By Philippine News Agency
People in Ilocos Norte can expect more bamboo and mangrove plantations to rise in low-lying areas in the next three years.
With a budget allocation of P104.5 million, the Ilocos Norte-based Department of Environment and Natural Resources is set to rehabilitate some 2,213 hectares of landslide-prone areas in the different towns and cities here to be planted mostly with bamboo, mangrove propagules and some indigenous tree species.
Engr. Sheila Camagon, Land Management Officer III of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said that for 2017 to 2019, the enhanced National Greening Program (NGP) will now focus on rehabilitating the lowland and beach areas stretching about 155.37-kilometer coastline from Badoc to Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte.
Over the last five years, about 52 people’s organizations involving 4,282 manpower were commissioned by the DENR to plant over 12 million seedlings in the mountainous part of the province covering some 21 hectares mostly in the towns of Vintar, Nueva Era and Piddig that forms part of the so-called “green wall” of Ilocos Norte.
In line with the DENR’s nationwide goal of planting bamboo on a total of one million hectares by 2022 as required under the Enhanced National Greening Program, Ilocos Norte is eyeing to plant some 1,090 bamboo seedlings in the next three years.
Forest experts in Ilocos Norte recognize bamboo as the best conservation material because it is easy to propagate and can deliver high return on investment in just a few years’ time. Bamboo experts in the country also attest to the capability of bamboo to sequester carbon and is an alternative for wood.
Meanwhile, it has already been proven through numerous studies that mangroves do not only protect islands from storm surges but also serve as spawning grounds for shrimps and other marine life.
Prior to the commencement of the enhanced NGP, a convergence initiative reforestation program starting 2017 to 2028, DENR officials convened a meeting with local experts on bamboo technology, agriculture, food and sustainable development and on watershed and water research from the state-run Mariano Marcos State University to come up with an action plan and ensure the proper implementation and management of the project.
A series of trainings was also conducted for people’s organization leaders, NGP coordinators, site coordinators and local government unit representatives to enrich their knowledge on bamboo propagation, plantation establishment and maintenance, economic enterprise and product marketing.