Searca trains IPs on proper tapping of almaciga resin

  • 22 September 2014, Monday

Source: Business Mirror
12 Sep 2014

THE Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca) has trained 144 indigenous peoples in Palawan, Isabela and Aurora on the proper method of tapping almaciga resin.

Searca Executive Director Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit Jr. said the training sessions were conducted following the precipitous decline in the number of almaciga trees nationwide, not only through harvesting and tapping, but also because of heartwood rotting.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has already banned the cutting of almaciga trees.

Almaciga (Agathis philippinensis), one of the few conifer timber species endemic to the Philippines, is found in the forests and the mountains of Quezon, Zambales, Palawan, Cagayan, Abra, Kalinga Apayao, Nueva Vizcaya, Samar, Zamboanga and Davao.

It can grow up to 60 meters high with a trunk 3 m in diameter.

Saguiguit said almaciga is valued highly for its resin—the world-renowned Manila copal—which is used in manufacturing varnishes, lacquer, soap, paint, printing inks, linoleum, shoe polish, floor wax, plastic, water-proofing materials, paper sizing and other products. Locally, it is used for torches and ignition, incense, fuelwood, caulking substance and smudge for mosquitoes.

Almaciga resin is a dollar-earner among the country’s non-timber forest products, with the resin exported to France, Germany, Japan, Spain, China and Switzerland.

From 2000 to 2009, an average of 202,400 kilograms of Manila copal costing $188,900 annually has been exported to those countries.

Almaciga may still vanish naturally even if left undisturbed since heartwood rotting and destructive and excessive tapping of the resin conspire to kill them.

To help prevent the extinction of almaciga, foresters Arsenio B. Ella and Florena B. Samiano of the Forest Products Research and Development Institute, through Searca’s Seed Fund for Research and Training, conducted a study titled “Enhancing the Adaptive Capacity of the Indigenous Peoples by Promoting Sustainable and Community-Based Resin Tapping of Almaciga (Agathis philippinensis Warb) in select Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title Areas in Palawan and Sierra Madre.