FORESTLAND cover increased in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) despite continuous reports of illegal logging, kaingin activities and illegal settlers.

"Meron pong gradual increase ng forest cover dito sa Cordillera," Marlene Malicdan of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Forest Management Service reported in a recent press conference.

She attributed it to the traditional forestry practices carried out by ordinary citizens and especially the Indigenous Peoples.

"Kahit hindi tayo minamandate ng government to plant, nagtatanim tayo tsaka nagproprotect ng forests natin," she said.

According to the Cadastral Boundary Map of National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (Namria), DENR-CAR in 2010, the region has a total of 1,583,116.71 hectares land cover of forestlands.

The total land cover of forestlands in the region includes 213,557.20 hectares of broadleaved closed forest; 13,854.50 hectares of coniferous closed forest; and 25,645.13 hectares of mixed closed forest.

Some 12,557.29 hectares composed broadleaved forest plantation and 1,773.71 hectares of coniferous forest plantation.

There are also open forests with 314,401.92 hectares that are broadleaved, 148,591.72 hectares that are coniferous and 41,054.25 hectares that are mixed.

Aside from those, the land cover of forestlands includes other lands, which are built-up area, cultivated, natural barren land and natural grassland totaling 254,454.99 hectares.

Some 541,804.28 hectares are wooded lands with fallows, shrubs and wooded grasslands.

Forestlands on inland water were also noted with 15,421.73 hectares.

Among the forestland covers, Apayao has the biggest with 379,534.45 hectares followed by Abra with 288,432.77 hectares; Benguet with 243,942.94 hectares; Ifugao with 233,307.29 hectares; Kalinga with 223,709.94 hectares; and Mt. Province with 212,616.84 hectares.

Baguio City has the least forestland cover with only 1,572.48 hectares.