DENR and AFoCo partner to improve the country’s reforestation program

THE DEPARTMENT of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Association of South East Asian Nation- Republic of Korea (ASEAN-ROK) Forest Cooperation (AFoCo) planned to establish a forest regional training center worth P700,000 in Candelaria town of Zambales that will enhance the knowledge and skills of forest managers and peoples’ organizations (PO) to better restore and protect the ASEAN region’s forest and fight global warming and climate change, environment official announced yesterday.

Orlando Panganiban, head of the forest resources management division of the DENR -Forest Management Bureau (FMB) said the ASEAN regional training center will serve as a demonstration area for the application of assisted natural regeneration (ANR) technology using the landscape approach to sustainable forest management and will benefit forest technician, including members of the PO.

 “The center will develop and promote a 30-hectare demonstration area of ANR as a cost efficient way of regenerating forest by enhancing the establishment of secondary forest from degraded grassland and shrub vegetation by protecting and nurturing the mother trees and their wildlings inherently present in the area” he explained.

He said the objective of ANR is to accelerate, rather than replace, natural successional processes by removing or reducing barriers to natural forest regeneration such as soil degradation, competition with weedy species, and recurring disturbances like grass fire and grazing.

“In ANR, seedlings are, in particular, protected from undergrowth and extremely flammable plants such as cogon (Imperata cylindrical) and talahib (Saccharum spontaneum),” he pointed out, adding that as a protection effort, new trees are planted when needed or wanted called enrichment planting.

According to Francisco Milla, Jr., director of DENR in Central Luzon, the training center is a big support to the DENR and the ASEAN member countries to further boost its reforestation effort.

“This will enable us to fast track the restoration of degraded forestland and watershed, and with ANR, forests grow faster than they would naturally,” he explained.

The AFoCo turned-over to DENR worth half a million pesos of equipment, including generators, fire fighting equipment, desktop computers, projectors and geographical positioning system (GPS) units that will initially be used in the center to help improve the DENR’s reforestation efforts.

Organization of AFoCo was first proposed by Republic of Korea in June 2009 to share their experiences and technologies with other Asian countries in the forest sector as a forest cooperation organization, which aims to promote forest restoration and rehabilitation and sustainable development in the Asian region.

It was formally established in November 2011 after ratifying by ten South East Asian Nations, including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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DENR receives P1.2 M worth firefighting equipment to boost reforestation in N.Ecija

PALAYAN CITY, Nueva Ecija--- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here received recently some P1.2 million worth of firefighting equipment from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to further boost the reforestation and protection of the 44,000-hectare Pantabangan-Carranglan watershed in Nueva Ecija under the Forestland Management Project (FMP), environment official said. 

Alfredo Collado, provincial chief of DENR in Nueva Ecija said the firefighting tools would be helpful to sustain their efforts in the protection of the plantations that have already been established under FMP inside the Pantabangan-Carranglan watershed.

“Grassfire is one of the factors that destroy our forest plantations. If we cannot protect our reforestation areas from this destructive agent, our efforts would be nothing,” he explained.

He said the delivery of firefighting equipment is very timely for their preparation in the coming summer months this March and April and will augment their present capabilities in fire suppression and control, he said.

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