Lopez-led geothermal leader Energy Development Corporation (EDC) in collaboration with its newest BINHI partner, the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), aims to rescue and propagate more Philipine native tree species endemic to Palawan island.
With the recent signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the two above-mentioned institutions, more endangered tree species endemic to Palawan island such as the Palawan mangkono (Xanthostemon speciosus), Manggis (Koompassia excelsa) , Narig-laot (Vatica maritima) and Palawan narig (Vatica mangachapoi ssp. obtusifolia) that are on the brink of extinction are targeted to be rescued and propagated through the in-situ conservation project under the BINHI program.
BINHI, EDC’s nationwide forest restoration program and the country’s largest private sector-led greening initiative, aims to restore denuded forests, preserve and propagate threatened native tree species, and protect biodiversity to leave a legacy of a verdant Philippines for future generations.
In-situ conservation, one of the restoration processes under the BINHI program, is the process of conserving ecosystems and natural habitats and the maintenance and recovery of viable populations of species in their natural surroundings. Through this process, the BINHI team aims to rescue and propagate Palawan Narig, Narig Laot and 12 other Palawan-endemic tree species identified to be critically endangered and near extinction. The team shall also provide technical assistance and expertise to PCSD during the implementation of the project.
EDC’s Corporate Support Functions Head and Assistant Vice President Regina Victoria J. Pascual said the expanded list of tree species identified was the product of the sustained and extended partnership of EDC with the Botanical Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) for the Global Tree Assessment (GTA) project. BGCI is the secretariat of the IUCN for GTA, an organization that formulates measures for the protection of the environment through data gathering, research, field projects, advocacy, and education.
“EDC has long been an advocate of a greener environment. Our commitment to protect and nurture the environment stepped up even further as we recognize that doing less harm is not enough. We need to step up our game and be the catalyst for change towards a regenerative and decarbonized future,” Pascual said during the virtual MOA signing ceremony held via Zoom.
For its part, PCSD will identify possible locations of Palawan threatened tree species and prioritize these in any national greening program or conservation efforts. It shall also be in coordination with EDC for a possible establishment of an arboretum or tree park for the ex-situ conservation of the tree species.
“The ensuing activities from this program such as conduct of research, establishment of tree parks, advocacy campaigns and protection of palawan’s threatened and endemic tree species and their habitat are geared towards sustainable future and overall benefits of our people. There are many things to be done and there are restrictions brought about by the pandemic that will limit our actions, but we will pursue and work hard to implement this project,” said Atty. Teodoro Jose S. Matta, PCSD Executive Director.
Also part of the partnership is the kick-off webinar on 21 May in celebration of the International Day of Biodiversity Conservation. The webinar, dubbed as “Saving Palawan’s Flora” is a collaboration between EDC and its BINHI partners — Philippine Parks & Biodiversity and PCSD.
PCSD is the 190th partner of EDC to date since it started its BINHI program in 2008. It is also the fourth partner to have an in-situ project collaboration — next to the Department of Natural Resources – Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (DENR-ERDB), the Provincial Government of Zamboanga Sibugay, DENR Region IX and PH Parks and Biodiversity.
EDC’s over 1,480MW total installed capacity accounts for 20% percent of the country’s total installed RE capacity while its 1,181MW geothermal portfolio accounts for 62 percent of the country’s total installed geothermal capacity and has put the Philippines on the map as the 3rd largest geothermal producer in the world.