The Watershed and Water Resource Research Development and Extension Center (WWRRDEC) and the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources are advocating the use of maguey in mitigating climate-related threats.
WWRRDEC Center Head Helen Maddumba said they are implementing the project “S&T action frontline for emergencies and hazards for forest fire in the watersheds in Bokod and Tublay using maguey as greenbelt”.
This aims to increase resiliency of pine forest watersheds from the adverse effects of climate change such as the increased occurrences of forest fires during dry months and soil erosion during the rainy season.
The project is carried out in the Seed Production Area of Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) Buguias in Daclan, Tublay in the Seed Production Area of Cenro Baguio in the tri-boundary of Bobok-bisal, Pito, and Poblacion in Bokod.
WWRRDEC established two maguey nurseries and greenbelt in the two municipalities through the project.
“We will continue with the maintenance and protection of the established plantations. We will continue with the monitoring of maguey field performance as greenbelt,” Maddumba said.
Maguey (Agave cantala) has strong resistance to drought, pests and diseases and low maintenance.
Originating from Mexico, maguey thrives well in Northern Luzon. The plant is excellent for landscaping and used as boundary crops for land.
Its leaves are used as fibers for bags, ropes, doormats, paper, rugs, sandals, nets, and other similar items.
Researches proved the roots of maguey strengthen the embankment and its wide leaves absorb the erosive impact of raindrops, thus, preventing soil erosion. It is also fire-resistant.
Environmentalists are promoting the environmental and economic benefits of establishing a maguey greenbelt.
The “S&T action frontline for emergencies and hazards for forest fire in the watersheds in Bokod and Tublay using maguey as greenbelt” is a three-year undertaking under the DENR Priority Program on Enhanced Biodiversity Conservation for enhanced resiliency and sustainability of forest ecosystems.
It is supported by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development.
Part of the project is empowering communities on climate change and disaster risk reduction and management.
Maddumba said they will continue the implementation of these capacity building activities and trainings on creation of products out of Maguey fibers. – Debbie E. Gasingan