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Environment Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje has lauded the record-breaking “TreeVolution: Greening MindaNow” as a big step forward in restoring Mindanao’s rapidly dwindling forest cover and fighting climate change.

“More than setting the now-confirmed world record, we will always consider TreeVolution as a big step taken by Mindanao residents themselves in re-greening their landscape to help mitigate climate change and protect themselves against its adverse impacts,” the environment chief said.

Records tally-keeper Guinness World Records has recently confirmed Mindanao, through the TreeVolution – a massive tree-planting activity held in various locations in the region in September last year – as the new title holder for the most number of trees planted within an hour.

Paje congratulated the DENR’s partner organizers, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) led by its chairman Lualhati Antonino , the Department of Agriculture, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and those who actively participated for the success of the activity.

“We are hoping that this move will inspire others, as collaboration and unity among stakeholders is the key to address the adverse impacts of climate change,” he said.

He noted how in recent years Mindanao had been battered by strong typhoons and huge floods in what could only be attributed to climate change impacts, and said that the sheer number of trees planted under the TreeVolution program, if properly cared for to maturity, would benefit the people of Mindanao and the environment.

Paje cited the sequestration of carbon, which greatly contributes to global warming and climate change; recharging of aquifers; stabilization of the soil; food security; and livelihood creation as only some of the benefits that the project would bring to surrounding communities and the environment.

During the TreeVolution, more than 122,000 participants simultaneously planted 2.29 million seedlings, across 29 locations in Mindanao on September 26 last year, surpassing the previous record of 1.9 million trees planted by India in 2011.

Paje lauded the commitment of Mindanao’s local government units who contributed five hectares each for the planting sites, through a resolution passed by the Confederation of Provincial Governors, City Mayors and Municipal League Presidents of Mindanao or Confed-Mindanao.

He reiterated that the TreeVolution was in support of the government’s National Greening Program, which aims to cover 1.5 million hectares with trees by 2016.

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