Only forty-five percent of Cordillera’s forest cover remain intact


Land conversion has destroyed wide forest reserve areas in the Cordillera region, according to the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources -Cordillera (DENR-CAR). Ralph Pablo, Regional Director of DENR-CAR reported that land conversion is the main culprit in the destruction of forest covers in the region- known to be the Watershed Cradle of the North.

However, Pablo said “generally, around 43 to 45 percent of forest cover are still intact out of the 1.5 million hectares of forest reserve.” Pablo, who led other DENR officials during Wednesday’s (May 24) Kapihan on environment concern added that his agency’s other challenge is timber poaching the use of corrupt ways to reach the forests or protected areas/ harvesting or cutting down of trees without approval.

The DENR official further said land conversion are found mostly in “open areas” that trees are still present but kaingin practices are rampant , and eventually converted into vegetable farmlands. He
pointed out “worst in mossy forest areas …once its gone it’s difficult to grow.” Pablo, however ,quickly said, his agency have been coordinating with the Department of Agriculture – Cordillera (DA-CAR) to address the problem.

The DENR official, who showed a bit disgust suggested that agricultural farmers should not be given incentives in order that they will not extend areas (kaingin) , pointing their “Nomadic” way of life. “Good if they plant trees,” said Pablo. Instead, the DENR official encouraged farmers to go into agro-forestry to enhance productivity such as planting high value crops.

Following the national regreening program of the government, Pablo said his agency has planted more than a hundred thousand hectares across the region even as he ask that his agency must be
provided more funds especially for the conservation and maintenance of the region’s natural resources. He is also pushing that Regions 1,2 and 3 must shoulder the cost in maintaining the region’s watershed to complement in their development efforts.

Primo Agatep/ABN

Amianan Balita Ngayon