DENR-UP to establish mechanized nursery in Los Baños and upgrade forest-research

Published on Monday, 20 June 2016 07:48
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DENR-UP to establish mechanized nursery in Los Baños and upgrade forest-research

DENR-UP UPLB CFNR Mechanized Nursery

               Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary for Environment and International Environmental Affairs Atty. Jonas R. Leones, (right) representing Secretary Ramon JP Paje, DENR Region 4A CALABARZON Regional Director Reynulfo A. Juan (left), University of the Philippines System President Alfredo E. Pascual (2nd from right), UP Los Baños Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. (2nd from left) and UPLB-College of Forestry and Natural Resources Dean Willie P. Abasolo each wield a shovel during the groundbreaking for the construction of the P27.5 million mechanized nursery building and nursery facilities on a one-hectare lot at the foothills of Mount Makiling, along Pili Drive within the UPLB Campus in Los Baños, Laguna on June 7, 2016.

              Before wielding the shovel, the five wielded the pen in a ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Agreement fortifying collaboration and partnership of the DENR and UP in undertaking the "Integrated Research and Development Grant for High Value Forest Crops" project which aims to produce 'phenotypically superior planting materials with good survival rate.' The project is also aimed to sustain the successes gained by the government's National Greening Program which has been extended until 2028.

              Undersecretary Leones relayed Sec Paje's appreciation for the UP, the UP Diliman's Marine Science Institute, but more specifically the UPLB for their all-out support to the project and several other projects of the DENR during his term as secretary. He said the project will be the first mechanized and modernized forest nursery and that the Integrated Research and Development Grant for High Value Forest Crops will be a big help to the DENR in its National Greening Program.

              Paje in his message said, "In the memorandum of agreement that we signed, we agreed to collaborate to produce (with the mechanized nursery) phenotypically superior planting materials with a good survival rate. Also, P3.5 million will be allocated for the renovation of the College of Forestry and Natural Resources Biotech Laboratory and convert it to a clonal nursery. The DENR will also include its annual budget proposal starting 2017 and for the next five years a budget allocation of P5 million for the maintenance of the mechanized nursery and clonal facility."

             He also said, "Funding grant of P5 million for the conduct of researches that are aligned with DENR Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau and the University's research agenda will be provided."

             "Since NGP was conceived in 2011, the DENR made various efforts to realize the task that Pres. Aquino gave us," he said, "We were to grow 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares nationwide within six years from 2011 to 2016. During the past 5 years, 1.3 million hectares or 90% of the target of 1.5 million hectares of identified NGP sites have been planted. This was made possible through collaboration with various groups specially with DENR-ERDB's partnership with the State Universities in boosting the production of quality planting materials. Mechanized and modernized forest nurseries were also established in the National Capital Region, in Regions 2, 5, 7 and 13 to ensure massive production of quality seedlings and to meet the target of producing 1.5 billion seedlings."

             Paje, according to Leones also reported that the NGP was able to provide about three million jobs in upland and lowland communities involved in nursery establishment, seedling production, site preparation, plantation establishment and maintenance and protection.

"Soon this project will be contributing to the enhancement of the planting materials that will be utilized in the succeeding reforestation activities," he added, "This will supplement the nurseries in 25 partner state universities that serve as our lifeline of planting stocks. The proximity of these nurseries to our NGP planting sites is an advantage. A shorter transport will ensure high survival of seedlings."

             Paje revealed, "The good news is that Pres. Aquino already signed the expansion of the NGP until 2028. This is to continue to reforest the remaining 7.1 million hectares of denuded lands. With what we have done so far in the NGP, our country is on the right track towards climate change mitigation."

             He, however, stressed, "But we still need to do more especially so that our country is one of the signatories of the Paris agreement under the UNFCC. This agreement calls by reducing the global warming by 1.5 degree Celcius. And therefore I encourage each one here to join hands as we move the National Greening Program to a higher new level. Magtulungan tayo, magNGP pa more."

             UP System President Pascual said he used to come to UP at Los Baños to plant trees on the slopes of Mount Makiling as part of the Arbor Day celebration. He related "We are students then and come here and plant trees. But those were the old ways. Now, we have more productive approaches to producing the seedlings. Was that 100 seeds per minute? Wow! We need a bigger area for that and I think you’re dedicating a bigger area for the seedlings and that means we’ll have hopefully enough numbers to do the planting."

             He observed that those behind the project are also from UP like him, he mused, "You know, so it looks like while this MOA signing looks like an incestuous relationship. We’re all relatives trying to get together and produce not a child but an important facility that will truly serve the needs of the nation. I congratulate all those behind this project, those from DENR led by Sec. Ramon Paje also a proud alumnus of the university and his colleagues and the UP-side of course, (UPLB) Chancellor Fernando Sanchez and Dean Willie Abosolo."

             He was exited with the prospects of the joint-DENR-UP project. He said " I hope this is not the last of modern facilities that you will introduce in the campus. And that you will continue to strive to raise the level of technology in UPLB. Because as you do that, you are effectively doing it for the whole country." (With Noreen M. Naquila. Photo by Dane Ferrari F. Artiza)