NOW that it’s rainy season, some 9.2 million seedlings will be made available by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 this month for planting in areas identified as pilot sites for the National Greening Program (NGP).

The seedlings consist of various tree species indigenous to the country such as narra, molave and mamalis.

DENR 7 Executive Director Isabelo Montejo said that with the mild El Niño now ending, it’s high time to plant the seedlings and focus on, adding that they will now shift from seedling production to tree growing.

The 9 million seedlings ready for planting will represent around 83 percent of the region’s NGP target of 11 million seedlings.

Based on DENR’s seedling production inventory as of June 6, there are 4.1 million seedlings available for narra, mamalis and molave; 628,439 seedlings for mangroves; 1 million seedlings for fuel wood; 828,637 seedlings for coffee plants; 180,083 fruit tree seedlings; cacao seedlings at about 211,040 seedlings; rubber tree seedlings at about 69,605; bamboo seedlings at about 2,000 and rattan at 317,600 seedlings.

The DENR 7 is targeting to plant this year about 11 million seedlings on 18,104 hectares of forest land.

The NGP, which was initiated by President Benigno Aquino III, will focus in developing sustainable forest resource that would help accelerate the national greening campaign and rejuvenate rural economies in chronically poor areas in different parts of the nation.

Targeting to green about 1.5 million hectares of degraded forest lands, the NGP will ultimately provide livelihood opportunities for some six million families within six years from 2011 to 2016.