DENR to plant 1 million bamboo trees

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 19 Oct) – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will plant a total of 1 million bamboo trees over the next six years within the critical watershed areas in the country.

In an interview during the environmental forum at the Ateneo de Davao University on Tuesday, Henry A. Adorado, DENR’s chief for Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB), said this is the first time that the department has integrated the massive bamboo planting into its National Greening Program to mitigate the effects of climate change and to provide livelihood to families.

He said that bamboo, which they plan to plant within the 143 critical watershed areas spanning across 900,000 hectares in the country, can sequester carbon dioxide three times better than forest trees.

Next year, Adorado said they will plant about 100,000 bamboos.

He said that bamboos also have good economic potentials for poor families who can start out a business out of bamboo crafts.

“Initially, we were into national greening program, which was all forest trees. This time, because of the contribution and significance of bamboo, Secretary Gina [Lopez] instructed us to plant bamboos as many as possible and we are initially targeting critical watersheds nationwide,” Adorado said.

The DENR mobilized a team to train the farmers propagate bamboo through cutting method.

Adorado said six species of bamboos – known as tinik, bayog, bolo, laak, giant bamboo, and kiling yellow – will be planted.

He said that they are also planning to establish a tissue-culture center that will create the bamboo protocol in the next two to three years.

“The objective is to rehabilitate denuded forests and grassland areas within the watershed because there was a study that in the next nine years, there will be a shortage of water supply. That is why this early, we need to have massive rehabilitation of watershed areas,” Adorado said.

He said that they will partner with universities and colleges, people’s organizations, local government units, civil societies, and regional officers of the DENR to implement efficiently the program.

Secretary Lopez said that she will meet with members of different rebel groups and conflict-affected individuals in Mindanao to plan how they can work together to develop sustainable agro-forestry.

“We will plan with them. The planning is a bit different because there has to be psychosocial healing. There should be no more fighting for now, we work together and bring peace. Who wants to fight?” she asked, noting that with agro-forestry, “you can feed the children and make the place beautiful.”

Lopez said that the stakeholders will decide what environment-related projects in which the DENR wants to finance that will create an impact economically and socially to the community.

“Based on that, they will make plans and programs, and I will fund it. But it should be based on the environment. It’s all environment, water oxygen, mountains, sustainable living, that’s all kalikasan. But I wanna do other things,” she said.

Lopez said they will let the communities decide what programs to pursue to develop a sense of responsibility among the stakeholders.

“They will decide. If the community doesn’t own it, masasayang yung pera eh. That’s what happened in Pasig River, until now, the esteros are looking good, kasi nandun yung komunidad, kung gagawin lang ng government at walang sangayon sa komunidad, at hindi nila inaaari walang mangyayari sa buhay,” she said.

Lopez said on August 5 that the DENR has some P9 billion which she intends to use to make “an economic impact of P18 billion” through the agency’s re-greening initiatives and development of more eco-tourism sites. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)