December 6, 2022

The Cordillera has achieved an average of 87 percent survival rate of its reforestation target since the implementation of the National Greening Program in 2011.

The implementation of NGP in the region has registered improvement as it evolved from the original NGP to enhanced, modified, and now as a refocused reforestation project, establishing 122,631 hectares of reforested areas from 2011 up to present, according to Department of Environment and Natural Resources Regional Executive Director Raph Pablo.

He said the 87 percent survival rate is based on the annual accomplishments made by all 12 Community ENROs in the Cordillera as follows: 88 percent survival rate for 2011; 87 percent in 2012; 85 percent in 2013; 84 percent in 2014; 85 percent in 2015; 84 percent in 2016; 86 percent in 2017; 87 percent in 2018; and 99 percent in 2020.

There was no target for 2019 as the NGP was not given a budget for that year. In 2020 when the pandemic hit, only 350 hectares, found in Mountain Province and Ifugao, were provided budget.

Most of these areas planted in 2020 have been planted with bamboo as per adopted policy of the DENR central office, which found bamboo as a suitable substitute of the usual trees planted in the past because it is easy to grow, has various uses, and for being an ideal disaster mitigation tool.

Pablo said under the refocused NGP in 2021 also as per orders of Environment Sec. Roy Cimatu, the Cordillera is targeting to reforest 3,510 hectares, which will cover provinces in the region that still have vacant areas and slopes suitable for reforestation, particularly in Abra.

Reforestation for this year is starting this month, the first month of the third quarter, which is their season for site development. Seedling production started in January up to May in time for June when the rainy season starts, which is the ideal planting period.

Pablo added the NGP and other projects of the agency continue despite the pandemic.

“We have been told by our secretary that the pandemic should not be a reason not to reach our targets, so we also adapt ourselves to the new normal,” he said. – Hanna C. Lacsamana