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Reforestation project in Sierra Madre continues

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The government has extended for another year its project to reforest the Sierra Madre mountain range in Laguna and Quezon provinces.
This is a three-year project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in collaboration with the University of the Philippines-Los Baños.
The project covers open and denuded forestland within the so-called Laguna-Quezon Land Grant (LQLG) in the towns of Siniloan and Real.
The LQLG is a 6,765-hectare property acquired by the University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) by virtue of Republic Act (RA) No. 3608 dated February 8, 1930.
DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje said that, what led to the extension was the marked success of the joint effort of the department and the UPLB to reforest denuded areas of Sierra Madre’s southern portion, through the National Greening Program (NGP).
“The Forest Management Bureau (FMB) has reported that since 2012, a total of 557 hectares within the LQLG have been planted with 279,300 indigenous tree seedlings,” Paje said.
If not extended, the reforestation project would have expired in December 2015, where 378 hectares in Real and 178 hectares in Siniloan were already planted with trees.
The extension will allow the project to expand the NGP development to another 456 hectares in Siniloan, bringing UPLB’s contribution to the government’s flagship reforestation program to 1,000 hectares by end of the year.
Indigenous tree species planted on areas covered by the project include Banobo, Bolong-eta, Palong Maria, Mulingmuling, Kalumpit, Kuling Manok, Kuling Baboy, Dalingdingan, and Malagmat.
The undertaking is tied to the NGP, which taps state universities and colleges (SUCs) in its implementation pursuant to Executive Order No. 26, series of 2011.
The DENR has so far tapped 27 SUCs, including UPLB. These academic institutions are involved in the establishment of clonal facilities and seedling nurseries through the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB).
The UPLB, however, is also involved in production of quality planting materials, plantation establishment and maintenance, and protection activities for seedlings planted for a minimum of three years.
The extension of the DENR-UPLB reforestation project was requested by UPLB Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs Serlie Jamias last month and was subsequently endorsed by FMB Director Ricardo Calderon based on the findings of the four-member NGP National Secretariat Office that inspected the two planting sites.
The LQLG is one of the two land grant areas being managed by the UPLB. The other is the Laguna Land Grant (LLG) that was awarded to the university through RA 3990 dated June 18, 1964 and has a land area of 3,435.4 hectares.
Collectively referred to as the UP Sierra Madre Land Grants, the LQLG and LLG are located in the southern portion of the Sierra Madre mountain range.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.