By Anna Valmero
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, PALAWAN— Over the next six years, the local provincial government is aiming to have ten million new trees planted here under the Palawan Trees for the Restoration of the Ecology, Economy and Society or PalTREES, the provincial greening program.
Palawan has the biggest forest cover in the country at 49 percent of the total province land area. In six years, the goal is to rehabilitate a total of 133,000 hectares in the entire province, especially those that are denuded areas.
Tree planting activities will be conducted year-round with a strong focus on planting native and endemic trees to enhance the province’s biodiversity.
The country has a total forestland and timberland area of 15.9 million hectares, of which more than half or eight million hectares have been denuded and aggravating floods and landslides.
The numbers become worrisome as the remaining 14.1 million hectares or 47.1 percent of the country's total 30 million hectares land area are either alienable or disposable land.
Under the National Greening Program, the government aims to plant 250 million seedlings to reforest 1.5 hectares of rehabilitated forestlands each year until 2016
Governor Abraham Khalil Mitra said that caring for the environment is key in his health, employment, agriculture and tourism (HEAT) program.
“Palawan is considered the last frontier of the Philippines and we are continuing efforts to make it greener by planting more trees following Executive Order No. 26 or the National Greening Program,” said Mitra, who also chairs the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD).
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