DENR, Asean-Korea eye forest training center
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Association of South East Asian Nations-Republic of Korea Forest Cooperation (Afoco) seek to establish a regional forest training center in Candelaria, Zambales. “The Php700,000-worth facility seeks to enhance the knowledge and skills of forest managers and peoples’ organizations (POs) to better restore and protect the ASEAN region’s forest and fight global warming and climate change,” DENR-Forest Management Bureau Forest Resources Management Division Head Orlando Panganiban said. It will serve as a demonstration area for the application of assisted natural regeneration (ANR) technology using the landscape approach to sustainable forest management and will benefit forest technician, including members of the POs.
“The center will develop and promote a 30-hectare demonstration area of ANR as a cost efficient way of regenerating forest by enhancing the establishment of secondary forest from degraded grassland and shrub vegetation by protecting and nurturing the mother trees and their wildlings inherently present in the area,” he furthered. The objective of ANR is to accelerate, rather than replace, natural successional processes by removing or reducing barriers to natural forest regeneration such as soil degradation, competition with weedy species, and recurring disturbances such as grass fire and grazing. “In ANR, seedlings are protected from undergrowth and extremely flammable plants such as cogon and talahib.
As a protection effort, new trees are planted when needed or wanted called enrichment planting,” Panganiban explained. In a statement, DENR Regional Director Francisco Milla Jr. said the training center is a big support to the DENR and the Asean member-countries to further boost reforestation efforts. “This will enable us to fast track the restoration of degraded forestland and watershed, and with ANR, forests grow faster than they would naturally,” he stressed.
Organization of Afoco was first proposed by the Republic of Korea in June 2009 to share its experiences and technologies with other neighboring countries in the forest sector as a forest cooperation organization, which aims to promote forest restoration and rehabilitation and sustainable development in the region. It was formally established in November 2011 after it was ratified by the 10 member-states of Asean. (PIA)