To address the challenges in large-scale tree plantations and log production, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) has funded several projects to instill science and technology (S and T) into these activities.
One of PCAARRD’s commitment is providing science-based know-how and tools that would help the agriculture sector raise productivity.
Basically, seeds would be collected from mother trees with good form and growth traits. Then these would be marketed to tree farmers through the Mindanao Tree Seed Center (MTSC). According to DOST, active promotion on the use of these seeds was achieved through extension works and demonstration farms in local farmers’ land.
The agency cited that this activity resulted to better seed germination, higher seedling survival, faster growth, and resistance to pests and diseases.
It added that selection of superior genetic materials of yemane and falcata have started recently. The DOST described that yemane is valued by the furniture industry, while falcata is widely used by veneer and plywood industries.
According to DOST, in 2013,t he value of yemane log trade was estimated at USD 24 million, and falcata was valued approximately USD 115 million.
Within the next three years, seed collection of yemane and falcate will be done, and field trials will be established.
The target plantation sites for these trials are in Northern Philippines for yemane and in Southern Philippines for falcata, to further assess the performance of various seed sources.
Meanwhile, to further boost local seed sources, project implementers plan for a seed exchange scheme with native sources of yemane and falcate. For the yemane seeds, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Yunnan and Guangxi provinces in China will be the source. Falcata seeds, meanwhile, will come from Moluccas, Papua New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago and the Solomon Islands.
The DOST noted that the genetic population structure and diversity of yemane and falcata will be studied simultaneously. This will help guide tree breeders on yemane and falcata’s genetic extent. Moreover, subsequent gene-trait studies will improve the selection intensity of the species, the agency added.
Established field trials may be converted in as seedling seed orchards after the removal of inferior tree families. This will subsequently increase the level of improvement in the genetic quality of the seeds that could be marketed in outlets like the MTSC or future seed centers in Luzon and Visayas, the DOST highlighted.
With proper plantation site selection and intensive plantation cultural management, tree farmers can expect increase in wood yields and improvement in wood quality
The DOST is hopeful that the country will improve in establishing large-scale tree plantations with high wood productivity and high quality. (PNA)