The first private sector-initiated carbon-sink and urban forestry project in Misamis Oriental has so far grown at least 240,000 endemic trees in the last five years.

The project, initiated by the STEAG State Power Inc. (SPI), has so far covered 400 hectares of land.

The carbon-sink project of STEAG aims to establish at least 500 hectares of new forest while maintaining and protecting an existing 500-hectare tree plantation.  It also aims to conduct timber-stand improvement on an existing 200-hectare natural forest.

The project involves seedling propagation to cover an estimated aggregate area of 1,000 hectares within STEAG’s host communities in the municipalities of Tagoloan and Villanueva.

“The benefits of this project are far reaching. Aside from improving biodiversity and sustaining water supply, good forest covers prevent soil erosion and avert catastrophic floods,” STEAG environment officer Francis Libao said.

Libao said these projects are part of the company’s commitment to a global campaign to protect the environment.

He also urged the private sector to be aggressive in protecting forests, as well as implement no-nonsense development projects that protect the environment.

STEAG’s carbon-sink and urban reforestation projects are partly being implemented inside the 1,200-hectare Mapawa reforestation project in barangay Cugman here.

Environmental Management Bureau director Sabdullah Abubacar cited the Mapawa reforestation project as a model for the private-public partnership in forest conservation and development.

The Mapawa reforestation project is being implemented in partnershipwith E. Pelaez Ranch Inc. and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Northern Mindanao.

Abubacar also urged the private sector to be more involved in environmental conservation and not just comply with environmental standards. He also said the private sector must undertake proactive initiatives in the protection of the environment for sustainable development.

SPI is a special-purpose company created to operate the Mindanao power plant in the Phividec industrial estate in Villanueva-Tagoloan municipalities.

SPI is majority owned by Evonik Steag GmbH, which is part of the German conglomerate Evonik Industries AG based in Essen, Germany.

Evonik is a creative industrial group with business operations in over 100 countries around the world.

It is a global leader in specialty chemicals, an expert in power generation, and one of the largest private residential real-estate companies in Germany.

STEAG, which is Evonik’s Energy Business Area, is Germany’s fifth- largest power producer. It specializes in the production of electricity from coal and renewable sources. As a full-service provider, it focuses on engineering and consulting skills in the design, building and operation of ultramodern power plants worldwide.

With more than 70 years’ experience in the power industry, it has developed over the years into an international independent power producer.

It employs a work force of about 4,600 in its 66 business locations in 10 countries worldwide, namely, Germany, Turkey, the Philippines, Colombia, Poland, Singapore, India, the US, Brazil and Nigeria.  It generates a combined sales revenue of €2.574 billion.

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