Iloilo City to improve forest cover to mitigate heat

Iloilo City to improve forest cover to mitigate heat

Iloilo City to improve forest cover to mitigate heat

TREE PARK This photo taken in November last 2023 only shows the massive marker for Iloilo City’s Lanit tree park in Jaro district, a 3-hectare area that Mayor Jerry Treñas says the city government aims to fill with trees as part of his administration’s greening initiatives. —Jerry Treñas Facebook photo

ILOILO CITY, Philippines — The local government here has set a goal to double its forest cover from less than 15 percent to 30 percent in an attempt to reduce the city’s heat index.

Neil Ravena, head of the city’s General Services Office (GSO), said they needed to increase the forest cover by planting more trees to mitigate rising temperatures.


The city government, through the GSO, had launched extensive tree-growing initiatives focusing on planting native tree species, with the goal of planting by the end of this year some 100,000 native trees across various locations, including subdivisions and calamity relocation sites, said Ravena.


READ: More trees: Antidote to our heat problem

Ravena said the city’s approach involved not only tree planting but encompassed a comprehensive tree-growing strategy.

One of the focal points of this initiative is the replacement of royal palm trees along the diversion road with native dita trees, known for their deep roots and stable growth, which offer better shade and are more resilient.


For the local government, it is a community-wide effort by collaborating with various sectors and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), which had pledged 3,000 seedlings, including 1,000 “freedom” tree species, according to Ravena.

Mayor Jerry Treñas underscored the urgency of these efforts, as the impacts of climate change have become more severe than ever.

“Climate change is intense. Before, we only talked about it, but now it has worsened. We have to do something about it,” he said in a recent interview.


The GSO had also coordinated with the Iloilo City Local Housing Office led by Peter Millare to conduct an inventory of open spaces in relocation sites for the planting of fruit-bearing trees.

This initiative extends to private subdivisions where native trees will be planted in designated open areas.

Among the notable projects is the development of a 3-hectare tree park in Barangay Lanit and extensive tree planting along the Sunset Boulevard area where 80,000 of the 100,000 target trees will be planted.

Other areas earmarked for planting included floodways, roadsides, the Esplanade and beach forests on Barangay Boulevard.

Ravena said less than 15 percent of Iloilo City’s 7,834 ha are covered by trees.

He said increasing this to at least 15 to 30 percent is essential for the city’s resilience against climate change as it will significantly enhance heat absorption and reduce overall temperatures.

The city plans to formalize these tree-growing activities in June pending improvements in weather conditions.

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With rainfall currently below normal levels, Ravena said planting activities are crucial to ensure the survival and growth of the new trees.

TAGS: forest cover, Iloilo

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