LEGAZPI CITY: Some 1.2 million indigenous trees are expected to be distributed this year throughout Bicol to further boost the government’s National Greening Program (NGP) an official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said the other day.
Gilbert Gonzales, DENR regional executive director, said they intend to produce and distribute 1.2 million tree seedlings of native species by the end of the year to 16 community environment and natural resources offices in the six provinces of Bicol.
The DENR Ecosystem Research and Development Service (ERDS) here has raised in 2012 a total 807,000 indigenous tree species which has significantly formed part of the 5.9 million seedlings of various varieties planted across the country last year.
This year, Gonzales said, he tasked the ERDS to produce some 1.2 million seedlings for planting to complement the national target of 25 million native trees in the current course of the greening program.
Gonzales, quoting Environment Secretary Ramon Paje’s directive, said the agency is shifting its program by planting native species instead of exotic ones to give the program a Filipino character.
Gonzales emphasized that the role of the ERDS would be beneficial to Bicol forests to be rehabilitated and wherein native tree species thrive.
Based on the regional target, 750,000 indigenous tree seedlings will be allotted to protected forests, 113,000 native species allocated to protected areas, and 337,000 seedlings to timberlands.
Planting native tree species is a nationwide campaign of the DENR as it shifts from using exotic trees which are not locally grown and not suited to a particular climate or type of soil in several areas of the country.
DENR statistics indicate that Bicol has a total land area of 763,000 hectares, where only 163,499 hectares, or 21 percent, are forest areas.
Of the forested areas, Camarines Sur has 52,056 hectares, followed by Catanduanes with 39,507, Camarines Norte 27,880, Albay 26,425, Sorsogon 15,078, and Masbate with only 2,465 hectares of forest land.
An ERDS report shows that indigenous species of seedlings may include the following species: pili, sambulauan, kupang, bagras, kalumpit, bagalunga, malapapaya, banaba, molave, bitaog, narra, batino, dao, lamio, akleng parang, lumbang, baguilumbang, white lauan, bagtikan, red lauan, almon, mayapis species, and other dipterocarps whose seeds are available for collection.
Since 2011 when the Pres. Benigno Aquino III launched the NGP to plant and grow 1.5 billion new trees on 1.5 million hectares of land across the country until last year, around 83 percent or 47.2 million of seedlings planted nationwide are of indigenous species.
NGP is a nationwide re-greening campaign launched through the President’s Executive Order No. 26 issued in February 2011 that aims to percolate the country’s green renaissance towards a more focused and unified interventions to achieve sustainable rural development.
Since its launch, the program as of last year has already planted about 57 million seedlings on more than 232,000 hectares all over the country.
Apart from the indigenous forest trees, the program also came out with 4.1 million fruit-bearing trees being grown by DA and 765,173 ornamental trees planted and grown by various local government units (LGUs) and community organizations for their urban greening programs.
These ornamental trees are usually acacia, pine tree, aratiles, ilang-ilang, balitbitan, caballero, and talisay.
Areas planted include mangrove and protected areas, ancestral domain areas, civil and military reservations, urban centers under the greening plan of LGUs, inactive and abandoned mine sites, and other suitable lands for reforestation. – Bicol Mail