Around 57,000 forest and fruit tree saplings were distributed and planted by inhabitants and stakeholders of the Upper Agno Watershed Reserve (UAWR) from January this year to present.
The said seedlings were propagated at the Ambuclao Nursery of the Upper Agno River Watershed Area Team National Power Corporation (UARWAT- NPC). The seedling production and seedling dispersal program prioritized Indigenous people's Organization and individual community people as beneficiaries.
With the demand for the National Greening Program, in which supplemental tree planting is massively campaigned, free dispersal is extended to various Local Government Units from the municipal level to the barangay level. With the assistance of UARWAT, the MLGUs through their Municipal Environmental and Natural Resources Office and the Municipal Planning and Development Office supervised the planting at their respective areas with the special participation of the Barangay Local Government Units, Bantay Watershed Task Force (formerly Barangay Forest Protection Team), PNP, BFP, NPC- SNAPBI Technical Cooperation, schools, youth organizations, womens group, among others.
This third quarter, 10,000 seedlings were scattered in the different barangays and remaining forests of Buguias. This is in support to the towns environmental protection effort to conserve and protect its nine identified communal forests as incorporated in their Local Development Investment Plan?, said For. Onofre S. Castro, UARWAT section chief.
The nursery-produced species usually requested by the communities are fruit trees like mango, jackfruit, guyabano, coffee, lychees, rambutan, avocado, calamansi, star apple, cacao, longgan, santol, chico, guapple, atis, lanzones, cashew and mabolo; while the forest trees are narra, golden showers, ilang-ilang, g-melina arborea, Benguet pine, mahogany, fire tree, talisay, calliandra, and others.
Other than the communal forests, these seedlings were sown in denuded areas, along barangay and national roads, vacant lots in schools, and open areas which were previously utilized as pasture land and kaingin.
UARWAT has a target seedling production of 100,000 from June 2016 to May 2017 subject for dispersal; but more or less 17,282 was exposed to mortality due to damping off during the rainy season. Total remaining stock at press time is 40,300 seedlings to be dispersed until December.
The Energy Regulatory Commission allotted PhP 700,000 for labor, materials, and farm inputs as petitioned by UARWAT in its Plan 7: Nursery Operation, Seedling Production and Maintenance. Being manned by UARWAT nursery personnel and forest guards, the nursery operations include care and maintenance of seedlings, collection of fruit seeds and potting medium, potting, and maintenance of nursery area.
The dispersal program is UARWAT's community development and extension which complements its regular plantation programs and vegetative measures (such as reforestation, assisted natural regeneration, agro-forestry, bamboo, tiger grass establishment and maintenance), and its infrastructure development and improvement to include fire line and green belt.