The suggested cutting age of falcata and yemane ranges from eight to 12 years old, but through a research by the Forest Products Research and Development Institute (FPRDI), it is now feasible to harvest falcata and yemane trees at half the usual harvesting age.
Led by Dr. Marina A. Alipon, the FPRDI project team conducted a project on anatomical, physico-mechanical and veneering properties of young-aged falcata and yemane. This project was funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).
Falcata (Falcataria moluccana (Miq.) Barneby & J W. Grimes.) is a widely cultivated fast-growing tree species in the Caraga Region. The end-use of falcata lumber is only for low construction purposes such as sash, door and panel cores, wall boards, and veneers; of which strength is not a critical requirement.
On the other hand, yemane (Gmelina arborea) is a general-purpose wood, which is used as plywood, blackboards, frame core, and cross bands of flush door shutters. Because of its lightweight stability and durability, its timber is highly valued for door and window panels, joinery, and furniture especially for drawers, wardrobes, cupboards, kitchen and camp furniture, and musical instruments.
Research results also show that wood of falcata and yemane can be utilized for uses where strength and hardness are not critical requirements. So, instead of waiting for eight to 12 years, falcata may already be harvested at four years old (with at least 16 cm diameter) and yemane at six years old (with at least 16.3 cm diameter).
According to Dr. Alipon, the key to harvesting falcata and yemane at a younger age is seed quality. Superior seeds with identified mother source can produce falcata and yemane that grow faster than usual.
The Mindanao Tree Seed Center (MTSC) supplies quality planting materials to address the need of forest production and protection. Currently, MTSC continuously produces improved and fortified forest tree seeds and develops protocols to improve quality of seeds forspecific areas such as mined-out, reforestation, and tree plantation areas through different seed quality enhancement treatments. The center is based in Maharlika, Bislig City, Surigao del Sur.
Use of young-aged falcata may be favorable economically for veneer producers, but not for tree farmers and plantation owners, as selling falcata trees with small diameters would have low selling price. With this, it is highly recommended to optimize the pricing and commercial mechanisms for a more stable economic trading, satisfying both buyers (wood processing plants) and sellers (tree farmers/plantation owners).
With the high demand of wood in the country, this may help widen the raw material base of the local wood-based industries.