Environment Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje has commended the Energy Development Corp. (EDC) for coming up with a reference manual on forest restoration, saying it could be a useful tool for the highly acclaimed National Greening Program (NGP) and other reforestation projects of the government.
The three-part module titled “A Field Manual on Forest Restoration Using Indigenous Species” provides the technical procedures in implementing forest restoration projects from site-species matching, production of planting materials, plantation establishment, maintenance and protection.
“Through the reforestation manual, we hope that more people in our partner agencies will learn new and innovative approaches on planting trees that will continue the NGP’s success,” Paje said.
NGP, which is mainly implemented by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), is the flagship reforestation program of the Aquino administration that seeks to cover 1.5 million hectares with trees by the end of 2016.
However, President Aquino issued in November last year Executive Order No. 193 creating the Expanded NGP that aims to reforest “all remaining unproductive, denuded and degraded forestlands” by 2028.
“The manual is not only relevant but also timely in the light of President Aquino’s directive to extend the implementation of the National Greening Program beyond 2016 to cover all the remaining degraded areas of the country,” Paje added.
EDC, the largest producer of geothermal energy in the country, has been a partner of the DENR since 2011 in the implementation of the company’s own reforestation program called BINHI.
BINHI, a main strategic partner of the NGP, involves rescuing and securing endangered plant species by planting mother trees and producing even more seeds.
Negros, Leyte, Albay, Sorsogon, Cotabato, and Nueva Ecija are just some of the host provinces of BINHI, which main objective is to plant 1,000 hectares every year for 10 years.
The manual is a collaboration between EDC and the Visayas State University, the pioneer institution of forest restoration and rainforestation. The manual was reviewed by the Technical Working Group (TWG) committee of the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) of the DENR.
According to EDC president Richard Tantoco, the manual was drawn from the experiences of their employees who have implemented the BINHI program, together with the best practices in reforestation from national and international perspectives. ###