Project use S&T to improve watershed resilience, protect against fire hazards

Maguey nursery site assessment in Brgy. Bobok-Bisal, Bokod, and Brgy. Daclan, Tublay in Benguet Province (Image credit: For. Rhandy S. Tubal, ERDB-WWRRDEC)

A government project will improve watershed resilience from climate change and ensure protection against fire hazards in Bokod and Tublay, Benguet province using Maguey (Agave cantala) as greenbelt.

It will also provide more livelihood opportunities in the province through the production of crafts using Maguey fiber.

The project, “S&T Action Frontline for Emergencies and Hazards (SAFE) for Forest Fire Hazard in the Watersheds in Bokod and Tublay, Benguet Province Using Maguey (Agave cantala) as Greenbelt” was initiated and being implemented by the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau – Watershed and Water Resources Research Development and Extension Center (ERDB-WWRRDEC) and funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).

Survey and collection of Maguey planting stocks (Image credit: For. Rhandy S. Tubal, ERDB-WWRRDEC)

On its first year, the project will be implemented in Brgy. Daclan, Tublay, and Brgy. Bobok-Bisal, Bokod in Benguet Province, since the Benguet Pine Seed Production Areas (SPAs) strategically lie in these Barangays. The explicit establishment of the perimeter Maguey greenbelts within the SPAs is a promising technology to protect the seed sources of quality planting stocks for afforestation and reforestation purposes.

Apart from maintaining and protecting the greenbelt, the second year of implementation will encourage local government units’ (LGUs) partnership with the communities in strengthening the policies on forest fire management. During the project’s final year, livelihood opportunities will be increased through fiber craft production in the target areas.

Various Farmers’ Organizations, Municipal Environmental and Natural Resources Offices (MENROs), Sangguniang Barangay Committee on Environment, and Barangay LGUs fully support the initiative. The partners’ commitment towards achieving the project’s objectives was fortified through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between ERDB-WWRRDEC and the host Municipal LGU/Barangay LGU.

Conduct of training on Maguey Production and Greenbelt Establishment, and Forest Fire Prevention and Control (Image credit: For. Rhandy S. Tubal, ERDB-WWRRDEC)

On May 10, 2021, the DOST-PCAARRD through the Technology Transfer and Promotion Division (TTPD) convened a virtual inception meeting to discuss the DOST-PCAARRD GIA Guidelines and other administrative aspects related to the project. The Project Team headed by For. Rhandy S. Tubal of ERDB-WWRRDEC, presented the project details, deliverables, work plan, and initial accomplishments of the project.

Initial accomplishments of the project include: the survey and collection of Maguey bulbils, training of host communities on Maguey production, Greenbelt establishment, and forest fire prevention and control. A strategic planning was also conducted to define the respective roles of the partner LGUs in attaining the targets for nursery construction, Maguey planting stock production, greenbelt establishment, and capability building activities (Engelbert R. Lalican, Gerlie Joy N. Gutierrez, DOST-PCAARRD S&T Media Services).