Expansion of rainforestation initiatives

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(From left) Eric Buduan, senior program officer of PTFCF; Beechie de la Paz, chief operating officer of Haribon Foundation; Lyra Chu, Rain Forest Restoration Initiative Technical Officer; Ruth Canlas, executive director of NTFP-EP Philippines; Thaddeus Martinez, ROAD to 2020 Program coordinator of Haribon; and Malou Laluan, PTFCF coordinator for the NGP

(From left) Eric Buduan, senior program officer of PTFCF; Beechie de la Paz, chief operating officer of Haribon Foundation; Lyra Chu, Rain Forest Restoration Initiative Technical Officer; Ruth Canlas, executive director of NTFP-EP Philippines; Thaddeus Martinez, ROAD to 2020 Program coordinator of Haribon; and Malou Laluan, PTFCF coordinator for the NGP

Encouraging a society that embraces the use of native trees species for ecological integrity, the Rain Forest Restoration Initiative (RFRI) is a network of professionals and advocates that work together to advance rainforestation in the Philippines. Through this strategy, RFRI aims to rehabilitate degraded landscapes and restore key ecosystem services and functions while providing forest-dependent communities an alternative source of livelihood.

RFRI was established during Haribon Foundation’s National Consultation on Rainforestation in 2005, in which the Rainforestation Organizations and Advocates or ROAD to 2020 Campaign was also formed. It set a a goal of reforesting one million hectares with native species by year 2020.

Since 2012, the Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation (PTFCF), an RFRI member, provided funds to support awareness-raising activities on rainforestation. For the third year of implementation for this cooperation, Haribon serves as project holder and now takes the reins from the Non-Timber Forest Products- Exchange Program (NTFP-EP) Philippines who steered the network since 2012 as convenor.

In August, an inception meeting was held at the PTFCF office for RFRI’s third and last year of operations under a three-year commitment. There, it was shared that for 2016, RFRI will develop its Research Agenda. This will advance the study of native species in the country after the National Greening Program (NGP) CSO-DENR Joint Monitoring Activity result has been presented.

Also, the network will be enhancing the skills and technical capabilities of practitioners thru conducting nationwide technical roadshows, which serve as a venue to gather the best practices, knowledge, and experiences on the ground.

In addition, RFRI will be selecting winner/s for the Leonard Co Award, which aims to recognize the efforts of rainforestation practitioners and their contribution to Philippine biodiversity.

These activities will not only strengthen the current individual initiatives of RFRI members, but will encourage other communities, organizations, and agencies to join in using and propagating native trees for forest restoration in order to reverse the widespread damage of forest ecosystems in the Philippines.

Executive Director of NTFP-EP Philippines Ruth Canlas (right) officially transfers the RFRI Files and Certificate of Convenorship to Haribon Foundation Chief Operating Officer Maria Belinda de la Paz PHOTOS COURTESY OF PTFCF

Executive Director of NTFP-EP Philippines Ruth Canlas (right) officially transfers the RFRI Files and Certificate of Convenorship to Haribon Foundation Chief Operating Officer Maria Belinda de la Paz PHOTOS COURTESY OF PTFCF

To conclude the meeting, the project convenorship was officially transferred by Ruth Canlas, executive director of NTFP-EP Philippines, to Haribon Chief Operating Officer Maria Belinda de la Paz.

The executive director of PTFCF, Jose Andres Canivel was also present during the simple ceremony and expressed his support in the project saying, “We’ve seen a more dynamic RFRI network these past couple of years under the leadership of NTFP-EP Philippines. At the same time, we look forward to better mainstreaming efforts on rainforestation with Haribon Foundation as the new convenor.”

Haribon, a founding member of RFRI, is pleased to perform its new role in RFRI. Other members include: Institute of Tropical Ecology-Visayas State University (ITE-VSU), Environmental Leadership and Training Initiative (ELTI), Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation (PTFCF), Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE), National Power Corporation (NPC), Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF), Philippine Federation for Environmental Concern (PFEC), University of the Philippines Los Baños-College of Forestry and Natural Resources (ULPB-CFNR), Philippine Native Plant Conservation Society, Inc. (PNPCSI), Non-Timber Forest Products- Exchange Program Philippines (NTFP Philippines), REINA Federation of Parents Associations, Inc., and Earth Day Network Philippines, Inc. (EDNPI).

For more information on RFRI, visit www.rainforestation.ph.

Act. Make an Impact. Support Haribon. To join Haribon’s Adopt-A-Seedling, Nurture-A-Seedling programs, and Tree Planting Activities, call 421-1209 or e-mail act@haribon.org.ph.

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