A living canvas: Depicting Bendum’s biodiversity in the gaup

Yanyan Yacapin

One of the walls at Balay Magnanau showcases a vivid painting of the Bendum gaup and its biodiversity. This artwork highlights the 20 pillar species essential for biodiversity while emphasizing the interdependence between different bird species and certain tree species known as tulubugēn (a host tree for birds and other animals).

A creative expression of diversity and knowledge as APC-Forest, Farm, and Leadership in the Margins youth at work on the painting documenting the pillar species and other flora and fauna in the gaup.

As a learning tool, the illustration gives a comprehensive view of different tree species, emphasizing their characteristics such as bark, leaf shape, leaves, buds, flowers, and fruits.

Moreover, the painting allows viewers to see the intricate nature of forests, and in particular, the pillar species that are flourishing at the heart of this forest and giving the forest its structure. These details are crucial in providing as much information to the viewers to imagine the forest.

Culturally, this artwork is also a significant illustration of what is in the gaup as they give a detailed structure of the mountains which helped shape the culture and identity of the Pulangiyēn.

While most pillar species are not tulubugēn, these trees play a crucial role in fostering relationships between animals and insects that increase the overall diversity of the ecosystem by serving as a habitat and food source. In contrast, tulubugēn trees become feeding grounds for visiting birds and animals during specific seasons. The presence of tulubugēn trees also indicates the existence of various birds of prey, preying on smaller birds that feed on fruit trees and insects.

A common food supply for birds is also available in some pioneer species, which attract visitors every day or several times a year. Group travel and individual visits from birds create a dynamic ecosystem within the vicinity.

The availability of clear references is a key challenge for the presentation of such an interactive learning experience. With limited time to photograph and gather information on bark, structure, leaves, buds, flowers, and fruits, the youth were only able to illustrate an initial aspect of the landscape.

It is hoped that in the coming months, more illustrations can be done to establish a comprehensive database with seasonal information and documentation.

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