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Pagudpud landcape

Leonard Co, Episode 1: If a Tree Falls

In the 1930s, forests comprised more than half of the Philippines' land area. Just 90 years later, less than 25% of the country's forest cover remains. The loss of those millions of hectares of trees has resulted in fatal landslides and flash floods. And while in recent decades a number of reforestation programs have been put in place, it's not just about planting trees, it's about planting the right trees. 

Leonard Co believed that to heal the environment, we have to go back to our roots. Literally. As one of the Philippines' leading botanists, he studied and made important discoveries about its indigenous plants and trees. But a decade ago in Kananga, Leyte, he was cut down.

This is the first of a three-part series that looks at Leonard Co's legacy.

Banner image: Ground crawling vines help prevent erosion near beach shorelines in Ilocos Sur province / Credit: Wayne S. Grazio via Flickr.