The Philip­pines’ wood in­dus­try: Putting the spot­light on in­dus­trial tree plan­ta­tions

Agriculture - - News - BY EIRENE GRACE C. ZARAGOZA

THE FU­TURE of the wood-based in­dus­tries de­pends largely on the suc­cess of in­dus­trial tree plan­ta­tions (ITPs). In the Philip­pines, the wood in­dus­try is quite vi­brant in Min­danao, es­pe­cially the CARAGA Re­gion, which is dubbed the “Tim­ber Cor­ri­dor” of the coun­try. CARAGA is con­sid­ered the lead­ing pro­ducer of tim­ber in the coun­try. It cov­ers 684,503 hectares (ha) of for­est lands in Agu­san del Sur, Agu­san del Norte, Suri­gao del Sur, and Suri­gao del Norte. Dur­ing the last 15 years, the ex­trac­tion of wood from the nat­u­ral forests has been grad­u­ally reg­u­lated un­til it was even­tu­ally banned in 2010 due to the in­dis­crim­i­nate il­le­gal log­ging ac­tiv­i­ties in the up­lands. Thus, the lo­cal sources of the coun­try’s wood­based in­dus­tries are now to­tally de­pen­dent on plan­ta­tion tim­ber. How­ever, the gov­ern­ment still al­lows the im­por­ta­tion of logs and lum­ber from other coun­tries to ad­dress do­mes­tic wood re­quire­ments.

The wood in­dus­try re­quires ap­prox­i­mately 2 mil­lion (M) cu­bic me­ters (m3) based on three-year av­er­age con­sump­tion (PWPA, 2010), but to date, the coun­try pro­duces only 1.34M m3, of which 740,000 m3 come from com­mer­cial plan­ta­tions in var­i­ous re­gions.

Other prob­lems faced by the Philip­pines’ wood in­dus­try in­clude in­suf­fi­cient sources of cer­ti­fied seeds and qual­ity plant­ing ma­te­ri­als (fal­cate and ye­mane); low field sur­vival rate be­cause of the ab­sence of man­age­ment in­ter­ven­tion af­ter field plant­ing; lack of in­ter­ven­tions on the use of wood wastes for other high-value prod­ucts; and in­com­plete in­for­ma­tion on sup­ply and de­mand for ITPs.

To ad­dress these gaps, the Philip­pine Coun­cil for Agri­cul­ture, Aquatic and Nat­u­ral Re­sources Re­search and De­vel­op­ment (PCAARRD) of the Depart­ment of Sci­ence and Technology has come up with strate­gies that will fo­cus on pro­duc­ing high-qual­ity seeds and plant­ing ma­te­ri­als as well as the im­prove­ment of the ITP’s vari­able yield through the In­dus­try Strate­gic S&T Plans (ISP) on ITP.

The PCAARRD es­tab­lished a re­search pro­gram on ITP cov­er­ing four ma­jor fast-grow­ing tree species: fal­cate (Parase­ri­anthes fal­cataria), mangium (Aca­cia mangium Willd.), bagras (Eu­ca­lyp­tus deglupta Blume), and ye­mane (Gmelina ar­borea Roxb.). This pro­gram is in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Uni­ver­sity of the Philip­pines Los Baños-Col­lege of Forestry and Nat­u­ral Re­sources (UPLB-CFNR), the DOSTFor­est Prod­ucts Re­search and De­vel­op­ment In­sti­tute (FPRDI), and the Ecosys­tems Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Bureau-Ecosys­tems Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Ser­vice (ERDB-ERDS), along with the ERDS of CARAGA Re­gion.

The ITP pro­gram, ti­tled “Ac­tion Pro­gram on the Es­tab­lish­ment of Com­mer­cial Plan­ta­tions and Ef­fi­cient Uti­liza­tion of the Wood Prod­ucts

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