Toyota ‘adopts’ Laguna, Batangas forests

Toyota Motor Philippines’ local tree-planting, mangrove-planting, and coastal and riverside clean-up activities are part of the “All Toyota Green Wave Project,” a Global Toyota initiative which was started in 2015. — PHOTO FROM TOYOTA MOTOR PHILIPPINES

TO EXPAND its “climate mitigation and biodiversity protection efforts,” Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. (TMP) “adopted” an upland forest block in Siniloan, Laguna and mangrove forests in Calatagan, Batangas.

Under the National Greening Program or NGP, TMP will sign two separate agreements with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Region IV-A CALABARZON this month to formalize the adoption of the planting sites. TMP commits to plant 41,000 tree and mangrove saplings over a span of five years — aiming for a 80% survival rate.

In the initial phase of reforestation activities, TMP mobilized groups of volunteer team members to plant 10,000 tree and 5,000 mangrove saplings in the two areas in the month of September. TMP also participated in the International Coastal Clean-up Day, turning over to the local authority 150 kilograms or 21 sacks of plastic waste collected from the Calatagan coastline.

“Toyota shares the responsibility in protecting the planet Earth and in fighting climate change in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” said TMP President Atsuhiro Okamoto, who spearheaded the simultaneous mangrove-planting and coast clean-up activities. “Global Toyota implements the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 to achieve zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and net positive environmental impact by year 2050.”

As a biodiversity conservation effort, TMP will plant native and fruit-bearing tree species in a 50-hectare area at the tail-end of Sierra Madre mountain range in Siniloan, Laguna. This area, according to University of the Philippines Los Baños, is the habitat of endemic flora and fauna such as the Philippine Hornbill, Gray’s Monitor Lizard, Civet Cat, Cave Nectar Bat, and Wax Plant species. Moreover, the Sierra Madre hosts some of the country’s oldest forests and serves as a natural barrier against typhoons with its long mountain range on the east of Luzon.

TMP also commits to plant 16,000 mangrove propagules in an eight-hectare area on the coast of Calatagan. This project extends TMP’s existing NGP planting site in Lian, Batangas where the company has already planted 30,000 mangroves since 2018. These two coastal sites are both part of the Verde Island Passage which is considered as the “Center of the Center of Marine Shorefish Biodiversity” in the world.

According to TMP Environment Manager Mark Anthony Marcelo, mangroves are a distinct part of Toyota’s climate change solution in the Philippines. “Mangroves have a high capacity to absorb CO2 as they store up to 10 times more per hectare than terrestrial forests. Mangroves also serve as a blockade against storm surges and are crucial to marine life and livelihood of coastal communities,” he said.

TMP’s local tree-planting, mangrove-planting, and coastal and riverside cleanup activities are part of the “All Toyota Green Wave Project,” a Global Toyota initiative which was started in 2015. This project connects the Toyota Network — including TMP team members, dealers and suppliers — to nature conservation activities while mitigating climate risks and supporting livelihoods of local communities in the long run.

In April 2022, TMP also adopted a 40-hectare NGP planting site in the rainforests of Maragondon, Cavite and initially planted 10,000 seedlings of native and fruit-bearing tree species.