MANILA, March 31 — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is planning to intensify efforts to rehabilitate and restore degraded forests in the Calabarzon region this year through the governments National Greening Program (NGP).
More than 17,000 hectares of forest have been targeted for rehabilitation in Region 4-A with almost half of the targeted areas located in Quezon province, according to DENR Regional Director for Calabarzon Reynulfo Juan.
Juan said the region has already contributed around 63,000 hectares to the NGP since the program was implemented in 2011.
We have set a target of 17,164 hectares for Region 4-A in 2015, so we are expecting a total of 80,164 hectares to be reforested by the end of the year under the NGP, he said.
NGP is the Aquino administrations flagship reforestation program that seeks to cover 1.5 million hectares nationwide with trees by 2016.
The DENR-Calabarzon targets to reforest 8,588 hectares in Quezon; 5,337 in Rizal; 3,019 in Laguna; 200 in Batangas; and 20 in Cavite.
Juan said specific site plantations have already been identified, as well as the tree species to be planted.
These areas will be planted with more than 9 million seedlings consisting of indigenous species of forest and fruit-bearing trees, and mangrove propagules, he said.
Juan added: We will also plant fuel wood such as kakawate, and economically viable plants such as coffee, cacao, bamboo and rattan.
In Quezon, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Alfredo Palencia said they have started manpower buildup to ensure that the NGP target will be met.
We have the support of 87 extension officers who are assigned in the Community Environment and Natural Resources Offices and they will assist NGP site coordinators in establishing new plantations, maintaining and protecting those already established, Palencia said. (PNA)