BANGUED, Abra – The Expanded National Greening Program (E-NGP) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Cordillera is boosting bamboo plantations to help rehabilitate denuded and degraded forestlands and unproductive areas in the region.
DENR-Cordillera Executive Director Ralph Pablo said the E-NGP has included bamboo for environmental rehabilitation in line with its mandate to use bamboo allotting 20 percent of its reforestation programs.
The Cordillera has a target of 392 hectare-coverage for bamboo plantation for next year with additional 18 hectares for its respective provincial environment and natural resources offices (Penros) and Community ENROs that would showcase bamboo plantation areas.
The target plantation areas per province through a community-based scheme are 85 hectares in Abra; Apayao, 124; Benguet, 11; Ifugao, 20; Kalinga, 142; and Mountain Province, 10 hectares.
The region has a potential area of about 750 hectares for bamboo plantation sites along watersheds, marginal areas, creek lines, river banks and areas prone to erosion.
Among the suggested priority species are kawayan ki-ling, kawayan tinik, giant bamboo, machiku, boho, bayog, muli, bolo, Thailand bamboo, iron bamboo, solid bamboo, anos, and laak with each having a variety of uses such as boating and arched poles, outriggers, pulp and paper, fence, young shoot as vegetable, construction, basketry, furniture, chopstick, skewer, water pipes, rafts, leaves as packing materials, hats, sawali, flutes, handicrafts, rope, fishpen, ornamental, woven wares, and fishing rods.
Aside from its economic value, bamboo is good for biodiversity conservation with its strong and extensive roots that help prevent soil erosion and it works as carbon sink.
It produces 35 percent more oxygen than trees of similar size and consumes four times more carbon dioxide compared to a young forest plantation, according to Pablo.
Meanwhile, through the initiative of the Department of Trade and Industry, the Cordillera Bamboo Industry Development Council was organized.
The group, which will converge government and private sector efforts to oversee the bamboo developments in the region, is chaired by Pablo.
Other officers elected were Private Sector Representative Bamboo (PSR) consultant Fatima Tangan as co-chairperson, Department of Science and Technology-Cordillera Director Nancy Bantog as vice chairperson and DTI-Cordillera Director Juliet Lucas as Executive Committee Chair and as Council Secretariat.
The PSR per province are Carlo Balneg for Abra, Cagamcam Farmers Association, Inc. for Apayao, Rovilyn Mayat-an for Baguio-Benguet, and Beb Omengan for Kalinga.
Ifugao and Mountain are yet to submit their representatives. – Susan C. Aro