The Philippines is very rich in natural resources. Biodiversity is one of the hallmarks of all its major ecosystems- upland, lowland, and coastal. Yet these ecosystems are surely being degraded at an alarming rate.
The total area of the forest land of our country is 5.7 million hectares. It is not yet included to the 50% of the country’s total land area. It is said that 1/4 of the total land is compose of the commercial forest which has 3,500 varieties of trees. Some of the trees that are included to nation’s forest are dipterocarps, such as yakal, apitong, tangile, mayapis and guijo. These are called Philippine Mahogany. In Visayas, 26.4% of the total land area is forest. It is seen in Leyte, Panay, and Samar.
According to Flor and Ongkiko (1998), in the past 50 years, 70% of our primary forests have been logged over. Our agricultural lands are rapidly being transformed into industrial parks and residential subdivision, this loss of arable land poses not only environmental problem but food security problem as well.
Over the years, our country has been very determined to bring back the prosperity of its forests. There are many development oriented organizations that influence responsible forest conservation and management. One of these is the Clonal Nursery of the National Greening Program of Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Clonal Nursery is a propagation technique which produces high-quality planting materials of dipterocarps and other species that have problems with natural regeneration. It is also considered as more economical and simple rather than the conventional way of planting. In addition, it has been proven the most effective practical propagation technique for the root cuttings of most Philippine dipterocarps in absence of seeds. Production of cloned seedlings can be done anytime of the year and can produce any volume of seedlings. And clonal seedlings are used in order to help meet the growing wood and forest-based needs of the country.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (2013) implemented Clonal Nursery in order to produce quality planting materials for reforestation and for their greening programs, to have available seedlings for distribution, establish and maintain a hedge garden for continuous source of quality planting materials, to produce sprouted cuttings from various indigenous, exotic and flowering tree species and conduct built-in researches with respect to the propagation aspect of growing various indigenous, exotic and flowering tree species.
Clonal Technology are in two types, first is the Mist Clonal Nursery wherein the cuttings are put in a elevated bed in a chamber bed provided by water from a sprinkled technology. And the other one is the Non-mist Clonal Nursery wherein the cuttings grow from their own moist. Therefore, they are not watered since they are put in a hiko tray and covered with a plastic.
One of the youngest Clonal Nursery in Region VI is found in Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo. They have a 0.5 hectare Non-mist Clonal Nursery with 5 long chamber beds wherein each bed could accommodate 1, 850 seedlings. But there are still beds which are under construction. They have operated since 2012 and had cloned 2, 357 Deptirocarps and Indigenous tree species.
According to Arlene Joy Encanto, Forest Technician of the DENR-Barotac Nuevo Clonal Nursery emphasized using Clonal Technology is more advantageous than the conventional way of planting. Seedlings raised in clonal nurseries are of better quality because they are derived from select, quality mother trees. For instance, the deptirocarps species which is a slow growing type of tree when planted conventionally could last for almost 17 years while when it is put in a Clonal Nursery it can grow for only 4-6 months and 4-3 months for the Indigenous tree species.
Encanto also added that using the Mist Clonal Nursery they have been able to cloned the following species: Saplungan, 63; White Lauan, 13; Narra, 45; Tuai, 1,670; Bagalunga, 561; Almaciga, 5. And those seedlings are still in the Regional Cloning Garden for they are being prepared for the transplanting in the respective National Greening Project (NGP) Sites of DENR-VI probably this year. NGP sites are those degraded forest land who are greatly in need to be reforest and that include Lambunao, San Joaquin, Miag-ao and Barotac Viejo in the province of Iloilo.
They have also tried to use Non-mist Clonal Nursery for experimentation, research and trial and error purposes. At present they have stop the operation of this Non-mist Clonal Nursery and focuses to Mist.
DENR defines Deptirocarps as a group of forest tree species known for their large-sized timber and superior wood quality. Because of these characteristics, deptirocarps are the most economically-important group of timber species.
Since dipterocarps are indigenous in the Philippines, only a few species of insects and diseases are identified to affect them. Thus, enrichment planting of these species in inadequately-stocked residual forests is highly recommended to restore and maintain stability in the forest ecosystem. That is why most Clonal Nurseries prefer to clone this kind of forest tree.
In general, the following deptirocarps species are commonly used for cloning here in the Region: Guijo, Gisok-gisok, Palosapis, Dagang, White Lauan, Dalingding, Mayapis, Saplungan, Bagtikan, Tanguile, Apitong, Almon, and Hagkhak.
DENR-Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau, 2003 identified the following processes in order to achieve the production of mist and non-mist clonal planting materials for dipterocarps and indigenous tree species:
(1) Select mother trees from Seed Production Areas (SPAs), plantations or virgin forests.
(2) Collect Vegetative materials, seeds or wildlings.
(3) Raise stock plants.
(4) Establish a hedge garden or a clonal multiplication area.
(5) Collect young shoots and place them in a transparent plastic bag with a small amount of water.
(6) In the nursery, place them in a pail with water and trim-off their leaves.
(7) Cut them into two-nodal cuttings.
(8) Sterilize them by soaking in fungicide solution for 30-60 minutes.
(9) Scrape the basal portion of the cutting.
(10) Immediately treat them with rooting hormone using the recommended concentration.
(11) For the Clonal Non-mist, plant the treated cuttings in a hiko tray and for the Clonal Mist use an elevated bed with sterilized rooting medium.
(12) Place the tray inside the non-mist propagation chamber and keep air-tight for 2-4 months, since mist are put in an elevated bed, technically they are place already in the mist chamber.
(13) Once rooted, harvest them and dip into water to gently remove the soil from the roots.
(14) Plant each in a plastic pot with a mixture of garden soil and river sand.
(15) Put them back in the enclosed chamber for a week of recovery and gradually open in the succeeding three weeks.
(16) Transfer them inside the hardening area for 4-8 months.
(17) Out plant as enrichment crops in critical watersheds and inadequately stocked second-growth forests.
(18) Establish a clonal bank for clonal test.
Since Barotac Nuevo is using Mist Clonal Nursery, they also depend on what time they would water the plants. For example, when the weather is hot, they watered the seedlings every 4 hours and every 6 hours when it is raining. They also see to it that the Clonal Nursery inside should have 27 Degree Celsius.
In addition, Encanto added that in planting seedlings to their Clonal Nursery, they use two Soil Mediums. It must be 50% Coco coir dust mixed with 50% Fine river sand.
They also get their mother seedlings from Seed Production Area (SPAs) that can be found at the forests of Negros Occidental and Leon, Iloilo which is also owned by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-VI.
Encanto also explains that after they have get their mother seedlings to respective Seed Production Area (SPAs) , then it is transplanted to the Hedge Garden which is commonly found near the Clonal Nursery. Then after a year, they get the cuttings from the Hedge Garden which will be prepared for the cloning process at the Non-Mist Clonal Nursery. After months of cloning, they are then transferred to the Recovery Bed and again after a year, it is still put to the Rearing Shed wherein the cloned seedlings are need to be exposed in the sunlight in order for them to measure their survival before planting it to the National Greening Project Sites.
Aside from the Clonal Nursery in the Barotac Neuvo, Iloilo, there are also currently two clonal nurseries situated in the provinces of Brgy. Jawili,Tangalan, Aklan which is a Non-mist Clonal Nursery and operated in the year 2010 and; Brgy. Alangilan, Bacolod City in Negros Occidental is also a Non-mist Clonal Nursery who has the longest operation since June 2002.
DENR has also proposed this Clonal Technology to some State Universities in the Region which includes the Aklan State University-College of Forestry and West Visayas State University-College of Agriculture and Forestry, Lambunao Campus to raise quality native seedlings to augment the need for the National Greening Program (NGP).
Barotac Nuevo’s Clonal Nursery is aiming to successfully clone hundreds of thousands of seedlings in order to attain the country’s advocacy for sustainable forest management.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau. (2003). Non-mist Clonal Multiplication of Dipterocarps. College 4031, Laguna, Philippines.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Office of the Regional Clonal Nursery. Poblacion, Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo.
Flor, Alexander G., and Ongkiko, Ila Virginia. (1998). Introduction to Development Communication. UP Open University: Quezon, City.