The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has renewed its call for an intensified protection of the over 1.7 million-hectare forestland in Cagayan Valley.
 
"As we celebrate the International Day of Forests, let us be reminded of our roles in the restoration of these natural resources," said DENR Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan in her recent meetings in Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya.
 
During the Protected Area Management Board meetings in Tumauini and City of Ilagan in Isabela, she asked the village chiefs to be vigilant against illegal activities in the forests of the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park, Tumauini Watershed Natural Park and Fuyot Spring Natural Park.
 
“Kapag magtutulungan tayo, hindi malayong masugpo natin ang mga iligal na gawain sa ating kagubatan. Let us be role models in the conservation of our forests,” Director Bambalan said.
 
Meanwhile, in the assessment meeting for the Forestland Management Project (FMP), the environment chief asked the implementers in the provinces of Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya to improve the accomplishment of the remaining performance target as she stressed, “FMP intends to support forest restoration and well-being of the community.”
 
Through the FMP, a total of 20,493 hectares of plantations were established within the watersheds of Upper Magat and Cagayan River Basins since 2012. This is in addition to the 106,119 ha plantations established in the region under the National Greening Program.
 
This year’s theme of the International Day of Forests is “Forest Restoration: A Path to Recovery and Well-Being”.
According to the Forest Management Bureau, the celebration highlights the valuable benefits of forest restoration in terms of human health, food security, environmental and climatic conditions, provision of green jobs, stakeholder engagement, and healing.
 
Held every March 21, the global celebration aims “to raise awareness on the importance of forests to people and their vital role in poverty eradication, environmental sustainability, and food security.”
 
As part of the celebration, Director Bambalan and Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Edgar Martin led the maintenance activities at the three-hectare arboretum established within the Ecological Park ang Training Center in Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya.#