A science-based approach is being used in a project conserving indigenous forest trees in the Mt. Makiling Forest Reserve (MMFR).
The project initiated by the College of Forestry and Natural Resources of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB-CFNR), “Germplasm conservation of select indigenous forest trees in MMFR” is led by Dr. Lerma SJ. Maldia, Assistant Professor in the Department of Forest Biological Science of UPLB-CFNR.
According to Dr. Maldia, the genetic resources of a country are important assets; hence, their use and conservation must be established. Their conservation is fundamental to the sustainable and productive management of the forest ecosystem in which they occur.
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 project team was able to select and geo-tag a total of 312 mother trees of 29 species as potential sources of superior quality seeds for germplasm conservation. The phenology patterns of these species were observed. The team also collected and characterized seeds of selected species before developing the nursery that will provide quality planting materials for tree planting and reforestation activities.
More than 9,000 seedlings were also propagated and planted and more than 6,000 seedlings were distributed to various local government units (LGUs) and non-government organizations (NGOs). Another notable project output is the establishment of a field gene bank and a hedge garden in UPLB.
“In order to achieve sustainable germplasm conservation of a certain forest tree species, phenology patterns, seed and seedling characteristics, and appropriate seed technology and conservation protocols should be well-understood,” Dr. Maldia concluded.
Dr. Maldia presented the accomplishments of the project in a technology forum held at the World Trade Center in Pasay City during the 2019 National Science and Technology Week (NSTW).
Grounded on the theme, “Science for the People: Enabling Technologies for Sustainable Development,” the NSTW showcased the latest and most innovative technologies, products, know-how, tools, and services developed and funded by the Department of Science and Technology and its agencies.