Clonal nursery established in Pililla, Rizal

Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI) and the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) take another step towards shaping a greener nation by cultivating seedlings through a newly-established nursery at the Shell Training Center in Pililla, Rizal.

Planting the seeds for a greener Philippines – this is the driving force behind every reforestation initiative in the country. Spurred by the same aim, Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI) and the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) take another step towards shaping a greener nation by cultivating seedlings through a newly-established nursery.

The development of a clonal nursery and bamboo propagation facility was agreed between PSFI and ERDB a year ago. Now the 1,000sqm-structure housed at the Shell Training Center in Pililla, Rizal has started operations following its inauguration on July 26, 2018. Training of technical and farm personnel was held from September 12-14, 2018.

Leading the inauguration and ceremonial ribbon cutting were Shell companies in the Philippines (SciP) Country Chairman Cesar Romero, PSFI Executive Director Edgardo Veron Cruz, and former ERDB Director Celso Diaz.

The clonal nursery has the capacity to produce up to 30,000 quality seedlings of endemic and indigenous species in one cycle – around 9 to 12 months – which is a big leap from the numbers yielded by existing infrastructures in a short period of time. This can help broaden the inventory of endemic and indigenous species which are rapidly becoming scarce in the country.

SciP Country Chairman Cesar Romero shared how the project aligns with the company’s overall agenda: “We are proud to be a partner in this project. As many of you know, we are very keen on ensuring that our planet is developed in a very sustainable way. Therefore, environmental conservation and climate change actions are high on our agenda. This project supports that overall agenda, so we see very good alignment between what Shell wants to happen and actually what our country and government want to happen.”

The development of the nursery supports Executive Order No. 193 series of 2015 titled “Expanding the Coverage of the National Greening Program” (ENGP), which targets to reforest 7.1 million hectares of unproductive, denuded and degraded forestlands nationwide between 2016 to 2028.

The project reinforces the importance of public-private collaboration in helping the country achieve its goals. ERDB provided the design of the nursery and it will also share its expertise and technical know-how to the Shell team for the successful propagation of quality seedlings.

Former ERDB Director Celso Diaz had this to say about the partnership and significance of the newly inaugurated nursery: “We have a lot of partners in the country but it is very rare for us to have a partner organization like Shell. So, why did we do this? Because our major species for reforestation are dwindling. It’s difficult to source seedlings and planting materials. With the clonal nursery, Shell can produce cloned planting materials on a mass scale and it can be made available any time of the year. This will surely address the concern on the lack of readily available planting materials.”

The bamboo propagation facility is another notable feature of the project. It targets to grow select Philippine bamboo species that can be used for bamboo plantation projects and future livelihood endeavors. “This is an initial move and what excites me also is the inclusion of bamboo propagation for two things: one, bamboo can absorb 3-4x carbon dioxide compared to other species. And also, bamboo provides plenty of livelihood opportunities,” shared PSFI Executive Director Edgardo Veron Cruz.

During the inauguration, Romero also shared how Shell has always been a champion for the environment through its roster of programs that complements the government’s efforts. He highlighted the company’s environment and biodiversity programs, including conservation of the Tubbataha Reefs, coastal cleanups, mangrove planting activities, community waste management programs around its distribution terminals nationwide, and planting of endemic and indigenous species in Mt. Banahaw, Quezon as part of its Carbon Sink Management Program.

The establishment of the clonal nursery and bamboo propagation facility signifies Shell’s commitment in partnering with the government to create a greener and more sustainable future for the Philippines.