By Jennifer Catan-Tilos
NEGROS ORIENTAL (PIA) — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here intensified its campaign to expand the province’s forest cover and protecting the remaining natural forests from degradation with the implementation of National Greening Program (NGP) and climate change mitigation.
Community environment and natural resources officer (Cenro) Efren Rumbaoa of DENR said man-made forest increases in the province as reforestation projects started in 1989.
However, Rumbaoa added the less remaining natural forests in Negros Oriental have been threatened sporadically by some ‘kaingineros’ shifting into agriculture, logging concessions and other illegal cutting activities.
Rumbaoa said DENR continues its efforts to decrease illegal cutting of trees in the identified natural forests located in Mt. Talinis in Valencia, Twin Lakes in Sibulan and parts in Ayungon town.
To ensure the protection of the remaining forest cover, Rumbaoa said an executive order (EO) 23 was issued to declare a moratorium on the cutting and harvesting of timber in the natural and residual forest.
DENR has also established the biggest mechanized seedling nursery in the country located at a 9.4 hectares in Barangay Banban, Ayungon that costs P80M and is expected to produce 25 million seedlings a year.
This may expand forested areas and help sustain the environment in the province as well as various areas in the country, said Rumbaoa.
This new nursery is said to be the first and the largest seedling nursery in the country which produce quality seedlings for planting and growing trees.
The mechanized seedling nursery is part of the DENR’s implementation of NGP that aims to reforest timberland areas and restore Philippine biological diversity.
Under the NGP, Negros Oriental not only produced more than 7 million seedlings in over 8,000 hectares but also provide alternative livelihood for some farmer groups.
The NGP also helps provide livelihood opportunities to people’s organizations in the seedling production, planting and maintenance,” said Rumbaoa.
NGP aims to plant trees in the country’s 1.5 million hectares of degraded forest as a form of climate change mitigation and develop a sustainable forest resource.
In celebration of Environment Month which banners the theme “7 Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care,” Rumbaoa has called on the public to responsibly consume and care for the environment as the country faces the present threats of climate change. (mbcn/jct/PIA7-Negros Oriental/This article was first published at PIA Website on June 16, 2015)