By Estrella Z. Gallardo
In the recently concluded National Accademy of Science and Technology( NAST)- Environmental Science Award (NESA), two finalists Mr Arsenio B. Ella of the Forest Products Research and Development Institute of the DOST and Dr. Severino G. Salmo III, assistant professor and chairperson of the Department of Environmental Science, Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) bagged the NESA
Mr. Ella presented his paper titled “Enhancing the adaptive capacity of the indigenous peoples by promoting sustainable and community-based resin tapping of Almaciga (Agathis philippinensis Warb). In selected certificate of ancestral domain title (CADT) areas in Palawan and Seirra Madre Aurora,
Dr Severino G. Salmo III , likewise presented his paper on “Assessment of vegetation and soil conditions in restored mangroves interrupted by severe tropical typhoon Chan-hom in the Philippines”.
Mr Ella said that resins from Almaciga also known as the Manila copal is an important source of income for indigenous people in Palawan and Sierra Madre where he worked with in protecting Almaciga trees from early untimely death by introducing a sustainable way of harvesting resin from the trees.
However traditional methods of resin tapping and frequent rechipping have resulted into the premature death of Almaciga trees.
Alamaciga resin is used in the manufacture of paints, varnishess, printing ink, shoe polish, floor wax, incense, caulking material for boats among others.
The Philippines is the second largest producer of the resin next to Indonesia. The country exported on average of 140,200 kilos of Almaciga resin valued at US 165,200 in 2004-2013.
Ella based on his previous studies recommends to tap only tress with a diameter at breast height of at least 40cm and the tapping point should not be more that 30cm above the ground.
Ella taught them how to cut and tap scientifically only within the bark and never beyond the bark with proper size of the cut with the proper instrument to be used in cutting and to wait after five days before tapping again.
This scientific tapping method will prolong the life of the trees and will increase their harvest from 16 percent to 33 percent per month that will result to increase income.
Dr. Salmo on the other hand advocates the protection and proper reforestation of mangrove forest for the protection of fisheries and to help lessens the impact of typhoons in coastal areas.
He pushes for the planting of the right species at the right sites to ensure that they will survive.
He recommends the planting of avicenna species on the shares as this species is mare adapted to the area and thus more resilient to typhoons.
In practice, however, rhizophora, which naturally thrive in the inner mangroves, are being used in reforestation efforts.
His recommendations are evidenced by the study he conducted in 2009 in Bani and Anda Pangisinan where the rhizophora species planted along the coasts were heavily damaged by typhoon Emong while the avicenna species survived.
A single typhoon was enough to destroy the mangrove rhizophora, how much more with around 20 typhoons in a year we have?
The winners will receive each a research grant from DOST amounting to P 1million and cash prize from NAST and the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources.(Psijourn MegaManila)