Mindanao eyes world record in TreeVolution event

Sep. 25, 2014

DAVAO CITY – Mindanao is all set this Friday, September 26, to make it to the Guinness Book of World Records of planting the most number of trees simultaneously in various areas.

The event is spearheaded by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), which has so far gathered 185,000 registrations, according to MinDA.

The event called TreeVolution: Greening MindaNOW” is targetting to plant 4.6 million tree seedlings in an estimated 9,200 hectares around Mindanao.

MinDA’s Development Management Officer Rolando Pinsoy said in an interview over radio that many people and groups expressed enthusiastic response especially online where they had gathered 85,000 registrants.

Tree-planting in Davao City will take place in Barangay Magsaysay in hinterland Marilog District.  The event will be held simultaneously with other regions in Mindanao from 8:30 am to 9:30 am.

Soccsksargen Region 12 is set to plant 500,000 trees while Surigao del Norte will plant 100,000 trees.

Local government units and schools have announced their participation to this event.  Corporations such as Holcim Cement, Sagittarius Mines and Phoenix Gas are among those who are contributing to the Treevolution.

The current world record holder for this feat is India, which accomplished a record of 1.9 million trees planted in 408 areas simultaneously on August 15, 2011.

DENR Regional Director Marcus Fragada said  the Treevolution seeks to plant a sizeable number of trees as part of its National Greeining Program, and at the same time provide livelihood for farmers by planting coffee, cacao and rubber.

DENR is targetting 8.8 million trees for its NGP this year.

But two environment groups have decided to hold separate activity on this day.

Environment group Panalipdan (Defend) Southern Mindanao said it will continue its livelihood activities and reforesting selected areas in Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte that were hit by Typhoon Pablo.

Panalipdan co-Chairperson, Dr. Jean Lindo said DENR’s approach of planting cash crops does little to bring climate change solutions.

“There should be diversity in the species being planted and should not be confined to cash crops. There should be more trees that contribute to the prevention or reduction of soil erosion or bring about climate solution that should be planted, like the bamboos and the mangroves and forest trees,” Lindo pointed out.

Panalipdan spokesperson Professor Kim Gargar challenged DENR to do a bottom-up approach on environment protection by listening to the communities to determine what plants and trees are needed in their villages.

He added that planting more diverse species is important to Mindanao which has only less than 10 percent of forested areas remaining due to massive deforestation and industrial activities.

Gargar said that while efforts from DENR is laudable, government should stop making conflicting policies such as pushing for climate change mitigation while allowing mining and agribusiness plantations that contribute to climate change.

“It is hypocrisy if government commits to planting trees while it allows large-scale multinational mining companies to mow down the mountains” Gargar said during a radio talk last weekend.

Lindo also added that reforesting efforts cannot be a “cure-all”, as she warned government to complement this by aborting coal-fired power plants that will operate in Davao City next year.

It will not succeed if coal energy continues. It must be noted that coal-fired power plants contribute 40% to carbon emission and this has led to exceeding the limit of 350 parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere. The level is now at 400 parts per million. We simply cannot plant our way out of carbon pollution. Fossil fuel has to be reduced dramatically,” Lindo said.

Meanwhile, the Interface Development Intervientions (IDIS) said it will conduct its own tree-planting activity in Vinzons Elementary School in Barangay Guianga, Tugbok District. 

IDIS executive director Mary Ann Fuertes said its members and supporters will plant hardwood such as alagaw, dao and mahogany; and fruits such as jackfruit.  Fuertes said the planting area will become a park for the school. (davaotoday.com)

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