The environment department aims having more partners that will help meet increasing requirements of government’s National Greening Program (NGP).
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) forestry chief Ricardo Calderon underscored the need for cooperation, noting that at least 150 million seedlings of indigenous and exotic tree species will be needed next year for planting across 300,000 hectares of open, denuded and degraded forest land nationwide.
Authorities set the same annual reforestation targets for 2014, 2015 and 2016.
“We’ll publish NGP’s requirements so the public may know what to produce for this program,” Calderon said.
Data show NGP’s required planting materials from 2013 to 2016 can even soar to an estimated 300 million seedlings annually.
The 2012 target NGP reforestation coverage is 200,000 hectares using a minimum 100,000 million seedlings, DENR noted.
For NGP’s launching year in 2011, DENR reported the target at an even lower 100,000 hectares for planting with at least 50 million seedlings.
NGP aims reforesting by 2016 some 1.5 million hectares of open, degraded and denuded forest land to help address concerns on environmental stability, poverty, food security and climate change.
The program targets using about 1.5 billion seedlings.
“Provision of such seedlings is among areas for partnership and collaboration under NGP,” Calderon said.
DENR noted that NGP’s target area is part of about 8.5 million hectares of denuded Philippine forest land which government aims greening.
Government launched NGP to fast-track its reforestation bid.
Calderon said such move was necessary as government previously reforested an average 30,000 hectares only per year.
“At that rate, earlier studies show we’ll need 250 years to reforest our denuded land – that’s a very long time,” he said.
Illegal logging, land conversion and ‘kaingin’ or slash-and-burn activities were among causes of the deforestation, authorities reported.
They noted that Philippine forest cover during turn of the 20th century was about 70 percent of the country’s 30 million-hectare total land area.
Such forest cover shrank to about a fourth of that area by the early 2000s, they added.
“NGP’s expected output is a 12-percent increase in forest cover based on the 2003 level of 7.2 million hectares,” Calderon said.
Government tapped people’s organizations to help produce seedlings for NGP.
DENR also produces NGP seedlings in its clonal nurseries nationwide.
The agency turned to cloning so good-quality seedlings can be grown from parts of the best available parent stocks.
To help boost NGP seedling production, DENR tapped the help of State universities and colleges (SUCs) nationwide.
Data presented during last month’s forestry convention show 13 SUCs already committed establishing respective clonal nurseries for NGP seedling production.
The SUCs are Apayao State College, Kalinga-Apayao State College, Mariano Marcos State University, Isabela State University, Pampanga Agricultural College and Ramon Magsaysay Technological University.
Southern Luzon State University, Western Philippines University, Bicol University, Bohol Island State University, Negros Oriental State University, University of Eastern Philippines and Caraga State University also committed to the clonal seedling production.
DENR reported Pangasinan State University, Tarlac College of Agriculture, Southern Philippines Agribusiness, Marine and Aquatic School of Technology as well as University of Southern Mindanao earlier expressed interest in also establishing respective clonal facilities for producing NGP seedlings.
The partnerships on seedling production is aligned with social mobilization DENR pursues to help carry out NGP.
Last year, Executive Order 26 institutionalized NGP and required students and civil servants nationwide to join this program by each planting at least 10 seedlings a year.
EO 26 also encourages other sectors to join NGP.
Data showed that for the period 2011 to Sept. 14 this year, around 104,432,459 seedlings were planted in 153,299 hectares of deforested land around the country.