Assisted natural regeneration of forests
FAO supporting ANR in the Philippines
Photo: The project site in Bataan, Northern Luzon, the Philippines of the three-year FAO financed project “Advancing the application of assisted natural regeneration for effective low-cost forest restoration”.
The three-year FAO financed project “Advancing the application of assisted natural regeneration for effective low-cost forest restoration” was approved in early 2006. The overall objective of the project was to catalyze extensive application of ANR in forest rehabilitation programmes in the Philippines. The project worked with sites in three geographically dispersed regions in the Philippines: Bohol in the Visayan islands, Bataan in Luzon and Balagunan, Davao del Norte in Mindanao. The three sites were established as demonstration areas of ANR.
The project was mainly focusing on restoring degraded lands covered with Imperata cylindrica; a very aggressive and highly flammable grass. The project used the so-called pressing technique that has been shown to be an effective method to liberate desirable seedlings from competing vegetation.
The three-year project had a strong focus on technology transfer and awareness rising. As a result, three demonstration and training sites were established and hands-on ANR trainings were provided for over 200 foresters, NGO members and community representatives.
The project had a strong public awareness campaign, and attracted extensive media interest. This TCP project demonstrated that ANR can reduce the costs of reforestation by 50%, while successfully preventing fires and enhancing local biodiversity.
However, the biggest success of the project is the strong catalytic effect it had on attracting commitment from the local people, policy makers and the private sector. As a result, the Upland Development Programme of the DENR allocated 20% of the total funding of PHP 1.5 billion (approximately US$ 32 million) for supporting ANR practices on approximately 9,000 hectares. The ANR site in Balagunan, Davao del Norte received support for maintenance and expansion through the Countryside Development Assistance Fund, while the ANR site in Bohol will be expanded with support from the Japan Fund for Global Environment.
Several private companies expressed interest in supporting ANR activities. Philiex Mining and Shannalyne Inc. already signed Memorandums of Understanding with the DENR for extending the ANR pilot sites. In addition, ANR will be included as one of the selection criteria for the Best Mining Forest Program award from 2010. Probably the most innovative deal evolving as a result of the ANR project is the over-the-counter carbon trading scheme currently being negotiated between the sister-municipalities of Bohol, Danao and Makati (Metro-Manila), under which Makati will offset part of their carbon footprint by supporting forest restoration through ANR.