Mindanao tree planting program attempts world record

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Mindanawons will try to break the Guinness world record for most trees planted simultaneously at multiple locations on September 26, 2014 – a world record-breaking attempt that will mobilize 185,440 people who will give a shot at planting 4,636,000 trees at various sites covering a total area of 9,200 hectares within the island-region.

Co-organized by the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Interior and Local Government, the world record attempt is designed to entice massive participation by various stakeholders and sectors in efforts to hit the Mindanao target for the National Greening Program (NGP).

Dubbed as “TreeVolution: Greening MindaNOW,” the Guinness world record attempt will combine the efforts of DENR’s NGP and MinDA’s MindaNOW! Nurturing Our Waters Program, which aim to plant trees in 690,815 hectares and reach at least 30 percent forest cover as envisioned in the Mindanao 2020 Peace and Development Framework Plan or Mindanao 2020.

The current world record for the most number of trees planted simultaneously at multiple locations was achieved in India on August 15, 2011, which hit the record of planting of 1,945,535 trees. The world record was carried out by 340,200 participants across 408 locations.

“We encourage every Mindanawon to participate in this endeavor, which will not only elevate the island-region as a Guinness world record holder, but more importantly will also provide the constituents the opportunity to be part of the larger efforts to reforest Mindanao,” said MinDA Chair Luwalhati Antonino.

She added that should Mindanao be successful in this attempt, this would become the country’s second Guinness world record in the tree-planting category.

The country’s first Guinness world record for most trees planted simultaneously (single site) was achieved in Camarines Sur on February 23, 2011. In breaking the world record, 6,893 participants actively took part in the activity and planted 64,096 trees in a 32-hectare area.

“This looks like an insurmountable task, but with a well-planned and synchronized mobilization, coordination, and information campaign, there is no doubt that Mindanawons can carry out this challenge,” added Antonino.

Part of the guidelines in breaking the Guinness world record requires the simultaneous planting of trees in exactly one hour. A pre-registration must be conducted to ensure the correct number of participants, while an official head count of the number of trees planted must also be documented in writing.

Digging machinery cannot be used during the planting, and actual digging of plots must take place at the time of planting, not prior to the attempt.

“One of the main goals of this Guinness attempt is to showcase collaborative efforts in Mindanao, particularly on the island-region’s greening efforts,” said Joselin Marcus Fragada, DENR XI regional director.

The activity is also part of the long-term campaign by DENR and MinDA’s MindaNOW! Program to instill among Mindanawons the consciousness towards ecological integrity as climate change adaptation.

He added that in order to break the record, DENR, MinDA, and its partner agencies will mobilize all of their employees, as well as the people’s organizations, academe, national government agencies, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, business sector, and religious groups to participate in the attempt.

“We are practically encouraging almost every Mindanawon to be part of this endeavor, which we hope would solicit a greater public participation and appreciation on the government’s efforts in growing back some of the forests of Mindanao,” said Fragada.

Part of the guidelines however requires that participants to the attempt must be at least 17 years of age. Interested parties may coordinate with their local DENR offices or their local government units.

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