Vegetable farmers in Buguias took advantage of the rains to plant various seedlings, which they target to help rehabilitate and restore their denuded watershed.
Collaborating with government and non-government environmental groups, farmers of Barangay Lengaoan in Buguias planted some 6,100 seedlings last July 28.
“We have to restore whatever is left of our watersheds, which we badly need to supply water especially during the dry months,” said Lengaoan Punong Barangay Leonardo Mayao Jr.
Mayao organized the synchronized tree-planting in cooperation with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Community Environment and Natural Resources Office Buguias, the Philippine National Police from Camp Dennis Molintas, and the Cordillera Green Network or CGN (an environmental organization) staff.
Some 145 people from these agencies and organizations joined the activity and planted calliandra (a nitrogen-fixing tree), Benguet pine, and various fruit trees.
Started in July 2011, the tree-planting project had targeted to plant 46,500 seedlings covering 200 hectares in barangays Lengaoan and Sebang.
“We have successfully met the target,” said Mariko Sorimachi-Banasan, CGN executive director.
The project is funded by the “green fund” of the National Land Afforestation Promotion Organization in Japan through the Kiyosato Education Experiment Project, also a Japan-based environmental NGO.
The project included not only tree planting, but establishing barangay-based nurseries, protecting and developing watersheds, and encouraging local governments to pass ordinances that protect forests and watersheds.
For its part, the community took care of the labor in establishing the nurseries and planting the seedlings.
Mayao assured the CGN he would lead his community in maintaining and protecting the seedlings planted during the project.