Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Veco to plant one million trees in five years

Veco to plant one million trees in five years
By Jessica Ann R. Pareja
The Freeman
May 17, 2010

The Visayan Electric Company, Inc. has promised to plant one million trees for the next five years as part of its extended corporate social responsibility for environment protection and conservation.

The utility firm, in partnership with the Philippine Business for Social Progress, Philippine National Police, Reserve Officers Training Corps, yesterday, started planting mangroves at the NAVFORCEN base in Barangay Canjulao, Lapu-Lapu City.

Around 20,000 mangrove propagules were planted within the 44-hectare mangrove and waste water area of the navy base.

PBSP program coordinator Riva Valles said that they are going to cover one hectare of mangrove area of the base for the 100,000 mangrove propagules target. The rest of the 900,000 trees to be planted will be in the upland.

Ethel Natera, Veco's corporate communications officer, said that they choose to allocate a portion of their commitment to plant one million trees to planting mangroves because of its various benefits.

"We chose mangrove because dali ra sya mutubo, in just a year, dako na sya. It also serves as food and nursery to various marine organisms like fish, crabs, shrimps, etcetera," Natera said.

Veco funded the project for P17 million which shall be spent for the conduct of series of tree planting activities in various viable places in Cebu as well as the aftercare for these trees and mangroves.

Valles said that after planting, the area will be secured against those who will  try to harvest and destroy it. They will be hiring ordinary fisherfolks in the area to take care of the propagules all year round.

Veco and PBSP's partnership was sealed last March and shall terminate in five years after achieving the one million trees target.

Mangrove is a type of forest growing along tidal mudflats and shallow water coastal areas extending inland along rivers, streams and their tributaries where the water is generally brackish, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Its existence in the ecosystem bears importance because it provides nursery grounds for fish, prawns and crabs, and support fisheries production in coastal waters.

Mangrove also protects the environment by protecting coastal areas and communities from storm surges, waves, tidal currents and typhoons. It produces organic biomass or carbon and reduces organic pollution in near shore areas by trapping or absorbing green house gases.

Mangroves contribute 1,800-4,200 grams of carbon per square meter per year which is approximately the contribution of the tropical rain forest and 10 times higher than primary production in the open ocean.

According to DENR 1995 statistics, convertion to fishponds, prawn farms, salt ponds, reclamation and other forms of industrial development has reduced the mangrove area to 117,700 hectares.