Today marks another milestone in the history of the country’s reforestation program, albeit with some twists. One, the National Greening Program (NGP), as envisioned under Executive Order No. 26 issued by President Aquino last February 24, will be implemented to achieve four broad objectives, namely, poverty reduction, food security, biodiversity conservation, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Two, it mandates all government agencies and institutions, including local government units, to provide full support to the program, not only in terms of tree planting but also in the production of quality seedlings, mobilization of all government employees, including students from Grade 5 to college level, to plant at least 10 seedlings each, annually. The private sector is encouraged to participate in the program.
And three, the upland communities will be tapped to be responsible in taking care of the seedlings planted by other participants. In turn, they will be included in the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
This way, the government hopes that by the end of six years, the program should have achieved its target of “re-greening” or transforming some 1.5 million hectares of the country’s denuded areas into vibrant new plantations of forest trees or agroforestry (mix of fruit and forest trees).
- The Philippines’ total land area of about 30 million hectares is legally classified as alienable and disposable land and forestland. As of 2008, classified forestlands covered 15.05 million hectares or 50%; unclassified forestlands covered 0.755 million hectares or 3%; and alienable and disposable lands spanning 14.19 million hectares or 47%.
- Based on the 2001-2003 satellite imageries, the total forest cover of the Philippines is estimated at 7.168 million hectares or 24.27% of the country’s total land area.
- Of the total forest cover, open forest accounted for more than half at 4.031 million hectares. The rest of the forest types contributed to the total as follows: closed forest at 2.56 million hectares (35.71%), plantation forest at 329,746 hectares (4.60%), and mangrove natural forest at around 247,309 hectares (3.45%).
- There are approximately 8 million hectares of forestland that are unproductive, open, denuded or degraded.
- At an average of 30,000 hectares of reforestation accomplishment per year, it would take 280 years to reforest/rehabilitate the 8 million hectares.