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So. Leyte soil prone to landslides

April 29 - May 5, 2017

SAINT BERNARD – A study conducted by the Department of Agronomy and Soil Science of the Visayas State University in Baybay, Leyte, showed that the soils of Southern Leyte hold too much water and can possibly inundate rice farms downstream since rain batters the province almost 12 months a year, the only territory in the country that has no real pronounced dry season.

The soil types of the province on the uplands and in the landslide prone areas are clayey, sandy and with shale deposits.

The study said the Department of Agriculture should take the lead in banning any form of agriculture in mountainous parts of Southern Leyte.

“It is strongly recommended that to improve soil stability, tree planting should be encouraged in the mountains of Southern Leyte, and tree cutting should be completely banned,” VSU head of the soil study Beatriz Jadina said.

The study is supported by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca) and published into a monograph under the Agriculture and Development Discussion Paper Series of Searca.

Searca Director Dr. Gil Saguiguit Jr. noted the study was significant since it determined with scientific accuracy the areas most vulnerable to landslides due
to the seismic activities in the Philippine Eastern Fault, which traverses Southern Leyte.

Saguiguit also explained that the findings on the high water-holding capacity (WHC) of the soils in the upper reaches of the province will have an impact on rice farming in the lowlands, as well as on abaca and coconuts, which are cultivated in tandem in the sloping areas of Southern Leyte. These sloping areas are most prone to landslides the study said.

The study further showed that only 13 percent of the land of the province or 21,647 hectares is suitable for coconut growing. Only 13 percent of Southern Leyte is best for abaca plants.

The study claims that only eight percent of the land, or 13.373.88 hectares, is suitable for human habitation, with 46 percent, or 76,742.42 hectares, categorized not suitable for human habitation.

The study revealed that logging had almost depleted the forests of Southern Leyte, and a significant portion of the hills and mountains is without vegetative cover.

The current land use in Southern Leyte is dominated by coconut, abaca, banana, grasslands, upland crops and rice in lowland areas.

The soil report found 52 landslide points throughout the province but the highest number of occurrences was observed in San Francisco, Liloan and San Ricardo.(By MARK L. RIMAS)






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