10 million trees ready for planting in CL

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ALMOST 10 million seedlings of forest and fruit trees are now ready for outplanting in degraded forestlands and urban areas in Central Luzon covered by Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s National Greening Program (NGP).

Of these, 6.9 million seedlings were produced by 84 upland People’s Organizations (PO) who are beneficiaries of the Community-Based Forest Management Program (CBFM) in the region, said executive director Maximo Dichoso of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional office here.

The remaining 2.7 million seedlings were supplied by DENR-accredited seedling producers whose accreditation process ensures that only robust and high quality seedlings are used in the reforestation program.

The massive seedling requirement of the NGP opens up alternative livelihood opportunities to poor upland communities, Dichoso explained, saying upland farmers are paid for raising the seedlings and planting them in NGP sites within or near their CBFM sites.

Dr. Sofio Quintana, DENR deputy director for forestry, said Tarlac has the highest number of seedlings produced (1.9 million) followed by Zambales (1.5 million) and Bataan and Bulacan (1.4 million each).

“The seedling requirement is proportional to the area targeted for rehabilitation, meaning the bigger the area for reforestation the more seedlings are needed,” he explained.

The available seedlings for outplanting include 2.5 million forest trees; 3.3 million fuelwood trees; 1.5 million cacao; 885,600 coffee; 500,000 fruit trees; 488,400 bamboo; and 361,000 rattan, Quintana reported.

The best time to plant trees is in July up to October when the rainy season is at its peak and abundant rainwater ensures that young plants take root and grow in the upland areas.

Citing weather forecasts from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), Dichoso said the weather systems that are likely to bring rain in the country are the southwest monsoon, the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), low pressure area (LPA), and the occurrence of an average of three or four tropical cyclones in the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).

“By this time, rainfall distribution is expected to be near normal in most parts of the country,” he explained adding that NGP must take advantage of this situation to grow more trees that will help mitigate the harsh impacts of climate change and global warming.

Some 20,000 ha of denuded forestlands in Central Luzon are targeted for reforestation under the NGP this year.