LAOAG CITY, Oct. 29 (PIA) – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has planted vacant timber lands in the province with indigenous tree species to achieve a higher survival rate.
Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Juan P. Delos Reyes said popular native trees kamagong (mabolo) and narra were planted due to their adaptability to climate conditions.
“We planted these indigenous trees because they are more adaptable and more tolerant to our existing local climatic conditions,” he said during the local media forum spearheaded by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).
Since the start of the National Greening Program (NGP) in 2011, Delos Reyes said that at least 12,000 hectares forest lands were already planted with various native trees-species.
“For 2015, we are targeting to plant 7,000 to 9,000 hectares of timberland areas in the province,” he said.
On February 24, 2011, President Aquino III signed Executive Order No. 26, calling all national government agencies to embark on the “widest and most sustained reforestation venture to plant 1.5 billion trees covering about 1.5 million hectares for a period of six years from 2011 to 2016.
Delos Reyes disclosed that they are targeting at least 80 percent survival rate of their reforestation project under NGP participated mostly by the peoples’ organizations with at least P17 million budget allocation.
During their initial validation in the early period of the NGP implementation, he admitted that there was a high mortality rate of the previously planted tree seedlings in 2011 and 2012. In 2013, dead seedlings were replaced with drought–tolerant native trees.
“With the successful replacement of the dried planted seedlings in 2011 and 2012, we are hoping that we will achieve more than 80 percent survival rate,” he said.
In support to the reforestation project of the DENR, the Ilocos Norte government had set aside P25 million in 2012 for the rehabilitation of critical watersheds and flood-prone areas particularly in the eastern and southern parts of the province.
The fund was used for the Integrated Social Forestry (ISF) covering 156 hectares of watershed areas in Solsona, Ilocos Norte and 97 hectares of watershed areas in Dingras, Ilocos Norte. (MCA/FGL, PIA-1 Ilocos Norte)