in meat and poultry. It is a glow food that enhances natural beauty and health, and gives that gait, poise and stride that many beauties display. It is the secret to acquiring and maintaining natural immunity and high resistance against diseases and other ailments. It contains substances that sharpen the brain and quicken responses to situations and the environment. 

It is a vegetable all year round. In summer kamote is grown in the fields and gardens for its enlarged roots or tubers which are rich in carbohydrates (go food) and rich in protein (grow food). In the habagat, it grows wild and luxuriant on hilltops, on levees and dikes, on the uplands, covering wide areas, keeping weeds down and protecting the soil from erosion. 


Kamote tops make an excellent dish with mungo and pork, bulanglang with shrimp or fish, and mushroom, or cooked in other recipes, or served as salad, blanched with red, ripe tomatoes and sliced onions, with a dash of salt, or a dip of fish sauce - bagoong or patis. Or cooked in tinola in place of pepper leaves, and green papaya. Why not blanch the tops on rice in its final stage of cooking? Add bagoong squeezed with calamansi or lemon. 

Kamote tops, maligned for being a poor man's food, rise to the apex of the food pyramid, top the list health programs, and doctors' prescription. Kamote tops occupies the rank of malunggay, alugbati, talinum, and spinach, relegating lettuce and other crucifers - cabbage and cauliflower and pechay - to the backseat.

Kamote tops are safe to health and the environment because they don't carry residues of pesticides applied on the field on many crops, and also those of toxic metals like lead, mercury and cadmium. Damaged parts are simply discarded, harvesting only the succulent and healthy leaves for further safety and better presentation.

Kamote tops come in green and purple, characteristic of the plant varieties, but in both cases, the same nutritive values are derived, with some advantage from the purple variety which contains xanthophyll in addition to chlorophyl. Both are recommended for anemic persons for their high iron content, and to those suffering from poor bone development, poor eyesight, and poor metabolism.


Kamote tops are used as planting materials, a case of cloning in the plant world, each stem becoming a new plant rejuvenated and true to type genetically - and younger than the parent source.  The new plant is capable of carrying all processes that constitute the plant's cycle.  It is a phenomenon known in variable observations in the living world, which heretofore remains unsolved by science.

Beauties come naturally with good food, simple and active lifestyle, in the rural areas where sunshine, clean air and surrounding, make a perfect combination from which spring the true beauty of man and woman, as compared to the makeup beauty from cosmetics, expensive salons, and by the so-called wonders of science and technology like liposuction and surgery. Why can't we simply eat kamote tops more often?~

Malunggay - Miracle Tropical Tree

Dr Abe V Rotor
In observance of World Food Day October 16, 2016
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class Monday to Friday
A sapling of Malunggay (Moringa oleifera) propagated from cutting. This tropical tree vegetable grows up to twenty years or more on well-drained loam soil. No home is without malunggay in the province. Leaves, flowers, young and mature pods are made into various recipes. The tree needs no attention virtually - no spraying, fertilization, and it is self regenerating after a typhoon or heavy pruning. It grows on borders, fences and hedges and becomes part of the landscpae.

There is a technique in preparing the pod, and it needs practice to do it: deftly skin the pod with a knife on its three sides one after another, then de-rib the edges, as shown in this photo. Cut into the clean pods into pieces.

Malunggay pod is cooked into bulanglang or diningding. To thicken the soup add kamote (sweet potato) tuber sliced or in cubes, which is first cooked and softened to paste. The cleaned pod is then added, followed by sahog, say broiled or fried tilapia, or pork, as may be preferred.What nutrients do we get from malunggay?

Here is a comparison of the food value of the fresh leaves versus green pods, in percent. (Marañon and Hermano, Useful Plants of the Philippines)

• Proteins - 7.30 vs 7.29

• Carbohydrates - 11.04 vs 2.61

• Fats - 1.10 vs 0.16

• Crude Fiber - 1.75 vs 0.76

• Phosphorus (P2 O 5) - 0.24 vs 0.19

 Calcium (CaO) - 0.72 vs 0.01

• Iron (Fe2O3) - 0.108 vs 0.0005

Owing to these properties and other uses, rural folks regard malunggay a “miracle tree.” Take for example the following uses.
• The root has a taste somewhat like that of horse-radish, and in India it is eaten as a substitute to it.
• Ben oil extracted from the seed is used for salad and culinary purposes, and also as illuminant.
• Mature seeds have antibacterial and flocculants properties that render drinking water safe and clear.

From these data, it is no wonder malunggay is highly recommended by doctors and nutritionists for both children and adults, particularly to nursing mothers and the convalescents.

Make it a family habit to serve a dish of malunggay regularly. ~

Plants every home garden must have

A home garden is beneficial for your cooking and dining, home beautification and sanitation, and most important of all, your health. And, why not initiate gardening in your school and community?
(Please visit: Urban Gardening Models in this Blog)

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

Lesson - Rainy season will peak in July and August. Take advantage of the season. There's natural fertilizer in the soil. Alternate sunshine and rainfall favors plants to grow and develop fast. Have these plants listed in your backyard, idle lots sidewalk, park, also pots, cans and plastic containers. (See Home Garden Models)

Don't replace any plant that is useful or have potential value. Allow those that spontaneously grow like saluyot, spinach, alugbati talinum, gulasiman. They are wild and seasonal. Help them grow for your vegetable supply, herbal medicine, and animal feeds.

It's gardening time! And gardening is beneficial for your kitchen, home beautification and sanitation, and most important of all, your health. And, why not initiate gardening in your school and community?

Saba banana (Musa sapientum): multipurpose - leaves for food wrapper (suman, tupig, bibingka, kanin), packaging material (baon, live or fresh fish and aquatic products), leaves as floorwax. Fruit, ripe or green, excellent source of energy and nutrients, so with the flowers (puso ng saging). Trunk as source of fiber and packing materials. Mushroom spawn under banana plants.Coconut (Cocos nucifera): It's the most important plant in the world when it comes to productivity and variety of products. The nut is a complete food - young or mature. There is no part of the plant that has no value. Walis tingting, leaves for mat, wall, and sinambong basket. Trunk lumber outlasts most wood. Fiber from husk for cordage and net, coir dust for soil conditioner. Flower spadix for ties and rope. Nectar  for beverage and lambanog. All you need is two to three trees at some years age interval. A coconut tree can live productively up to fifty years giving you at least a dozen nuts every month.

Malunggay, the miracle vegetable. In the province no home is without this small tree at the backyard or on a vacant lot. The leaves, flowers, juvenile pods and young fruits of Moringa oleifera (Family Moringaceae) go well with fish, meat, shrimp, mushroom, and the like. It is one plant that does not need agronomic attention, not even weeding and fertilization, much less chemical spraying. You simply plant an arms length cutting or two, in some corner or along the fence and there it grows into a tree that can give you a ready supply of vegetables yearound. What nutrients do we get from malunggay?

Here is a comparison of the food value of the fresh leaves and young fruits, respectively, in percent. (Marañon and Hermano, Useful Plants of the Philippines)

• Proteins 7.30 7.29
• Carbohydrates 11.04 2.61
• Fats 1.10 0.16
• Crude Fiber 1.75 0.76
• Phosphorus (P2 O 5) 0.24 0.19
• Calcium (CaO) 0.72 0.01
• Iron (Fe2O3) 0.108 0.0005

Atsuete or anatto (Bixa orellana) is the best natural food color and adjunct, in cooking paella, upo, noodles, frog, etc. It is used extensively in imparting color of cheese and butter, also yogurt. Natural cosmetics are made from atsuete. Flowers are colorful in the garden. Its a small tree, provides good shade and does not attract insects.

Kamias: Once in a while try sinigang with kamias, specially fish. It takes out the fish smell. ITs dourness is distinct from vinegar, tamarind, and kalamansi. Just don't indulge too much because the sour taste is oxalic acid which is deficient in calcium. But oxalic acid is best for cleaning tiles and utensils. Its effective in cleaning the drain. Bees often visit its flowers.

Tanglad or lemon grass as food condiment for kuhol and lechon. As deodorizer, it imparts pleasant smell, absorbs or masks unplesant odor in bathroom and kitchen.

Aloe vera is a used mainly as hair conditioner, stimulating hair growth, and giving shine and smoothness on dull and rough hair. It is mixed with fruit juice. Commercial fruit juice products use aloevera as solids or pulps. As home remedy, it is used to treat minor burns.Gumamela: It comes in more than a dozen varieties. Other than its all year round flowers that make a garden attractive and home of butterflies, the gumamela serves as home remedy for boil and mumps. Young petals are also cooked as vegetable

Alugbati is a climber, and lives for some years providing a continuous supply of shoots or tops cooked as vegetable, best with mungo. It is the cheapest and readily available source of iron for the family.

Pandan mabango: Aromatic, its leaves improve the taste of food. Put a leaf in a pot of  old rice (laon) before cooking to take out the moldy taste and smell. Pandan leaves make a refreshing drink with any fruit juice. Try sago, gulaman and pandan. Pandan cake? It breaks the monotony in bread products. First prepare a layer of pandan leaves like mat before cooking fish paksiw will taste. Clean kitchen utensils and tiles with crushed leaves. A unique volatile oil present only in pandan mabango make this plant a favorite of housewives .

These are also a must to have in the garden: 
  1. Onion (shallot or bulb)
  2. Papaya
  3. Guava
  4. Sorosoro (karimbuaya Ilk)
  5. Oregano
  6. Lagundi
  7. Sambong
  8. Lemon or kalamansi
  9. Luya (ginger)
  10. Sampaguita
Don't forget to build a garden pond and plant around it water-loving plants. Pond water becomes green with algae. It is the best natural fertilizer, specially if you are raising tilapia or hito or Pangasius catfish.
  1. Kangkong
  2. Gabi
  3. Sugarcane for chewing
Here are some suggested plants to include.
  1. Kutchai (photo, right)
  2. Siling labuyo
  3. Kamote
  4. Yerba buena (mint)
  5. Ampalaya
  6. Tsaang Gubat or wild tea (photo, top)
Depending on the type of soil and climate of your place, you can add on to this list, substitute those that don't fit. Arrange plants into a multistory structure for in increase density and diversity. Arrange them according to a homestead pattern for functional and aesthetic reasons. Aim for functionality and practicality.

Just don't overload your garden. Give yourself a break. Don't be a slave to your garden, so to speak. By the way even without our knowing it, annual plants simply sprout in the garden. Many of these are seasonal. While most are so-called weeds, there are food plants that grow spontaneously like saluyot, amaranth of kolitis, wild yam, wild ampalaya, talinum, and at least a dozen more if you are living in a fertile and well drained area.

A home garden actually is a miniature representation of a large farm. It is typical in size for a family, as small as 10 square meters to one hectare. 
The garden is an integral part of the home. It aims at self-sufficiency, environmental friendliness, and health-promoting, and ultimately, at living in a Home, Sweet Home with Nature.~

Monday, October 17, 2016

Young Markus Meets the Dawn of Discovery

Great discoveries and inventions have their roots in childhood.
Dr Abe V Rotor

Christopher Columbus as a child played by the seaside looking far into the horizon with a toy boat at his feet. Florence Nightingale’s treated her first patient when she was a little girl, a wounded dog she brought back to health. Brahms composed the world’s most popular lullaby as a kid babysitter who could barely reach the keys of the piano. 

The snowmobile, earmuff, trampoline, popsicle, were all invented by kids. It was a kid who accidentally discovered (serendipity) one of the earliest human fossils. Whoever discovered the creepiest creature like the jumping spider, and the brightest supernova thought to be a UFO, could not have been an adult, but a curious and sensitive child.  


Kids can see more stars in the sky, listen to the whale’s call as music, see grass actually growing, build sandcastles.  They are discoverers and inventors in the making.  They need role models in their search and aspirations in making a better  world and tomorrow.   They are the likes of Einstein, Edison, Mozart, Da Vinci, Bell, Linnaeus, Darwin, et al. when they were young.               

Young Markus and Yaya at home in QC

Greet the morning on a flower hanging,
with dewdrops like gems shining;
Where have the gems gone at the end of day?
Come back with the sun we pray.

A wall mural and a tree trunk at home QC 

A wall mural, bats emerging as darkness falls;
a tree beside, moss and lichen astride,
here reality and imagery the essence of art. 
so in life, together lie side by side.  


Lobster's Claw (Heliconia) and coconut tree at home QC 
By semblance, a lobster is a flower;
to a child, they are the same, 
big and small by the same Creator 
keeps them play the same game.  ~


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Taming the Giant Alovera in the Garden



Who would suspect this lowly fleshy plant left growing in a garden or in the wild to be of great importance to health and grooming? Thanks to the revival of traditional and natural medicine. Various formulations - from skin ointment to juice drink have suddenly emerged in the market. 
Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature - School on Blog avrotor@gmail.com
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio 738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday [www.pbs.gov.ph]  
Miss Jules Rojas Sta. Maria holds a huge potted  Alovera (=Aloe barbadensis) at home in QC; cross section of leaf showing gel-filled parenchyma cells. Food, medicine, cosmetics products etc are prepared from the aloe vera gel.

It looks menacing, octopus in many ways - fleshy with radiating arms lined with spines, spotted all over, and snaking through other plants in our garden. There it is growing wild, or cultured for its many uses, exaggeratedly popular to the point that it is an elixir since ancient Egypt, Greece, China, and the whole tropical region. 

My dad used alovera to treat minor burns. He would pick a leaf,  split it after removing the spines along the edges, and make a poultice over the affected skin. When I became a father myself I did the same thing to my kids.  Alovera imparts immediate relief and prevents infection. And healing takes place faster than any natural means I know. 

I used to joke my friends whose hair is vanishing (the HIVs). "Mag alovera kayo," an advice to apply crushed alovera to grow back thinning hair. And they would laugh like we were in a beer garden, then throw back the challenge at us who were then well into our middle age. 


Just as alovera is hair rejuvenating, it is also effective in skin care and protection. No wonder alovera has been in use as gel pack even before someone introduced mud pack, an invention inspired in the animal kingdom. Old folk say, the gel is moisturizing, and as it dries slowly binds the skin cells from sagging. Take it from a scientific explanation.   

Researches discovered in alovera the presence of keratin, the primary protein of hair, consists of amino acids, oxygen, carbon, and small amounts of hydrogen, nitrogen, and sulphur. Alovera has a chemical make up similar to that of keratin and it rejuvenates the hair with its own nutrients, giving it more elasticity and preventing breakage.

Native Aloe vera, grown by garden enthusiasts for its neat radial symmetry and modest inflorescence.
There is much more to this report to support alovera's rejuvenating properties. This translucent gel is made up of around 96 percent water, a type of protein made up of 18 of the 20 amino acids found in the body. And it contains Vitamin A, B, C and E which important to the body.
The selling point that made alovera build a multi million industry is its claimed anti-ageing qualities - from cosmetic products, medicine, to food and beverages.

One thing more is that alovera gel is a complex carbohydrate known as acemannan. It allows nutrients to reach the cells, nourish them and at the same time relieve them of toxins. ------------------------------
Early records of Aloe vera use appear in the Ebers Papyrus from the 16th century BC, and in Dioscorides' De Materia Medica and Pliny the Elder's Natural History – both written in the mid-first century AD. It is also written of in the Juliana Anicia Codex of 512 AD. The plant is used widely in the traditional herbal medicine of many countries.------------------------------
Make your own Aloe drink. Scoop the gel leaving behind the skin and any discolored part.  Simply add to your favorite prepared juice drink. Or make your own mix of water, sugar, and flavor. One leaf extract makes a liter of aloe drink.  Your product can compare  - if not better than commercial products - because it is fresh and there is no preservative added. Besides you used glass container - not plastic or alum can.  

Caution: Doctors caution taking internally during pregnancy, menstruation, having hemorrhoid problem, and degenerative liver and gall bladder condition. Oral ingestion may cause abdominal cramps and diarrhea, which in turn can decrease the absorption of drugs. Non-decolorized liquid aloe vera is carcinogenic in test animals. 
Use of topical aloe vera is not associated with significant side effects. ~ 

Acknowledgement: Internet, Wikipedia, Living with Nature Series by AVR

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Devolution of Life - Reverse Evolution

“Man has reversed the natural process of evolution and has put into his hands the pattern and trends as he wishes, playing the role of his Creator.” - AVR
Dr Abe V Rotor
Author's son Leo Carlo holds two endangered Philippine species of hawk and owl, Avilon zoo, Rizal 


All living things, past and present, are progenies of evolution and are interconnected in one way or the other. And each one has a place in the phylogeny, the chart of evolution.

Imagine the organisms in countless numbers assigned in distinct groupings scientists call as “kingdoms,” with the ancient ones occupying the bottom, and the complex ones at the top. And each kingdom is divided into sub-groups arranged in the same pattern – from simple to complex members.

1. From the first Green Revolution – the transformation of man from hunter to farmer some 10,000 years ago – man has narrowed down the diversity of crops and animals according to his needs.
2. The loss of ecosystems all over the world as population and settlements continue to expand has not only predisposed species to extinction but caused permanent damage of these natural habitats, that it is virtually impossible to rebuild them back into their original states.

3. Global Warming is causing sea level to rise and flood low lying area. On the polar ice and ice caps are melting down. Global warming stirs climate change which is causing climatic disturbances. There is a increasing rate and intensity of typhoons, hurricanes, tornado, flooding, drought, and the like,

4. Pollution on land, water and air, in increasing levels brought about by industrialization, growing population and affluence of living, has triggered man-induced phenomena that threaten species and life itself.
                                          Formosan Bear - now extinct.
5. Rapid population increase, industrialization and affluent living all lead to changing chemistry of the land, water and air. We do not only mix natural elements and compounds; we synthesize them into products foreign to nature. Plastics for example do not decompose, gases from car react to form acid rain, toxic metal run through the food chain and food web, and natural waterways are open sewers. These do not only disturb life; they maim, kill, annihilate; they turn productive areas into wastelands.

6. Man intrudes into the wildlife which continues to shrink. Gone is 80 percent of the rainforest of the world.  Ninety percent of the coral reefs have been destroyed by over fishing and by reckless means. The grasslands are shrinking giving way to farming. The sea is being farmed. Islands are now owned by private persons and organizations.
Dinosaur exhibit, QC 1986
7. Genetic engineering has broken the barriers that separate species by directly combining genes of different organisms, thereby destroying the identity and integrity of species, and therefore change their behavior and interrelationships.

8. Evolution it seems is no longer a natural process, but one dictated by human intelligence that continues to build from the indulgence on the fruits of the “Tree of Knowledge that makes man as powerful as God,” the very thing that vanished his first ancestors from the biblical Garden of Eden.

Where have all the cereal varieties gone?
There are more than 50,000 cultivars of rice presently stored in the Gene Bank of the International Rice Research Institute at UP Los Baños, Laguna. According to IRRI scientists this number represents but a fraction of the possibly rices (the plural of rice to denote distinct genetic variations) of the world since agriculture began some 5000 years ago or so.

Similarly at the Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento del Maiz y Trigo (CIMMYT) in Mexico the gene bank for wheat and corn faces the same problem as in rice, and if this is the case, it is logical that many varieties and cultivars of field crops we know today are but the selected few that man, the farmer, has intentionally preserved. In short, what these banks as well as those conserved by other organizations, are but the remnant of the world’s naturally occurring genetic pool on the one hand, and those genetically modified by man.

A cursory examination of rice sold in the market makes a short list of about a dozen misleading varieties as sinandomeng, wagwag, intan, which are pseudonyms to attract customers for the likeness of quality with those they have been named after.

To validate this observation through field survey one is likely to find even a simpler classification as upland and lowland rice, or aromatic, glutinous, red rice and the like. This is the same observation in the former prairies of North America, now the biggest cereal granary of the world extending across the Canadian border covering the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, there are only 10 major wheat varieties planted on the vast plains. For corn, the indigenous varieties are rare to find on the farm. Hybrid corn – a cross of two or more purified varieties – makes up the bulk of corn produced. Hybrids are unstable genetically. In the succeeding generations the lose hold on the genetic vigor of their parents, resulting in drastic decline in yield.

What is the implication of narrowing down the choice of varieties to be planted commercially?

First, it will result in indirect elimination of varieties in the bottom of the list, by displacement by the preferred ones and by neglect on the [art of the farmer in maintaining them.

Second, fewer varieties planted is food security risk. Severe damage to even only one major variety is likely to result in economic disaster.

Third, the narrowing down of genetic diversity disturbs the ecosystem, laying much on man’s care the survival not only of the cultivated crops but other living things in the area as well, thus leading to the further decrease in diversity and population. The loss of diversity in cereal lands applies as well in other areas as evidenced by the following:

• Vegetables sold in the market are limited to those that are salable, leaving out those that are not, and the so-called “wild vegetables” represented by such vegetables as bagbagkong, papait, sabawil, sword bean, and alukong or himbaba-o.

• The kinds of fruits may be counted by the fingers, and like vegetables, only those that are acceptable dominate the fruit stands. Today it is rare to find such indigenous fruits as tampoy, sapote, batocanag, anonang and the native counterparts of guapple and ponderosa.

• Industrial crops are also suffering of the same fate. Take the following:

1. Dipterocarp species of forest trees (narra family) are now endangered. These include apitong , yakal, tanguili, and guijo.
2. Fiber plants such as maguey (Agave family), ramie, kenaf, jute, abaca, have bee vastly neglected since the introduction of synthetics fibers.
3. Today bamboo groves occupy the fringes of wastelands and certain watershed areas. Traditional bamboo areas, like the Dipterocarp forests, are vanishing, so with many of the species and variety of this so-called giant grass.
4. The increasing demand for firewood has decimated many indigenous sources, what with the open exploitation for day-to-day gathering of firewood in marginal communities. These include madre de cacao, ipil-ipil, acacia, and aroma.
5. Even plants of medicinal value are being exploited severely such as quinine for malaria, banaba for kidney trouble, derris for insect control.
6. Seaweeds suffer the same fate as more resorts are put up, aquaculture selective only to those species of major importance are raised, deleterious effects of pollution, notwithstanding.

Agriculture, the Nemesis of Biodiversity Conservation
Whenever a land is cleared for agriculture five consequences are likely to happen. These are
• Direct elimination of plants and animals which interferes and does not constitute or conform with farming practices.

• Breaking up of the food chain and therefore, the disruption of the food web leads to the disorganization of the ecosystem. For example, a swamp converted into riceland will necessarily lose its natural biological and ecological properties. Loss of habitats results in migration or death of affected species.

• Modern agriculture, with the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, is destructive to the ecosystem.
Philippine hawk and barn owl; Philippine crocodile are among the threatened local species. Malaysian Tapir, highly endangered - result of habitat loss
Mismanagement leads not only to loss in productivity, as shown in this formula.
Biotic Potential 
Carrying Capacity/Productivity = --------------------------------
Environmental Resistance
The Carrying Capacity of an ecosystem is dependent upon favorable biological factors (biotic potential), which in turn is affected by the presence of factors that negate them (environmental resistance), among which are lack of water, poor soil condition, and destructive activities of man.

Decreasing productivity therefore, means decreasing biodiversity – which means devolution of life. ~

SUPERWEEDS - Growing Epidemic of Croplands

"Superweeds" spawned by genetic engineering threatens plantations of corn, soybeans, cotton in the US and in many parts of the world where GMO crops that are claimed to be herbicide tolerant (HT) are openly grown.
Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class Monday to Friday (www.pbs.gov.ph)


The controversial idea of developing resistance against weeds and other pests through gene splicing, as in the cases of HT soybean,  Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) corn et al, appears to have reached a disastrous end.  

In nature, all organisms undergo  biological specialization which is an adaptive mechanism in adjusting to the changing conditions of the environment, thus inarguably the most important tool in evolutionary success. No man-induced resistance will ever overtake this process that ends up into Nature's own way at attaining homeostasis or dynamic balance. Thus HT soybean, Bt Corn, thought to be caterpillar-resistant, and their kind are losing the race. This holds true to all GMOs - plants, animals, fungi, protists and monerans (microorganisms). The worst consequences have yet to come.  Already more and more people have developed fear in eating GMO products. The ultimately destruction comes in the form of permanent pollution of natural gene pools (genetic pollution) - a living bomb that impairs the natural order of the living world. 



US 'superweeds' epidemic implicates GMOs


A demonstration against agribusiness giant Monsanto and genetically modified organisms (GMO) in front of the White House in Washington. (Nicholas Kamm, AFP)2014-01-13 09:59

A demonstration against agribusiness giant Monsanto and genetically modified organisms (GMO) in front of the White House in Washington. (Nicholas Kamm, AFP)



New York - The United States is facing an epidemic of herbicide-resistant "superweeds" that some activists and researchers are blaming on GMOs, an accusation rejected by industry g
According to a recent study, the situation is such that American farmers are "heading for a crisis".Many scientists blame overuse of herbicides, prompted by seeds genetically modified to resist them.

"In parts of the country, weeds resistant to the world's most popular herbicide, glyphosate, now grow in the vast majority of soybean, cotton, and corn fields," many of which were planted with seeds resistant to the weedkiller, said the study published in the journal Science in September.










Happy pigweed and lambsquarters (common weeds in the US) enjoying themselves in a soybean field.

Superweeds are not a new consequence of genetically modified crops. A recent article in the New York Times reports that the first glyphosate resistant weed was found in 2000 in a Delaware soybean field. In the past 10 years 10 more resistant species have been discovered in 22 states, mostly in corn, soy and cotton fields.

Just as the heavy use of antibiotics contributed to the rise of drug-resistant supergerms, American farmers' near-ubiquitous use of the weedkiller 
glyphosate has led to the rapid growth of tenacious new superweeds.

Where have all the claimed advantage of Herbicide Tolerant Crops

(ISAAA - International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications)
    • Excellent weed control and hence higher crop yields;
    • Flexibility – possible to control weeds later in the plant’s growth;
    • Reduced numbers of sprays in a season;
    • Reduced fuel use (because of less spraying);
    • Reduced soil compaction (because of less need to go on the land to spray);
    • Use of low toxicity compounds which do not remain active in the soil; and
    • The ability to use no-till or conservation-till systems, with consequent benefits to soil structure and organisms (Felsot, 2000).
    These advantages are based on a  study conducted by the American Soybean Association (ASA) on tillage frequency on soybean farms showed that significant numbers of farmers adopted the “no-tillage” or “reduced tillage” practice after planting herbicide-tolerant soybean varieties.  This simple weed management approach saved over 234 million gallons of fuel and left 247 million tons of irreplaceable topsoil undisturbed. (This is short-term advantage and area specific.) 

    Superweeds Danger Zone based on the Current Status of Herbicide Tolerance

    From 1996 to 2011, herbicide- tolerant crops consistently occupied the largest planting area of biotech crops. In 2011 alone, herbicide tolerant crops occupied 93.3 million hectares or 59% of the 160 million hectares of biotech crops planted globally. The most common are the glyphosate and glufosinate tolerant varieties. The following table shows countries that have approved major HT crops for food use.
    Superweed epidemic negates a literature review conducted by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology concluded that the environment benefits from the use of HT crops. In the US, for example, no-till soybean acreage has increased by 35% since the introduction of HT soybean. A similar trend is observed in Argentina where soybean fields are 98% planted with HT varieties. 
    Worldwide susceptibility to SUPERWEEDS
    Crop
    Countries
    AlfalfaAustralia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, United States of America (USA)
    Argentine Canola
    Australia; Canada; Chile, China; European Union (EU); Japan; Korea, Rep.; Mexico; New Zealand; Philippines; South Africa; USA
    Cotton
    Argentina; Australia; Brazil; Canada; China; Colombia; Costa Rica; EU; Japan; Korea, Rep.; Mexico; New Zealand; Philippines; Singapore; South Africa; USA
    Flax, LinseedCanada; USA
    Maize
    Argentina; Australia; Brazil; Canada; China; Colombia; El Salvador; EU; Honduras; Japan; Korea, Rep.; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Philippines; Russian Federation; Singapore; South Africa; Spain; Taiwan; Thailand; USA; Uruguay
    Rice
    Australia; Canada; Colombia; Mexico; New Zealand; Russian Federation; USA
    Soybean
    Argentina; Australia; Bolivia; Brazil; Canada; Chile; China; Colombia; Costa Rica; Czech Republic; EU; Japan; Korea, Rep.; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Paraguay; Philippines; Russian Federation; South Africa; Switzerland; Taiwan; Thailand; Turkey; United Kingdom; USA; Uruguay
    SugarbeetAustralia; Canada; Colombia; EU; Japan; Korea, Rep.; Mexico; New Zealand; Philippines; Russian Federation; Singapore; USA
    WheatColombia; USA
    Source: ISAAA's GM Approval Database. http://www.isaaa.org/gmapprovaldatabase/.
      Acknowledgement: Philippine Daily Inquirer, The World, January 14, 2014, Internet, Wikipedia, Scientific American, Time, USDA, ISAAA