Forest Rehabilitation Gains in 2021

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has almost doubled its 2021 performance in terms of the Enhanced National Greening Program (ENGP) implementation with the establishment of 83,169 hectares of plantations–exceeding by 176 percent the 47,299 hectares established in 2020.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the ENGP accomplishment in 2021 “mirrors how the DENR has kept its momentum,” noting that the gains “overcame the roadblocks thrown by the pandemic.”

He also noted that the DENR was able to accomplish 88 percent of its 2021 target of 94,667 hectares for plantations.

Around 60.4 million seedlings have been planted this year, exceeding by 170 percent the 37.2 million seedlings planted in 2020.

“The year 2021 has been a productive year as the DENR kept its momentum through the pandemic and further sustained its gains on many fronts like the rehabilitation and protection of the country’s forest resources,” Cimatu said.

The latest figures bring to 2.16 million hectares the areas planted under the ENGP, or a total of 1.81 billion seedlings  planted since 2011.

Moreover, reports submitted to the NGP Office of the DENR-Forest Management Bureau (FMB) show that 54,895 ENGP-related jobs have been created between January to August this year. This benefitted some 9,916 individuals hired as forest extension officers and technical workers  tasked to provide technical assistance to NGP partners and beneficiaries in  NGP plantation development activities consisting of  nursery management, seedling production, and enhancement planting in graduated-NGP areas experiencing tree seedling mortalities, which is unavoidable in tree plantation establishment.

It also noted a “dramatic” increase in the number of families engaged under the program following the adoption of the family approach strategy as ordered by Cimatu in 2020 to award ENGP-contracts to forestry-resource dependent families.

A total of 17,696 families have been part of the program from January to May this year alone, surpassing by 118 percent the 14,885 ENGP beneficiary-families in 2020.

Under the scheme, an ENGP-family contractor—classified either as a single-family or extended family to include grandchildren and in-laws—enters into an agreement binding family members to undertake any of the four modes of activity namely tree plantation development; agroforestry plantation development; rehabilitation of protection forest zone using endemic timber and non-timber species indigenous to the area; and rehabilitation of mangrove and beach forests.

Each ENGP beneficiary-family can be granted one to 10 hectares for a period of three years.

In total, around 5.7 million ENGP-related jobs have so far been created with 816,383 hired individuals.

Initially a six-year project, the DENR-led National Greening Program (NGP) was implemented by virtue of Executive Order (EO) 26 issued in 2011 to plant some 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares of land.

Its implementation was extended to 2028 with the issuance of EO 193 in November 2015 and was renamed “Enhanced National Greening Program” or ENGP.

In 2021, the DENR also made progress in its Intensified Forest Protection and Anti-Illegal Logging program with the filing of 449 cases for violation of Presidential Decree No. 705 or the Revised Philippine Forestry Code.

At least 2.18 million board feet of undocumented forest products have been seized, including 706 vehicles and other pieces of equipment used in illegal logging activities.

Written by Village Connect

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