DENR: Philippines needs green army of foresters



Environment Secretary Ramon Paje. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The Philippines is building a new kind of army.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has announced that it needs a green army composed of “hundreds” of forestry graduates to supervise the reforestation of the country’s 8 million hectares of denuded forest lands.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said the DENR would draft graduates of forestry schools to ensure the success of the Aquino administration’s National Greening Program (NGP).

“The department, beginning next year, will hire hundreds of foresters,” Paje said at an annual meeting of over 1,500 Filipino foresters. “I will hire new foresters to evaluate plantations and ensure 80 percent survival rate on these plantations.”

Assistant Secretary Marlo Mendoza, the DENR official in charge of the greening program, said the department expected to hire 400 to 500 new foresters in the next five years.

“Under the NGP, there will be a massive reforestation of our denuded uplands. We need foresters and technical people to make things happen on the ground,” Mendoza said.

Massive reforestation

The Philippines’ forests are among the most threatened in the world. The Conservation International recently said years of logging and invasive human activities had degraded millions of hectares of forests in the country.

The NGP seeks to reverse the situation by replanting some 1.5 billion trees on 1.5 million hectares of government-selected lots from this year until 2016.

By launching a massive reforestation campaign, the government aims to rejuvenate the economy in rural areas, reduce poverty, promote food security and environmental stability, conserve biodiversity, and enhance the country’s climate change mitigation and adaptation program.

Among the areas targeted for planting are forest lands, mangroves and protected areas, ancestral domains, civil and military reservations, urban areas under the greening plan of local government units, inactive and abandoned mines and other suitable lands.

‘Planting is easy’

On September 26, the second anniversary of Tropical Storm “Ondoy,” Paje announced the reforestation of the Marikina watershed to increase its capacity to carry rainwater, which would mitigate the flooding in the low-lying cities.

The DENR and the mayors of the cities and towns surrounding the watershed promised to plant 5 million seedlings over 10,000 hectares of the watershed from this year up to 2016.

Mendoza said the department needed people who could apply scientific knowledge on the ground. They must know the best kinds of species to plant in certain areas and how to ensure their survival in the face of extreme weather and infestations, he said.

“Planting trees is easy, but taking care of it is difficult,” he said.

1.5 billion seedlings

Aside from making sure that the seedlings survive, the new breed of foresters will also be responsible for establishing nurseries.

Mendoza said the DENR planned to build tree nurseries in 10 agriforestry schools nationwide to fill the demand for the reforestation project. The DENR has alloted P35 million for the building of nurseries nationwide.

The government needs from 750 million to 1.5 billion seedlings for the greening program, Mendoza said.

The DENR wants to plant indigenous and endemic trees in protected forests. It also wants foresters to tend to fast growing trees in plantation zones, which would provide more revenues to the government.

Fruit-bearing trees and species ideal for urban greening are also part of the reforestation plan, Mendoza said.

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  • Anonymous

    DENR should be abolished! Hinuhuli yung mga troso pag putol na at mga tauhan nila mismo nagbibinta! Wlang nagawa, inutil!

  • Anonymous

    We need your office to be cleansed from top to buttom because you are not doing your job. You are a disgrace to Filipinos. Army of green foresters will be useless if cutting trees illegally are still allowed..your office are swampped with crocodiles so hungry and inconsiderate to create all these disasters. How can you eat your meals knowing you dont deserve your jobs. The Lord is not sleeping. You people will suffer next. There are things you dont see. Disaster to you will come in a different manner. God bless you.

  • Anonymous

    If the  objective is to ensure that trees will finally result from government reforestation programs, hiring hundreds of greenhorn foresters will not be enough. First, the new recruits will be working under veteran DENR employees, the very people who, due to their corruption and ineptitude, have bungled earlier reforestation programs worth billions of pesos. In all likelihood, these veteran DENR personnel will again try to make some easy money off the NGP and will get in the way of the new foresters fulfilling their  tasks. Second, being new graduates, the new foresters lack the experience of implementing and managing a reforestation program.

    If the DENR and the whole government are serious about the success of the National Greening Program (NGP), aside from hiring new foresters, it should tap the services of people with proven
    track record of growing trees and establishing forests as consultants and supervisors of the NGP. I speak of people who are not only after the achievement of targeted number of seedlings  and
    hectares planted and in the process, creating phantom forests on paper but people who have passion for the rehabilitation of the environment and who could show actual forests from their previous regreening efforts.  For sure, these people would not allow any shenanigans and ineptitude of which the DENR  has an oversupply to attend the implementation of the NGP.

    It is certain that the people of  Puerto Princesa who have done a wonderful job protecting and widening their forest would be very much willing to teach the DENR how to grow trees. We have many successful tree plantation owners  in the country like the Sebastians of Umingan, Pangasinan who also would not want to see the government to again dump millions of reforestation funds down the drain.

    With climate change already banging at the door, it is foolhardy to entrust the implementation of the GNP to the DENR with its  virtually zero track record of growing trees beyond the seedling stage. Based on the experience of our region, it is good if  five percent of the trees planted by the 
    DENR since the time of  Secretary Factoran in the 80s have survived to this date. Secretary Paje has
    promised 80 percent survival this time but with his people’s history in regreening, it would be a miracle if such target could be achieved without people keeping a very close watch over their shoulders, a  role which properly belongs to true blue lovers of trees and of the environment.

  • CrocLolong


  • John

    sana naman mapagplanohan ito ng mabuti para hindi lalong lumubog tayo sa utang!!!!
    sana siguraduhin ninyo na ang inyong itinanim ang talagang tutubo at maging malaking puno!!

    ano ba nag nagyari sa mga nagdaang mga refo projects ng pamahalaan?
    ilang milyong dollar na ba ang ating inutang sa WB noon para lang sa mga refo projects?.na wala namang nangyayari.
    sana totohanan na ninyong ang inyong gawin, hirap na hirap na ang mga tao!!! sira pa ang kabundokan!

    I agree that all the present DENR official should be terminated and fed to these typhoons.
    They had not done anything since, and they are even the purveyors of the forest destruction!!!
    What had they done  with the previous concession of PICOP in Surigao del Sur/DAvao Oriental area?
    The TLA’s may had expired but nothing from the dept had done anything to protect it.
    The 200,000 hectares concession was bastardized and nothing was left of it now!!!!
    (Thanks to the cronies of the small lady).

  • wishfull thinking

    Teka….SINU BA AND NAG-AAPROVE NG APPLICATION para magtayo ng subdivison sa mga bundok, watershed areas at permits sa LOGGING CONCESSIONS??? Di ba DENR?

  • Badajosnon Macabaian

    Maligayang-maligaya ang mga mag-uuling niyan. Marami silang gagawing uling in the future. Kasama ba sa mga regulations ang mga mag-uuling? Malaya ba silang makapagpuputol ng mga kahoy para gawing uling?

    • chris

      you’re right. dapat sa mag-uuling ay sinusunog ng buhay. Most of the illegal loggers and these people cutting trees for charcoal are protected by the NPA and DENR officials.

  • erdi

    the last remaining forests that we have should be PROTECTED at all costs. which are our first and last defense against extreme conditions brought about by Climate Change. These floods, and the floods before (ormoc. etc) should have already taught us a lesson.

    have you observed that mining activities have surged in the country…and their mining areas are forests and mountains. most of these mining companies are foreign which are obviously do not want the destruction to happen in their own countries but somewhere else such as ours. mining claims and applications are aplenty and could practically cover the whole country.

    the DENR should discard its checkpoint-style “anti-logging” drive. it’s useless and prone to corruption. what’s the use of confiscating “illegal” logs when the destruction has been done already? it does not make sense. The cutting should have been prevented in the first place. That is more important.

    look at the amount of damages in the aftermath of calamities. destruction of crops and infrastructures constitute most of these damages. the effect to food security and economy is far-reaching and staggering. now compare that to the “benefits” and “revenues” that we get from logging and mining activities.

  • Anonymous

    You’re on the right tract, sir! Hope you’ll be able to sustain this program. Make sure that these new foresters will not be eaten by the system. We can only hope for the best that these new foresters are principled lot, who could stay away from corruption. Besides, you have to give them with the necessary equipment to make them more effective in their campaign for a green Philippines.

  • Anonymous

    ang kailangan diyan e bayaran yung community na nakapaligid diyan para siguradong lumaki yan kung hindi e wag nang ituloy yan at walaaaang mangyayari diyan. 2% lang ng reforestation effort ang pagtatanim. the rest e yung pagpapalaki diyan. ganyan lang kasimple ang strategy sa problemang yan. ewan ko ba bakit puro press release lang ang ginawa sa problemang yan mula pa noon.

    dapat diyan mag donate nang tig P5 bilyong piso si enrile at madrigal diyan sa effort na yan sa laki nang napakinabangan nila sa kagubatan ng buong bansa. nagtabaan na ang mga pamilya ng mga yan kapalit sa paghihirap ng buong bansa. tigilan na ang pagkagahaman!

    • Kosing Gawlu

      Tama ka haringkuwago marami ang nasa gobyerno natin ngayon ang nagpasasa sa likas na yaman ng ating bansa at makapal pa ang mukha na manatili sa goyerno. Sila ang dapat ulingin at gawing abo.

  • Iggy Ramirez

    Even if we carpeted this country with trees, it would make very little difference because the amount of evaporation has steadily increased every year due to global warming. Ironic it is to say but planting more trees, which by the way aid in the evaporation dilemma by releasing extra moisture they have absorbed into the air, would contribute to more evaporation. Evaporation and condensation processes, if they contain more than normal quantities of moisture, would be more severe in tropical countries like the Philippines.

    Unless we can mitigate, if not stop, the continuous belching of hydrocarbon that builds up more Carbon dioxide into the air, we really can not do anything about this flooding.

    • Anonymous

      I think the reason for reforestation is that plants/trees absorbed carbon dioxide thru photosynthesis from the atmosphere.Trees also breaks down and separates carbon from oxygen. The carbon is stored as biomass in the tree trunks, branches,
      foliage,roots and also in the soil. The oxygen is returned back to the atmosphere. Tragically, these carbon is release when the biomass is burned and is released back to the atmosphere.

      • Anonymous

        Trees are like the middle men in a transaction process between buyer and seller. 

        In between, they store more water they buy from the soil and rain, than the evaporation they sell. 

        As happy buyers of their products, we should take care of them more.

    • Anonymous

      Trees are like the middle men in a transaction process between buyer and seller.  

      In between, they store more water they buy from the soil and rain, than the evaporation they sell.  

      As happy buyers of their products, we should take care of them more.

  • Anonymous

    …..hay salamat, kala ko puro barbero ng kagubatan ang hinahire jan sa DENR…

  • Shinigami Sword

    And in five to ten years.. these trees that were planted will again be cut down by politicians. 

    I suggest that we cut down politicians first and ensure that they cease to exist before engaging in any mass reforestation to ensure that the next generation will still enjoy the beauty of trees and forests.

  • Herbert

    We also need to demolish corruption in DENR, first.

  • Anonymous

    Hand in hand with reforestation, the DENR should launch a campaign to reduce the demand for wood.  Visit any construction site and wood is still used for as formworks, scaffolding, walls, roof structures, cabinetry, flooring, and more.  

    The sad part is, as a country, we only care about people we know. We care about the our kumare across the street or our friendly Kagawad because we know them.  Victims of floods and landslides?  Some of us care, but most of us don’t.  One example, many people don’t care enough about others to forgo narra flooring — walking proudly on a floor built on the misery of others.

  • chaka

    I’m very happy that the administration is very concerned about reforestation programs in our country. hinaot pakusgon pod sa gobyerno ang pag-edukar sa mga tawo kung unsa ka-halangdon ang pagtanom og mga kahoy. educating the people in the communities, especially those in the rural areas will be a big factor to the succes of this project. nanghinaot pod ko nga mas pakusgon pod sa DENR ang ilahang mga programa sa pag-reach out sa mga eskwelahan hilabi na jud ang mandatory na pag-require sa mga graduating students na mgtanom og kahoy adisir mka-graduate.

  • Tort

    DENR (Destroyer of Environment and Natural Resources) these scenarios were proof enough that you are really giving GREEN and GO signal to those who abused natural resources..a SLAP on anybody’s President can resolved flooding problems in our country, it’s in our common sense and sense of being responsible for waste management..but for sure Philippines are looking forward to become one of the most developed country, so expect more WORST than these..

  • Francisco

    Reforestation??? for what? this kind of thinking comes to our mind only when disaster occurs. What’s the use of planting trees when at the same time licenses are given to greedy, heartless people to cut trees. They say that no new licenses are issued or renewed, are you serious??? give me a break. You always fool people with such declarations.  

  • Leonides Son

    This is really a good idea to help save our environment.  I believe the Boy Scouts of the Philippines is also willing to partner with DENR in this important mission.  However, in our past experience, when we do tree planting activities, DENR charges us for the seedlings… I think this strategy charging volunteers for the seedling needs to be revisited and reconsidered.

  • Anonymous

    Super lakas talaga nina Pedring and Quiel. Kahit si Ondoy ay hindi nagawang mahimok ang gobyerno na magsagawa ng ganitong napakahalagang proyekto.

  • Anne Torre

    The DENR needs a green army of foresters. Almost all administrations have their own DENR head and nothing happened. Reforestation was just a source of corruption. Trees are planted only near the roads to serve as curtain to the contracted but unplanted areas, funds of which are shared by the DENR officials and foresters and the reforestation contractors. They come and go rich and richer and richer.

    This green army foresters will just become green army of corruption. Just look at the illegal logging which claimed lives of radio broadcast journalists. The name is only good for advertisements and same dismal results will come out. Mulcting is already a habit of DENR  and its foresters.

  • Neal Resurreccion




  • Anonymous

    DENR (Denuded Environment and No Resources) should stop giving permits to mining (and logging firms). Review and inspect existing permits or MOA for any violations and impose sanctions. 

    Your plan to beef up your army of forester is far from reality.  Sadly, our youth of today are not keen on pursuing GREEN courses in their college such as forestry, agriculture, marine biology, geology and the likes.  Our today’s generation would rather be a call center agent, a nurse or anything with high paying jobs that would guarantee them big bucks.  Truly a sad fate of our biodiversity’s future.

    We need to act and think fast.  You (DENR) should involve the (LGU’s) Local Government Units of every mountainous area.  These LGU’s are the same source of rapid denudation of our forest, over extraction of  minerals and biodiversity losses. They know every illegal activities happening in their areas.  They know who are the illegal loggers, charcoal makers, miners and wildlife trappers in their localities.  We should involve them in the preservation and safeguarding on what is left with our biodiversity. Apply the full extent of the law for their inabilities and inaction and reward them for a job well done.  

    Your (DENR) reforestation project is a major scam. From Marcos up to the present administration they been bragging their accomplishment in papers.  Billions of pesos are spent on planted seedlings that eventually died of water starvation.  Nurturing is the key defining factor for the seeds survivability.  Almost all government initiated greening projects are ghost projects.

    Our country’s population is rapidly exploding (RH bill now) and we do not have enough resources to feed them.  We are rapidly changing our landscape for our own survivability. The floods that we seen after Pedring is just a reminder. Lets not be too GREEDY.  We need to coexist with other Gods wonderful creation.  We are the STEWARDS of our biodiversity.     


  • John Cross

    Para makatipid ang gov’t, make a particular day, say, every first Saturday of June every year as the National Planting Day wherein, throughout the whole country, the people will go to the mountains in their own towns identified as needing reforestation and then plant even just one seedling.

    The DENR can pre-arranged such seedlings to be delivered at the foot of these mountains several days before the planting day and put up signs and directions which the people can follow that will lead them to the areas needing planting. So in the planting day, a volunteer can get as many seedlings as he can carry, climb to the spot by following the signages and plant. This will be faster since the whole country will virtually plant and cheaper since the gov’t does not need to pay the volunteers.

    • Anonymous

      Naku paulit-ulit magtatanim tapos puputulin puro recycle na lang yan. Nakakasawa na walang nangyayari kaparusahan sa mga illegal logging. Puro mga pakitang-tao wala naman pinarurusahan. Pinapagod lang ang mga bata nagtatanim.  Palala ng palala ang baha. Tutulog-tulog itong si Pnoy. Mahina presidente.

  • Anonymous

    I advice the DENR destruction environment natural resources to give more logging permits and mining permit,any way lahat tayo makikinabang diyan,forward for the destruction of the phil.okey mr.paje go ahead.

  • Jun

    I’m for Total Log Ban. What’s the use of planting seedlings when even before the trees come to its right age they are immediately cut? Loggers know no boundaries and no law. Illegal logging is still very prevalent in the mountaineous regions and in the countryside.

    The idea of the DENR Sec is good. But new grads will only fall prey to corrupt businessmen and illegal loggers, either as victims (at first) and/or potential allies (eventually). We need wholehearted implementation of the law against illegal logging. It is better perhaps to put up an agency like the EPA of the U.S., fully authorized to prosecute illegal loggers and other violators of Enviromental Protection Policies and other laws.

  • Anonymous

    Hindi rin magsa-success yan puro drawing lang. Niloloko lang ninyo tao bayan. Nag-aantay lang kayo ng suweldo, wala naman ginagawa pa-media effect lang. Lalo ka na Lacierda tatanga-tanga ka lang kapag ini-interview no photo-ops for the President ngayon bibisita sa mga binaha. Sabihin mo kay Pnoy umalis na ang bagyo mag-yosi na lang sa kuarto niya at sabihin mo tuloy mabaho hininga niya.

  • Anonymous

    Dapat ma implement na ang mga solutions start right now.  Every year may bagyo, so every year tayong ganito – grabeng baha at sakuna.  Unless we start doing what needs to be done, we will never solve this perennial problem.  Good luck!

  • AdrianD

    I see an Army of Forest tongster.

    pero sana hindi naman sa administration ngayon.

  • Anonymous

    maganda yan pero sana mga mapagmahal talaga sa kalikasan ang mga makukuha at magbabantay at hindi yung mga tumatanggap ng lagay at isarado ang kanila mga mata sa walang habas na pagputol ng mga puno ng mga illegal loggers.

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