COA Promotes Afforestation Program among Public Organizations and Private Sector
The Council of Agriculture (COA) has launched a program to plant trees on 60,000 hectares at government-owned land nationwide over the next eight years, starting February 2009.
In order to effectively implement the program and encourage public participation, the COA on May 26 introduced with immediate effect the "Management Regulations for Enterprises to Adopt Afforestation on Public Land."
Through a public tender process, the COA plans to make available 150 hectares of public land to business organizations this year and thus create a win-win situation in which the forest cover will be expanded and businesses can fulfill their corporate social responsibility.
"The main purpose of the new regulations is to encourage enterprises to voluntarily plant and grow trees on public land," said COA Vice-Minister Hu Sing-hwa.
The regulations allow for public lands to be released by administrators and adopted by business and organizations, pending approval by land management authorities, Hu added.
Business and organizations that wish to apply to adopt lands for afforestation will be required to show minimum capital or total assets amounting to NT$10 million. Considering the scale of the afforestation program, the minimum size of the plots will be 0.1 hectares.
Mr. Yen Jen-teh, director-general of the Forestry Bureau of COA, explained that if there is only one applicant for each plot, an afforestation agreement can be signed after the authorities have completed the screening process and approved the application.
However, if there are more than two applicants for each area, a panel of judges will decide on the tender.
The agreement will be effective for three years, but the parties can seek to extend the contract period depending on the results of the afforestation situation. Moreover, business and organizations willing to provide funding can enter into other types of agreements with the Bureau.
Representatives from enterprises and organizations that included Taipower, the Formosa Plastics Group, Army Infantry School, Military Academy and The Experimental Forest of National Taiwan University, all attended the COA's "i-tree" campaign press conference July 15.
During the event, both Taipower and the Army Infantry School signed agreements with the Bureau to assist with the afforestation project, in a symbol of cooperation on Taiwan's sustainable development.
The Council launched the "i-tree" campaign to give a punch to its tree-planting effort and called for business and organizations to become fully involved to share their social responsibility.
The COA estimates that if 150 hectares of public land are adopted for afforestation this year, this can help to cut carbon dioxide emissions by some 1,500 tons annually.
The Council welcome public organizations and private sector join the afforestation project so Taiwan can live up to its name "Formosa," which means beautiful island in Portuguese.