Nearly 57 million seedlings have been raised by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and its partners by October this year, of which 83 percent -- or 47.2 million --- comprises of indigenous forest tree species.
DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said the marked prominence given to Philippine native species in the production of planting materials for the National Greening Program (NGP) is “in pursuit of DENR’s phased approach to a shift from use of exotic to indigenous species.”
“We can now say with confidence that the NGP is now headstrong to give itself a truly Filipino character,” Paje said, pointing to DENR Memorandum Circular 2012-01 which he issued in May that sets the course of the greening program towards the use of indigenous tree seedlings for its planting stock.
Of the 47.2 million indigenous forest tree seedlings raised, the DENR accounted for 43.45 million, including some 2.37 million mangrove propagules; 3.14 million were raised by the Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation (PTFCF) and the Foundation for Philippine Environment (FPE); and 154,694 by state universities and colleges (SUCs). Around 500,000 Benguet pine seedlings were also raised during the period by the Bukidnon Foundation Inc. (BFI), also an NGP partner of the DENR.
In addition to forest trees, a total of 4.1 million fruit-bearing trees were also raised during the period by the DENR (3.5 million) and the Department of Agriculture (598,061), one of DENR’s NGP key partners under the National Convergence Initiative along with the Department of Agrarian Reform.
For NGP’s urban greening component, another 765,173 ornamental seedlings were also raised for the period which included native species suitable for urban areas like acacia, agoho, alibangbang, aratelis, ilang-ilang balitbitan, caballero and talisai.