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22,000 ha in Pangasinan reforested since 2011

/ 02:31 AM December 28, 2015

DAGUPAN CITY—The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) in Pangasinan has planted almost 17 million seedlings in different parts of the province under the National Greening Program (NGP), spending
P258 million for the project in the last four years.

Penro reports showed 16,917,478 seedlings of different tree species were planted mostly in public lands starting in 2011.

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The agency spent P257.6 million for procurement of seedlings, site preparation, and maintenance and protection, reports showed.

Leduina Co, Penro chief, said 22,000 hectares were reforested under the program, although the agency expected that 15 percent of the trees would not survive.

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“The target is 85 percent survival rate. If the [number of surviving] trees [falls below target], the contracted organizations would have to replant,” Co said.

She said Penro contracts out the reforestation program to peopleís organizations based in areas to be reforested so the program could employ locals.

The reforestation areas include protected areas, mangrove forests, riverbanks and open access areas. Planted are trees used for lumber and fuel, and fruit trees.

Co said reforestation activities are difficult to implement in Pangasinan because the hot and windy condition hampers the growth of seedlings. The hills are also rocky while topsoil is thin in most reforestation areas.

Despite these challenges, the Penro surpassed the target number of hectares and amount of seedlings to be planted, Co said.

From 2011 to 2014, the target reforestation area was 16,528 ha but the planted area reached 16,711.015 ha, said Pacencia Votacion, who heads the NGP program in Pangasinan.

More than 11.6 million seedlings were planted during the program’s first four years. This year, 5,702 ha had been reforested, exceeding the target of 5,672 ha.

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Co said President Aquino had issued an executive order extending the program, which was supposed to end next year, up to 2018.

She said the reforested areas in Pangasinan did not include the 382 ha that have been planted with 182,000 seedlings to replace the 1,892 trees felled along the Manila North Road (MNR).

These trees had to be cut because of the MNR expansion being undertaken by the Department of Public Works and Highways. Yolanda Sotelo, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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TAGS: environment, National Greening Program, Pangasinan, Reforestation, seedlings
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