MinDA’s Mindanao-wide tree planting project attempts to break world record

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 4 Aug) – In an effort to instill a “massive consciousness” of tree growing among the people, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), with various government agencies, will be holding a Mindanao-wide tree planting project next month that will also attempt to break a world record.

The “TreeVolution: Greening MindaNOW” project will aim set a world record for having the most number of trees planted in an hour in various locations simultaneously.

In Monday’s Kapehan sa Dabaw press conference in SM City Davao, DENR-XI regional executive director Joselin Marcus Fragada said that the project is targeting to plant 4,636,000 trees.

TreeVolution is co-organized by MinDA with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) all in an effort to hit the Mindanao target for the National Greening Program.

The planting process will involve more than 185,440 people – stakeholders and private organizations alike – and will cover a total of 9,200 hectares (228 sites) in Mindanao.

Fragada said that more than the world record, the project also aims to plant trees to “reach at least 30 percent forest cover as envisioned in the Mindanao 2020 Peace and Development Framework Plan or Mindanao 2020.”

“There is going to be a massive mobilization of participants,” said Janet Lopoz, executive director of MinDA. She mentioned that last week, over 100,000 people have already signed up for the tree planting project. “We want to instill a massive consciousness of tree growing among them,” she added.

TreeVolution is going to be held on September 26.

Geo-tag me!

“The core of the project is to make the stakeholders involved in taking care of the environment and for them to initiate similar projects in the future,” Fragada said.

Lopoz mentioned that sustainability is also a priority of the project – that the world record is just one facet of the massive tree planting.

“There will be validators during the event,” she said. These personnel will be responsible in keeping track of the planted seedlings through geo-tagged photos.

These photos will be used to determine the locations of the trees planted in various Mindanao regions, including the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Each municipality in the various regions will be dedicating five hectares for the tree planting project.

Fragada said there will be at least 25 planters per one hectare; each planter gets to plant at least 20 seedlings throughout the 60-minute duration of the event.

The seedlings that TreeVolution aims to plant are cacao, coffee, and rubber species; these in return will increase produce.

The current record holder for the same category that TreeVolution is competing in is India, which on August 15, 2011 planted 1,945,535 trees across 408 locations involving 340,000 participants.

DENR will mainly provide the seedlings for the event.

Pep talk

Lopoz also said that before the event kicks off on September, there will be orientations of some sorts for the participants.

Through these discussions, she said that they will be able to train the participants how to plant the correct way.

To attain a high survival rate (of at least 80-85 percent) for the plants is one of the objectives of the project, not just to beat the current world record by India.

She emphasized that they want to do things right: from choosing the correct species of trees to plant, to planting in the right time, and even up to the prescribed process of planting.

TreeVolution will also highlight the importance of trees in Mindanao and the long term strategic interventions for the environment.

Lopoz said that she is looking forward to see Mindanawon unity with a common objective.

MinDA will soon be launching a website later this week. Its Facebook page on the project is now online (check out MindanaoTreevolution). A collaboration with the academe, bloggers, and the ICT departments of various regions is also in the works.

“We encourage every Mindanawon to participate in this endeavor, which will not only elevate the island-region as a Guinness world record holder, but more importantly will also provide the constituents the opportunity to be part of the larger efforts to reforest Mindanao,” said MinDA chair Luwalhati Antonino.

Should Mindanao be successful in this attempt, this would be the country’s second Guinness world record in the tree-planting category. The first one is for the most trees planted simultaneously on a single site in Camarines Sur in February 2011; 64,096 trees were planted in a 32-hectare area.

Interested participants (at least 17 years of age) who wish to take part in the project can sign up via the MinDA website (www.minda.gov.ph) or in a local DENR office.