The goal to cover in green vegetation Boholâ€™s 101,272 hectares continues as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) continues to engage communities in the National Greening Program (NGP) faster than the forest fires could eat up planted patches.
At the Kapihan sa PIA held at the heart of the Danao Adventure Park, in Magtangtang Danao, DENR Bohol chief Nestor Canda confirmed that the target is for Bohol to recover and fill roughly Â¼ of the island with trees until 2020.
To date, Bohol has accomplished 70,500 hectares in reforestation, assisted natural regeneration and community based forest management agreements along with special projects, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Canda said.
Over 66,000 hectares of these are planted with upland trees while, in Boholâ€™s coastlines, communities have succeeded in planting about 4,500 hectares with mangroves.
Canda, who came for the Kapihan with CENRO Tagbilaran supervising environment management specialists (SEMS) Leonardo Elle and Talibonâ€™s Elena Suarez, Mayor Natividad Gonzaga and a peopleâ€™s organization chair Samuel Ayensa each talked about their respective initiatives contributing to the greening goal.
Working against an enemy of reforestation sites: extreme heat and forest fires, the DENR and some of its organized communities interestingly work to grow more trees by a technology called assisted natural regeneration (ANR).
The trick is to organize farmers into contract units, award them with reforestation contracts and dangle in the Community Based Forest Management Agreement (CBFMA) which acts as temporary titles, sources at the DENR said.
Or, another system is through contracts for ANR.
The system, according to a 58 years old tree farmer from San Miguel, in Danao, is to go out to the hills, seek out the seedlings surviving under the thick cogon cover.
When such is found, all you need to do is assist it to grow past the cover by cleaning out its periphery, guard it against ruminants, human trampling and forest fires, shared Alberto Padilla.
Sunburnt but sinewy still for a near 60 tree farmer, Padilla who is also named Mr. ANR, confessed that at first, the ANR concept was weird people think it was just playing.
So used to the usual reforestation where one introduces new seedlings to an area, people of Danao think walking out in the hills and seeking out the barely surviving seedlings hidden under the growth is a folly.
But since 2006, the ANR which started with a target of 50 hectares, has reached 75 and people have cleared seedlingâ€™s premises at a meager pay of P130 a day.
And to protect their reclaimed forests, farmers take turns in creating fire breaks, set up maintenance schedules and exercise extreme caution in lighting fires, Padilla, who showed scars left behind by single-handedly stopping a forest fire, threatening their reclaimed forest said.Â Â (rac/PIA7/Bohol)