Sunday, 11 March 2012

Bicol reforestation in full steam

LEGAZPI CITY: The government’s community reforestation program went on full steam in 2011 as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM) program in Bicol reported that 33 CBFM projects were implemented regionwide, covering a total of 1,849ha, benefiting 1,884 upland farmers.

The DENR year-end report said the CBFM continued to bring benefits to upland farmers through the implementation of livelihood and agro-forestry projects with poverty alleviation and hunger mitigation as its core objectives.

The CBFM, since 2007, has provided financial assistance from the Agrarian Reform Fund (ARF) under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) to support the upland development initiatives in Bicol.

The projects under CBFM are carried out to: improve productivity of upland communities by generating additional income; and to promote food security.

Among the project’s accomplishments are: establishment of agro-forestry plantations and Agro-forestry farm development which involve the planting of forest trees combined with agricultural crops; establishment of nursery, propagation and composting; and purchase and distribution of carabaos to members of organized groups.

“These multi-faceted goals and results espoused by the CBFM-CARP program have enticed more People’s Organizations (PO) to join the project and become forest stewards,” DENR Bicol Regional Executive Director Joselin Marcus Fragada said.

In Bicol, there are now 117 community-based forest management agreements (CBFMAs) covering 49,140.33 ha with 117 people’s organization, and benefiting 9,327 individual household members from the provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon.

Foresters involved in the CBFM-CARP program said that this year, they are expecting to add more projects as more POs have signified intent to enter into an agreement with the DENR.

The CBFM program was adopted in the region in 1994 pursuant to Executive Order No. 263 adopting CBFM as a national strategy to ensure the sustainable development of the country’s forest resources.
On October 10, 1996, DENR Administrative Order 96-29 was issued to implement the CBFM strategy.

The objective of CBFM is to empower and train people or communities to become effective partners of DENR in the sustainable management of forest resources.

The DENR also seeks partnership with local government units (LGUs), NGOs, and other groups in the implementation of CBFM program.

CBFM applies to all areas classified as forest lands, including allowable zones within protected areas not covered by prior vested rights.

Participants in the program are people actually residing within or adjacent to forest lands. They could actually be tilling portions of the area or traditionally using the forest resources for livelihood.

The participants are organized into people’s organization which represents the interest of the members, protect and maintain forest land entrusted to their stewardship. The DENR and LGU identify CBFM areas, and organize and prepare CBFM communities. – Bicol Mail

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