About 122,000 hectares of denuded forest lands and watersheds in Central Luzon have been rehabilitated through the Enhanced National Greening Program (E-NGP) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) since 2011.
The agency has continued the reforestation program to restore the region’s degraded areas and has reinforced its efforts on increasing the survival rate of these plantation sites.
Despite the pandemic, DENR has established another 300-hectare bamboo plantation in Bulacan last year as an additional forest cover in the Angat-Ipo-Maasim River Watershed. This is in addition to the more than 14,000-hectare bamboo plantations established since 2011 under NGP.
Meanwhile, the tree-planting under the DENR-led National Greening Program (NGP) won’t just be to increase Philippine forest cover but also to grow species that will eventually be harvested for lumber, noted DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu.
The official said the Philippines needs around 5 million cubic meters of lumber annually. At present, the country produces about 1 million cubic meters of lumber — mostly in private lands — and must source the balance elsewhere.
Apart from its ecological value, NGP has generated 228,592 jobs in the region from its plantation maintenance and protection activities.
NGP aims to reforest 1.5 million hectares of denuded forest lands and watersheds in the country. It was expanded until 2028 under Executive Order No. 193 to reforest and develop remaining degraded forest areas in the country.