CEBU CITY—To offset the carbon emissions of its commercial operations by 2022, a company here has established a land carbon forest reserve in the city’s mountains which could absorb thousands of tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.
In a press release, Cebu Holdings Inc. (CHI), a subsidiary of Ayala Land, said the area that was established as a carbon forest reserve had already been preserved as a forest since 1998 through the Ayala Foundation Inc.
“As a developer, we see the importance of investing time and resources to help conserve and protect the environment – especially of the communities where we operate,” said Jun Bisnar, president of CHI and CEO of Ayala Land Vismin in the statement.
The press release said the company, in partnership with Soil and Water Conservation Foundation (SWCF), had already planted trees, bamboo, carried out soil erosion prevention projects and training programs to raise awareness about carbon forest management.
The forested area, which is part of Central Cebu Protected Landscape, is one of Ayala Land’s five carbon forest sites in the country which total 450 hectares in size.
CHI has inventoried at least 3,000 mature trees and more than 8,000 young trees in the carbon forest. Another 23,212 would be planted soon.
“Part of the carbon sink area focus will be to bring many other native species that can be found so eventually a large arboretum can be developed both for observation of specimen trees as well as potential seed sources in the future,” said William Granert, executive director of SWCF.
Since 2018, 4,998 new trees of 45 different species were planted by CHI and Ayala employees and other civic and private volunteers. The 65-hectare area today absorbs an equivalent of 16,763 tons of carbon dioxide.
The continuous tree-planting program was meant to address the shortage of water in Cebu by retaining water in acquifers.
Granert said trees in the carbon forest reserve would help in generating water for the Kotkot River, a key source of water in the city, and “help neutralize the carbon footprint of Ayala Land through carbon sequestration.”
Ayala Land said it was willing to partner with other institutions for environmental education.
CHI has been measuring its use of resources and greenhouse gas emissions and aims to be carbon neutral by 2022.
“The carbon sink reserve should serve as a model to other private land owners on how to restore selected parts of their lands to strengthen the balance between forest and non-forest use,” Granert said./TSB
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