S&T support for wood-based industry

IN ORDER to provide the needed science and technology (S&T) support to tree farming and wood-based industry in the Caraga Region, the Philippine Industrial Tree Plantation Species Research and Innovation Center is expected to be established in the soonest possible time.

It will be established by the Caraga State University (CSU) with funding from the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).

The program involves the development of a geodatabase of Industrial Tree Plantations (ITPs) in the region using remote sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS).

A research team will also observe practices in the wood industry and analyze the utilization of wood wastes from tree farms in the region.

With the implementation of Executive Order No. 23 stating a moratorium on the cutting and harvesting of timber in the natural and residual forests, several wood processing enterprises (WPEs) have already closed down due to lack of provisions which can guarantee the sustainability of the tree farming-wood processing system.

Despite the closure of many WPEs, tree farming in the region continues to be strong, because some tree farmers see new opportunities that opened for wood to be used as a source of bioenergy, and for direct export to China and other countries, thus the need for an institution that looks closely into the wood industry.

PCAARRD says the ITPS Center aims to develop innovative products with potential for industrial scale production utilizing the wood wastes at the farm level and at the WPEs level and create innovative and contemporary furniture designs that fit to the demands of small spaces in condominiums and mass housing units.

The center also aims to evaluate the potential of ITPS wood in bioenergy production and improve the performance of the ITPS supply chain for policy formulation/reforms.

It was learned that training of tree farmers in innovative utilization of ITPS timber will likewise be supported by the center.

It is expected to end in 2022 with a vision to provide the scientific basis in improving the timber production-processing-marketing linkage of the ITPS and generate information on market development and other potentials of the wood industry.

In a related development, the Quirino State University recently established a clonal nursery facility as part of the project dubbed “Development of Clonal Propagation Protocols for Native Forest and Fruit-Bearing Tree Species of Quirino and Nearby Provinces.”

The project aims to construct and maintain a clonal nursery facility and a hedge garden of selected tree species for clonal propagation activities.

PCAARRD says that the members of the project staff were trained on macro-somatic clonal propagation, which also surveyed, fenced, and mapped the location of the hedge garden.

With funding from PCAARRD, the project team was able to develop a hardening nursery and hedge garden with seedlings of selected native tree species: bignai, kamagong, bani, bolong-eta, anabiong, and lubeg.

The team also collected and sterilized the rooting medium for the first four chambers used in the propagation of cloned cuttings. ([email protected]/PN)

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