MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 4 Jan) – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources office here is targeting to plant a total of eight million endemic and fast growing trees in Bukidnon this year as part of the National Greening Program of the government.
Dr. Felix Mirasol, Bukidnon provincial environment and natural resources officer, said Thursday their target is to regain 16,000 hectares of Bukidnon’s 48,000 remaining denuded forest areas this year. He estimated 500 trees could be planted in a hectare.
The 8,000 hectares is the core target of DENR with another 8,000 hectares by Bukidnon Forests, Inc. (BFI).
BFI, previously the Bukidnon Industrial Tree Plantation Project (BIPP), obtained a 25-year BFI Industrial Forest Management Agreement due to expire in 2016. BFI is a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) under the National Resources Development Corporation. As BIPP, it was funded by the national government of New Zealand until it was terminated as a foreign-assisted project of the DENR in 1998.
In May last year, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje has directed the Bukidnon Forest, Inc. (BFI) management to stop its tree harvesting operations.
Mirasol said if achieved by the end of the year, the total area planted to new trees will be as big as 53.3 times the size of downtown Malaybalay City.
Mirasol said the NGP allots P8,000 budget per hectare to reforest.
But he said it is not effective to rely only on the government’s efforts. He cited the need to make the effort community-based to engage the villagers in tree planting.
In 2012, he said, the DENR was able to achieve its goal of 8,000 hectares. He cited that they planted about 1,000 hectares in Can-ayan, Malaybalay City and in Don Carlos, Talakag, and Manolo Fortich. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)