CABANATUAN CITY, Philippines – The Philippines ranked fifth among 234 countries with the greatest reported gain in forest area annually, according to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The country increased its forest area to 240,000 hectares per year from 2010 to 2015, FAO’s 2015 Global Forest Resources Assessment reported.
Annual loss of forest cover nationwide reached almost 47,000 hectares from 2003 to 2010, the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said.
An estimated eight million hectares of land nationwide need reforestation and rehabilitation, according to the FMB.
FMB Director Ricardo Calderon said for the 2011-2015 period, reforestation through the government’s National Greening Program (NGP) covered 1,258,692 hectares of land.
“Such accomplishment is 105 percent more than the 1,200,000 hectares NGP planting target for the period, Calderon said.
The DENR launched the NGP in 2011 to reforest some 1.5 million hectares of open, denuded and degraded land nationwide.
In the forest area gain assessment, the Philippines trailed China (1.5 million hectares), Australia (308,000 hectares), Chile (301 hectares) and the US (275,000 hectares).
The assessment showed the Philippines ahead of sixth to tenth placers Gabon (200,000 hectares), Lao People’s Democratic Republic (189,000 hectares), India (178,000 hectares), Vietnam (129,000 hectares) and France (113,000 hectares).
Actual NGP reforestation coverage and corresponding percentage of accomplishment reached 128,558 hectares in 2011 (129 percent); 221,763 hectares in 2012 (110 percent); 333,160 hectares in 2013 (111 percent) and 334,302 hectares in 2014 (111 percent), the data show.
Data showed NGP reforestation already covered 240,909 hectares as of October last year, representing an 80 percent accomplishment.