Philippine Standard Time
DOST-PCAARRD’s Forestry and Environment Research Division staff with industry experts Dr. Guillermo Mendoza, Dr. Ramon Razal, Dr. Florentino Tesoro, and Dr. Enrique Tolentino Jr.

DOST-PCAARRD set to welcome more revitalized R&D agenda for Forestry, Environment, and Natural Resources sector

The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD), through its Forestry and Environment Research Division (FERD), initiated a consultation meeting with forestry and environment experts, providing insights and R&D suggestions for further developments in the industry.

Consultants in attendance were established personalities in the field namely: Dr. Florentino O. Tesoro, President, Philippine Bamboo Society of Advocates Inc. (PBSAI); Dr. Ramon A. Razal, Professor Emeritus, University of the Philippines Los Banos-College of Forestry and Natural Resources (UPLB-CFNR); Dr. Enrique L. Tolentino, Jr., Professor, UPLB-CFNR-Institute of Renewable Natural Resources (IRNR); and Dr. Guillermo A. Mendoza, Balik Scientist, DOST.

The consultation meeting held on April 3, 2023, aimed to address current issues and concerns in the forestry and environment sector and sectoral gaps that can be addressed by research and development (R&D) intervention. It also served as an avenue to assess and review existing projects and programs monitored by the Council.

The industry experts  discussed the accomplishments, alongside different challenges, and recommended ways to address them to further improve the programs.

the current challenges of the Industry Strategic S&T Plan (ISP) for Bamboo involved lack of readily available quality planting materials, information on bamboo ecology research, and proper consolidation and promotion of project outputs. To address these, Dr. Tesoro suggested continuing the R&D projects on tissue culture, conducting a project on literature review on bamboo ecology, and endorsing R&D projects that would facilitate dissemination of information and technologies.

Potential intervention with the National Greening Program (NGP) was raised for the ISP on Cacao. Ongoing projects being monitored by the Council are focused primarily on quality planting materials and cacao insect pests and diseases. Meanwhile, ISP for Rubber’s primary concern is the price instability, which is usually dependent on the neighboring Malaysian standards.

Challenges of the Industrial Tree Plantation (ITP) ISP, include production inefficiency, quality planting material production systems, inadequate information on tree disease identification and management, lack of technology for value-added products, and policy inconsistency. The need for organized government assistance, livelihood programs, and improved marketing systems and communication strategies were also raised. In the absence of a national roadmap for ITP, the existing ITP framework with inter-institutional coordination was agreed to be used.

The Science and Technology (S&T) Program for Biodiversity discussed concerns such as standardizing the criteria for classification of key biodiversity areas (KBAs) and the impact of new species discovery on local communities. For future endeavors, developing a model derived from the Nagoya protocol and initiating more entrepreneurial projects, as well as those based on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources' (DENR) Lawin Project were recommended.

Recommendations for the S&T program on Climate Change include development and conceptualization of a model requiring more intensive private sector involvement that could lead to multisectoral resilience of vulnerable communities and ecosystems. Lastly, for the Watershed S&T Program, the experts suggested conducting economic assessment, evaluating water quality and its impact, and further examining parameters for river basins and watersheds following the ridge to reef approach in development planning and management.

With the comprehensive and collaborative discussion, FERD is set to welcome another productive era of empowering research and industry partners and ultimately, the national capabilities through R&D initiatives in forestry and environment research.