By Minerva Newman
CEBU CITY – The Energy Development Corporation (EDC), a leader in geothermal development in the country, has planted and grown more than 6.3 million native trees restoring some 9,196 hectares of forests in all its geothermal sites including its wind and hydro project sites in the country as of end of 2017.
EDC corporate communications officer Frances Ariola told Manila Bulletin that EDC continues to plant and grow premium endangered native trees that are being distributed for planting to its 152 partners in various sectors and communities in the 16 regions in the country.
Ariola said EDC continues to support its BINHI program which is the company’s forest restoration program that aims to bring back to abundance premium endangered native trees. BINHI literally means seedlings.
BINHI’s goal is to plant 10M trees in 10 years, as the ‘Greener Negros Movement’ (10M in 10) celebrates its 10 years in greening the geothermal sites in Negros Island, Ariola added.
Norreen Bautista, head of the EDC’s Community Partnerships, External Relations, and Watershed Management Group in Negros Island said that the Greener Negros movement recently planted 3,000 native tree seedlings at Calabnugan, Sibulan, Negros Oriental.
Bautista bared that more than 200 volunteers from EDC and its current and potential (10M in 10) partners planted Balite, Tabugay, Taruy, Talo-ot, Pili, and Kube trees in celebration of the two important occasions–BINHI and Arbor Day this year. These are instrumental to the fulfillment of their commitment to grow back the forests in Negros Island.
“This huge turnout of volunteers indicated the Negrenses’ increasing awareness on the need to plant more native trees,” Bautista said.
She added that more than 2.5 million of these were planted on over 3,000 hectares in Negros Island with the help of EDC’s over 30 BINHI local partners.
According to Bautista in 2016, EDC’s BINHI team has already identified, located, and collected samples of its 96 targeted threatened native tree species and have sought out to propagate them.
To achieve this, EDC has put up a state-of-the-art automated nursery called a Vegetative Materials Reproduction (VMR) facility in its 222.5 MW geothermal project in Valencia, Negros Oriental, Bautista said.
She said the nursery makes use of an automated mist irrigation system to give the right amount of mist and mimic the conditions of a natural forest habitat.
This VMR in Valencia will serve not only the need for native seedlings of EDC’s BINHI partners in the Visayas region but also its 140 (10M in 10) partners, Bautista said.
“We encourage those who are truly committed to protecting and restoring the forests of Negros Island to partner with us in this green revolution because all these efforts are crucial in fighting climate change,” Bautista noted.