TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, June 9, 2011 (PIA)--RE-GREENING the country’s 8 million forest cover lost in the last near-century sprouts as government sources reveal a plan to rouse the most number of volunteers and plant the most number of trees in a day for Bohol’s 1607 denuded lands.
Target for volunteer recruitment are the country’s students, government employees, local government officials and their employees, community organizations and non-government groups, local greening organizers said.
According to Community Environment and Natural Resources Officers (CENRO) in Bohol, the overall intention is to cover in the next six years some 1.5 million hectares of denuded and barren lands in the country with some 1.5 billion trees beginning June 25, the day the whole world commemorates World Arbor Day.
CENRO Tagbilaran Eusalem Quiwag explained over at Kapihan sa PIA Thursday that the program is packed in what is called as the National Greening Project (NGP), which attempts to consolidate and harmonize earlier reforestation activities of the country.
“The program,” CENRO Talibon Alex Estopa added, “is in consonance with President Benigno Simeon Aquino’s Executive Order No. 26 which has become a government priority.”
Smarting from other reforestation programs in the past with generally stunted successes, instead of planting specific trees, environment authorities explained that communities can plant based on the areas they intend to green.
“In titled areas, some people may want to plant fruit trees which they can later nurture and utilize, or fast growing lumber trees which they can use for household repairs,” Quiwag said.
In protected areas, he said trees, which are more endemic are preferred because harvesting on this part is banned.
There have been earlier programs like the Upland Greening, Luntiang Pilipinas, and still a whole lot of others initiated by socio-civil and other interest groups, which the NGP intends to harmonize to finally grow a program that gets the work done, according to Quiwag.
Based from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources data, the country used to have some 30 million hectares if timberlands and forests in centuries ago, the figure drastically shrunk to half or only about 15 hectares in early 1900.
“The latest data in 1999 showed we have lost almost 8 million hectares of forests and timberlands,” Quiwag stressed.
On the program, environment authorities said Bohol committed to some 1,607 hectares in the next six years, where 537 hectares of it would be CENRO Tagbilaran’s share and another 1070 hectares for CENRO Talibon.
“In Bohol, Cenro level, we do not have such a big area, but Talibon has bigger and more vast lands,” Quiwag points out.
“Our minimum would be for CENRO to facilitate the re-greening of 489 hectares of timberland and mangroves, some corporations organizing social mobilizations are expected to put up another 28 hectares while local water utilities also commit to some 20 more hectares,” Quiwag added highlighting the famed convergence of efforts in Bohol in Tagbilaran.
For CENRO Talibon’s Estopa, he said they are now targeting to get to the Community Based Forest Management Agreement (CBFMA) areas where there is an assured areas cared by communities to ascertain high survival rates.
For him, the program succeeds in Talibon if they could plant some 5,000 seedlings at least at a rate of 500 seedlings per hectare at 85% survival rates.
Meanwhile, Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto has urged local government units to drum up support for the project which would be having a ceremonial launches in the towns on June 12. (Rey Anthony Chiu)