Pilot project for carbon trading in the Philippines gets boost with greening program
A new concept of saving forests from further deterioration while conserving them for biodiversity conservation and sustainable livelihood for local communities has been at work in Southern Leyte province since 2009, initiated by a German government organization GIZ.
In addition, the Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) concept might as well give flesh to talks in emerging international economics, such as carbon trading or carbon credit.
And with the National Greening Program (NGP) of the Aquino administration now being pursued vigorously until the year 2016, REDD project in the province got a perfect boost.
REDD, or its most recent variation, REDD +++, has been a “pilot project in the Philippines, and it can be found here in Southern Leyte province,” said Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Ricardo Tomol who discussed the concept during the NGP provincial summit Monday.
Tomol said that GIZ spearheaded the REDD+++ for a three-year period from 2009 to 2012, but it was extended up to 2015 -- and these are also the years when the NGP in the province will be implemented.
He said the additional three plusses signified three more objectives other than a general sense of reduced emission out of deforestation and forest degradation, that is, conservation of carbon stock, management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stock.
The idea, as applied, is to maximize efforts to conserve what is left of the more than 500 hectares of the virgin forests of Silago, Sogod, Bontoc, Tomas Oppus, up to the remaining forests in Maasin City, rehabilitate the denuded ones due to natural and man-made causes, and expand forest coverage to reach 2,000 hectares -- exactly the same goal of the NGP.
In the process of doing those things, upland dwellers, or the people who are dependent on the forests for their survival and livelihood, would be empowered, capacitated, and be guided accordingly as the program, both the REDD+++ and the NGP, unfolds, especially the people’s organizations linked with the DENR.
“The 18 people’s organizations spread across the province who have tenurial rights In the timberland areas were already raising endemic tree seedlings which the government will buy at P 12.oo apiece preparatory for the massive NGP-driven tree planting soon,” Tomol said in an interview.
Vince Delector, the Senior Coordinator of GIZ in the province, confirmed that his office has been laying the groundwork, interacting with local communities for the REDD+++ program, in close coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in the central, regional, and provincial office, as well as with the provincial government.
He said the NGP will be a big help to the REDD concept especially in extending its coverage from the existing 500 hectares of virgin forests to 2,000 hectares, adding that the areas from Silago to Maasin were selected for continuity, easy to spot in a solid mass on a map.
Presently, the REDD project focused on computing just how much capacity for carbon absorption the province’s forests can be capable of doing.
Trees remove greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere and store them in their wood, roots, and soil, and are essential for a stable climate, according to a GIZ literature. Forests are capable of carbon dioxide sequestration, but when these forests are destroyed, the stored carbon is released into the air and contributes to global warming and climate change.
So, specifically, the following are the success indicators of the REDD+++: Emissions avoided – 35,000 tons of fixed carbon from natural forests; Carbon sequestered -- additional 7,000 tons stored in rehabilitated natural forests and reforestation/agroforestry areas every year; 5,000 hectares natural forests protected and 2,000 species rich reforestation established; and introduced innovative elements for future REDD strategy.
With NGP working hand in hand, both the DENR and the GIZ believed the targets can be achieved. (eopt/PIA-Southern Leyte/bong)