This urgent appeal asks for your help to save The Alik Sacred Forest in the Philippines - the last remaining sacred forest of the Higa-onon tribe.
The 10 hectares Alik Sacred Forest is situated on the slopes of Mount Alik on the island of Mindanao, the second biggest island in the Philippines. This is one of the last remaining intact rain forests in the region, but is in grave danger of being sold to developers before the end of the year. The neighboring mountain rain forests have already been heavily logged and exploited for metals such as copper, bronze and gold. The Higa-onon tribal elders fear that if their sacred forest is destroyed, they will lose their spiritual connection with their ancestors because they will have nowhere to conduct their traditional sacred rituals and ceremonies. Put simply, the Alik Sacred Forest is all the Higa-onon have left. If the forest dies, an ancient culture dies with it.
If the Higa-ogon tribe can’t afford to lose the Alik Sacred Forest, then neither can the country’s spectacular but threatened wildlife. The Philippines is one of the ten most biologically diverse countries in the world, with hundreds of animal species and thousands of plant species that are found nowhere else on the planet. However, because of deforestation for timber, agriculture, mining and industrial development, forest cover has declined from 70% in 1900 to only 18% a hundred years later – and more forest is being lost every day.
Mount Alik is one of the last remaining intact rainforests ecosystems in the region where such a wealth of biodiversity is found. As well as being the spiritual center of the Higa-onon tribe’s ancient culture, the Alik Sacred Forest is also home to numerous endangered species such as Philippine Eagles, Tarsiers, Pangolins and the beautiful Mindanao Bleeding Heart Dove (see photos). The rainforest also serves as a watershed for the tribal communities that live at the base of the mountain, and protects these villages from natural disasters such as landslides and floods.
Local indigenous organisation Tribes And Nature’s Defenders (TRINAD) have just 1 month to raise the 5,000 usd needed to purchase the Alik Sacred Forest, or else it will be sold off for mining and agriculture. When the forest is secured, TRINAD plan to declare this rainforest a nature reserve, and so ensure that the Higa-onon tribe will always have a sacred space to conduct their rituals and ceremonies, thus preserving their ancient culture and traditions. They also plan to develop an eco-school where the children of the tribe can learn about nature, the environment and sustainable food production. But they need your help to make this happen.
Please make a donation to save the Alik Sacred Forest by clicking on the button at the top of the page. Because if this haven of biodiversity is not protected, an ancient tribal culture will be lost forever.
Also please share this appeal with your friends and family on social media or by email. The more people chip in, the more hope we have of saving this vital area of threatened rainforest. Thank you for helping rainforests and tribal peoples.