Volunteers help reforest Mt. Apo

The tree planting, which is slated on April 24 to 25, will cover 2.5 hectares of the five-hectare reforestation project of the foundation, Libre added. “Overall, 12,500 seedlings have been prepared for this reforestation project and this is a pure volunteer work,” he said.

“Beside our target area is the 600-hectare reforestation project of the Energy Development Corporation,” he said, referring to the company running the geothermal plant at Mt. Apo.

The area, Libre said, used to be a forest but was hit by a wildfire during the long drought in the early 1990s. The area, he said, covers 800 hectares in a steep slope, just less than an hour away from the summit of Mt. Apo.
The reforestation site is about 2,450 meters above sea level, thus making it the highest reforestation area in the country, Libre said.

He said that this activity hopes to establish environmental undertaking to save the last frontiers and to provide opportunity for multi-level participation of various sectors for the conservation of Mt. Apo.

The local government units of Kidapawan City and Magpet and Makilala towns, business establishments and other civil society organizations have already pledged logistical support for the reforestation activity. For now, Libre bared they are not accepting cash contributions from the LGUs and other sectors.

“From these LGUs, we only solicit in kind, such as rice, noodles or coffee. Most of the contributions we receive now is rice, mostly from bankers. But we may still accept cash contributions later if we need more supplies,” he said.

The EDC, Libre said, has already prepared the seedlings and markers at the reforestation site since the nursery of the energy company is already at the vicinity. 

“It’s better that the communities living around this mountain could also contribute into this effort so that they themselves can have a sense of ownership of Mt. Apo and they could also spread the word for the conservation of this natural park,” Libre stressed. He pointed out that 130 volunteers coming from the communities around Mt. Apo have already confirmed to join the tree planting .

Every volunteer is expected to plant 40 seedlings in this two-day activity, he said.

The next wave of tree planting will be on September or October and the maintenance activities will take place twice every year for five years, he said.

Libre said that he is also hoping that the Davao del Sur side of Mt. Apo will also do their own efforts for the preservation of the mountain. (Keith Bacongco / MindaNews)