Philippines: The country’s first Assisted Natural Regeneration town (ANR)

At the crack of dawn, volunteer-residents of San Miguel, Danao town
are busy “unearthing” young tree seedlings and other species of flora
and fauna buried under the thick cogon jungle in the grasslands of
Bohol province. Barangay San Miguel, Danao is the country’s first
Assisted Natural Regeneration town (ANR), a success story that is.
“This is not a new technology.

It has successfully restored forests in
Sabah, Malaysia. We can actually bring our forests back,” Pat Dugan,
senior forestry expert and president of Bagong Pagasa Foundation,
said. The ANR is a viable means of restoring biodiversity in forest
rehabilitation, and helps speed up the growth of young tree seedlings
by pressing down pesky cogon grasses to expose them to sunlight and
other nature’s growth stimuli, instead of lying dormant under a carpet
of grasses, such as the ever-present Imperata cylindrica, more
commonly known as cogon, Neria Andin, FMB Assistant Director, said.
Cogon and talahib or boho grasses are young forests’ mortal enemies,
due to the vulnerability both to intentional and accidental fires. In
2007, the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO),
Forest Management Bureau-Department Of Environment and Natural
Resources and the Bagong Pag-Asa Foundation, Inc. initiated ANR in
Bohol. It is now being eyed as one of the options to preserve the
country’s vibrant vegetation and rare animal inhabitants. Around the
world today, especially in the tropics, deforestation has become one
of the most serious threats to biodiversity conservation, livelihood
systems, ecosystem functions, peoples’ welfare and sustainable
development. FAO said that on average, the global figure of
deforestation has been 14.6 million hectares per year between 1990 and

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