This article was first published on DENR
Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has tasked the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB), including its counterparts in the regional offices of the DENR, to produce this year some 25 million indigenous tree seedlings for the National Greening Program (NGP).
Paje said the increase is buoyed by the good performance of the ERDB, a DENR attached agency, and its regional satellite offices, which raised a total of 14.8 million native tree seedlings last year.
“This increase in the ERDB’s base target to raise indigenous species is in keeping with the Department’s move to shift from the use of exotic species to indigenous or native species,” Paje said, referring to DENR Memorandum Circular 2012-01 which sets the course of the NGP toward the use of indigenous tree seedlings for its planting stock “to give the National Greening Program a truly Filipino character.”
The target for native seedlings represents 15 percent of the 169 million seedlings that the DENR and its NGP partners are eyeing to produce this year.
In addition to the ERDB’s target, the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) and its field units have also been tasked to allot a significant portion of their 2013 seedling production target of 136.4 million for native tree species.
At least some 3.7 million indigenous tree seedlings were raised by FMB last year, which include some 2.7 million native mangrove propagules and 862,181 native ornamental tree species suitable for urban greening like acacia, agoho, alibangbang, aratelis, ilang-ilang, balitbitan, caballero and talisai.
Paje described the ERDB’s role in the NGP implementation as “pivotal,” saying the bureau “sets the tone of how other NGP partners will pursue their commitment in raising indigenous seedlings for NGP.”
The DENR has also engaged the Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation (PTFCF), the Foundation for Philippine Environment (FPE) and the Bukidnon Forest Incorporated (BFI) for the effort, as well as 17 state universities and colleges (SUCs) all over the country, which will receive a budget of P3.5 million each to produce as many native tree seedlings until 2016.
The ERDB reported that in 2012, these NGP partners raised a total of 5.7 million native tree seedlings, with PTFCF and FPE contributing 4.9 million, BFI some 500,000 and 17 SUCs another 281,081.
For fruit trees produced for NGP’s agro-forestry component, the ERDB also surpassed its 2012 target of 4.75 million by 12 percent, raising 5.3 million high quality fruit trees during the period.
The Department of Agriculture also raised in 2012 some 1.2 million fruit tree seedlings as their contribution to NGP under the National Convergence Initiative.
At the same time, Paje expressed optimism of achieving the National Greening Program 2012 target of 200,000 hectares, saying that while validation of the 2012 year-end reports are still in progress, “trends already indicate that around 122.2 million seedlings had been planted covering some 218,000 hectares.