Rubberwood can be turned into exquisite furniture such as this center table, which won 3rd place during the 2019 Rubberwood Furniture Design Contest.

DOST-Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI) created a new project making use of a technology that brought to life Rubberwood trees (Hevea brasiliensis). Also known as deadwood, the project produced new jobs and additional income to rubber farmers of Naga in Zamboanga Sibugay.

Thru the project “Processing and Utilization of Senile and Unproductive Rubberwood Trees for the Production of High Value Furniture, Mouldings and Joineries”, the farmers were able to convert senile rubberwood trees or deadwood into high-value products such as quality home and school furniture.

“We are very grateful to DOST-FPRDI because of what we have now,” said Esperidion M. Salburo, chairman of the Tambanan Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative (TARBEMCO). Without their help, the old rubberwood trees in our community will only be used for fruit crates, pallets, and firewood. Now, we can also use them to make premium products like furniture, doors, door jambs and other builders’ woodworks that will bring in much needed income for us.”

In the last two years, DOST-FPRDI conducted a series of training for TARBEMCO members to teach them how they can maximize the use of old, unproductive rubberwood trees. Of TARBEMCO’s 298 members, 78 have already attended the DOST-FPRDI’s trainings on harvesting and sawmilling, rubberwood preservation and treatment, kiln drying, woodworking machine operation and maintenance, furniture making and basic finishing. The rubber farmers also received a complete line of processing equipment and facilities necessary for every stage of furniture production – from sawmilling to finishing. “We are now inspired to plant more rubber trees because we have realized their value,” said Chairman Salburo.

The TARBEMCO plantation currently has 210 hectares of senile rubberwood trees that can yield as much as 31,500 cubic meters of valuable lumber.