2.26.2012

PIA News Service - Sunday, February 26, 2012

DENR13 urged residents to plant trees to avoid landslides

By Eric F. Gallego

BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 26 (PIA)
-- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 13 have suggested that people living in the upland barangays may have good chances of avoiding landslide incidents by planting trees rather than converting their lands to farms using slash-and-burn techniques.

Slash-and-burn is an agricultural system in which a forest is cut, the debris is burned and the land is then used to grow crops.

DENR13 Regional Executive Director Leonardo R. Sibbaluca said that forest clearings through the “kaingin” method of farming “greatly contributes to deforestation which can destabilize the soil in the long run and can trigger landslides and destructive floods during strong typhoons and heavy rains.”

“Our chances of survival from disasters like landslides are limited in areas where there are forest destructions and denudations,” Sibbaluca said.

He said with unpredictable weather condition in the Philippines which is becoming more powerful and disastrous owing to climate change, the people should help the government’s actions in taking aggressive stance to fight this modern-day threat to humanity.

“It is an advantage to the people when President Benigno S. Aquino III declared a logging moratorium of logging activities in natural and residual forest areas nationwide through the imposition of Executive Order No. 23 on February 2,2011,” he said.

He said the people should realize that instead of cutting trees, they should plant more trees to mitigate climate change. The forests, he said, are good mitigation approach to climate change.

“Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen so that we can breathe clean aid,” he added.

Meanwhile, DENR Secretary Ramon JP Paje said the National Greening Program of the government, which is being carried out throughout the country, is expected to increase forest cover. Paje said that P6 billion has been set aside for NGP in 2012 alone.

“We have doubled our target of planting tree seedlings on 200,000 hectares of denuded lands for 2012,” Paje said.

The DENR secretary is optimistic that his agency can surpass the accomplishment made last year in which 69.37 million tree seedlings have been planted in 117,688 hectares of open and denuded forestlands which is above the 100,000-hectare target for 2011. There were about 567,324 individuals who took part in planting the seedlings last year.

Paje said, “That the DENR’s accomplishment in 2011 reflects a very positive scenario for this year’s NGP target as all indication points to positive results since the program went into full swing by the second quarter of 2011 following the issuance of Executive Order 26 by President Aquino last February 24.”

The NGP targets to plant 1.5 billion tree seedlings in 1.5 million hectares nationwide from 2011 to 2016. Priority areas for planting include mangrove and protected areas, ancestral domain areas, civil and military areas, urban areas under the greening plan of LGUs, inactive and abandoned mine sites, and all other suitable lands for reforestation. (NCLM/PIA-Caraga/DENR-13)