Uphill climb to reforest the mountains

MEMBERS of the Alimodias Upland Farmers Association (AUFA), a DENR-accredited Peoples Organization (PO), climb steep slopes to haul and plant tree seedlings at Brgy. Tigbanaba in Igbaras, Iloilo. (DENR-CENRO Guimbal)

BEHIND the success of a reforestation program are the men and women who labored hard and are committed to helping Mother Earth re-green itself and grow forests again.

In implementing the enhanced National Greening Program (eNGP), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 6 tapped the commitment of the Peoples Organizations (POs) to carry out the actual reforestation work.

Members of the POs are the ones who literally dirty their hands with soil, climb up  steep mountain slopes to plant seedlings, and battle the scourging heat of the sun just to reforest barren mountains.

The planting activity is done in the onset of the rainy season to ensure a high survival rate of planted seedlings.

They conduct the reforestation work in close coordination and under the supervision of Forest Extension Officers (FEOs) from the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) where the area is located.

“We are grateful for the strong commitment of the POs in planting especially in the mountainous areas such as the ones that we have in Igbaras, Iloilo. Without them, it is quite a daunting task to do. Since we have fully planted the lower portions, we need to reforest the mountaintops. We laud the consistent support of the PO members which helps us achieve our targets under the eNGP,” said Jim Sampulna, DENR-6 regional director.

ENGPs objective is to provide opportunities for communities to develop social enterprises to produce sustainable livelihood and optimize benefits, and encourage local government units, organized upland communities in the development of forest plantations including forest parks.

The eNGP likewise seeks to attract private sector interest to invest in forestry-related undertakings like tree plantation development and forest protection projects as a measure to achieve carbon neutrality.

The eNGP is another twelve years (2016-2028) program that will cover all the remaining unproductive, denuded and degraded forestlands to be managed for production and protection purposes as well as to achieve carbon neutrality. It is also consistent with the updated Philippine Master Plan for Forestry Development. (DENR­-6)

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