September 30, 2018
The government will put up seed sources for indigenous Tamayuan tree as part of implementing the National Greening Program (NGP) as its wood has important commercial value for construction material despite dwindling supply due to ‘kaingin.’
The Ecosystems Research & Devt. Bureau (ERDB) has labeled Tamayuan as an “individual plus tree” as it is a natural forest stand.
Plus trees are eyed to be massively propagated in tree breeding as they have superior phenotype (outward appearance) and are expected to have superior genotype (collection of genes that determine traits).
The traits though have to be tested for actual performance—exceptional growth rate, high wood density, resistance to disease and insect attack, and other environmental factors (Terminology of Forest Management).
The NGP finds value in massively propagating Tamayuan as it is suitable for planting nationwide, according to ERDB Director Dr.Sofio B. Quintana.
“Management of seed sources strengthens implementation of the DENR’s (Department of Environment and Natural Resoures’) National Greening Program,” said Quintana.
Tamayuan is found in Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Isabela, Bulacan, Bataan, Laguna, Tayabas, Camarines, Sorsogon, Catanduanes, Masbate, Mindoro, and Palawan.
It also grows in Leyte, Samar, Bohol, Negros, and Panay and even in Mindanao provinces.
“It is imperative to conserve the remaining stands of this tree species for genetic diversity as well as for biodiversity,” according to ERDB Foresters Carlito R. Buante and William P. Israel.
Sustainability of this endemic tree species has been threatened by the conversion of forests into agricultural lands through the slash and burn system kaingin.
Nevertheless, an ERDB inventory showed that 277 Tamayuan trees still stand out of 1,000 individual plus trees.
“It grows well on slopes with fairly deep soil and is shade-tolerant. It is the only commercial tree species in the Philippines under the Family Olacaceae,” said Buante and Israel.
Despite massive urbanization as townsfolk crowd the metropolis, a significant 12-15 million Filipinos still depend on forests for their survival and culture.
Tamayuan is noted for standing with dipterocarps (mainly tropical lowland forest trees, a hardwood plywood source) within Mahagnao Volcano National Park in La Paz and Bureauen, Leyte.
These dipterocarp trees include tangile (205 stands), white lauan (120), mayapis (51), bagtikan (22) and other non-dipterocarp trees hindang, ulayan, malatambis, narra, and bitanghol.
“For foresters, it is a treasure trove of biodiversity and a hope for restoring a fragile yet important tropical forest cover,” said Buante and Israel.
Tamayuan grows 30 meter in height with a stem of 30 to 70 centimeters. Scientifically called Strombosia philippinensis, its wood is “moderately heavy to heavy, hard, very fine and straight grained, and durable.”
Its commercial uses are for house posts, joists, and rafters, furniture, ax handles, mining props, and railway ties.
The foresters had recommended a program for sustainable forest management for Tamayuan and other tress in Mahagnao Volcano National Park.
Indigenous tree species as Tamayuan should be used in tree planting which will give equal livelihood opportunities for indigenous people.
The foresters also advised preserving tree germplasm of Tamayuan. This and other rare endemic trees should be planted in new sites with similar characteristics (slopes, weather).
“Seed sources—seed production areas and individual plus trees—of endemic tree species are potential sources of planting materials for reforestation and forest rehabilitation. These will improve forest stand quality and structure and increase in biomass as well as wood yield,” said Buante and Israel.
People’s organizations must be formed to sustainably manage forests not only as livelihood source but as part of a conservation and germplasm storage program.
“We need to have sustained information and education support to improve forest ecosystems,” they said.(Growth Publishing for ERDB)