Invasive tree species like the African Tulip (left) and the Large-Leaf or Big-Leaved Mahogany (right) will no longer be allowed to be planted if an ordinance being proposed in the City Council will be approved. (Photos by Forest & Kim Starr and jayeshpatil912 through Wikipedia)

An ordinance prohibiting the introduction and planting of invasive tree species in all 66 barangays of Puerto Princesa was recently proposed in the City Council.

In an interview Friday with Josephine May Cantal, the private secretary of Councilor Jimmy Carbonell who authored this proposed ordinance, she said it aims for a balanced ecology in Puerto Princesa.

“Sa committee meeting sa environment napag-usapan with the City ENRO (Environment and Natural Resources Office) na isa sa plans ay tanggalin na ang mga invasive tree species. Naisip ni Kagawad Carbonell to make an ordinance para maisabatas natin ‘yong plano ng ENRO para makatulong na rin ‘yong publiko sa pagtanggal ng invasive trees at para hindi na rin sila magtanim ng ganitong uri ng mga puno,” said Cantal.

Entitled as “Invasive Forest Ordinance,” it was referred to the committee on environmental protection and natural resources headed by Carbonell on its first reading during the regular session, Monday.

Cantal said these species include: African Tulip (Spathodea campanulata), Alibangbang (Bauhinia malabarica), Gmelina/Yemane (Gmelina arborea), Ipil-Ipil (Leucaena leucocephala), Large-Leaf or Big-Leaved Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla), Mangium (Acacia mangium), Paper Mulberry (Broussonetia papyriferia), and Rubber Tree (Hevea brasiliensis).

“Itong mga non-native or invasive trees mabilis silang mag-repopulate. ‘Yong mga invasive trees natatabunan nila o nao-overwhelm nila ‘yong mga endemic natin dito. Napipigilan nila [ang paglago] ng mga native species natin dito,” said Cantal.

She said these species are considered invasive because they “overwhelm” Palawan native tree species and hinders them from thriving.

The ordinance also noted that they pose a threat to the ecosystem, that if left unrestrained could inflict the environment or cause harm to human health.

She said this ordinance, once approved, will prohibit any individual, group or community to introduce or plant the above-mentioned species.

Noted in the ordinance are attached penalties for violations: P1,000 for the first offense; P3,000 for the second, and P5,000 or community service for the third depending upon the discretion of the court.