Left photo: More than 50 different kinds of indigenous forest tree species in the clonal facility. Right photo: Hedge garden of Batikuling (Litsea leytensis Merr.)

Dr. Aurora S. Jose together with Dr. Lucena U. Mercado of the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) and Mr. John Vincent Ravanzo of the Urban & Biodiversity Research Development & Extension Center (UBRDEC) in Pagbilao, Quezon visited the clonal facility of Southern Luzon State University (SLSU) in Lucban, Quezon on March 12-13, 2020.

The group conducted an interview with Ms. Kathreena E. Gutierrez, project leader of the said facility where clonal propagation is being practiced. Clonal propagation technology is the process of making a genetically-identical plant through non-asexual means.

SLSU has been an integral part in the National Greening Program convergence initiative with the DENR since 2012 for the Production of Quality Planting Materials (PQPM) through the establishment of hedge garden and construction of clonal facilities out of the P3.5 million funding from the DENR. Alongside with seedling production and delivery to National Greening Program (NGP) sites in Quezon and other parts of the country, the clonal facilities are utilized for instruction, research and extension of faculty and students of the university.

With regard to the social impact, one notable accomplishment of research and development is the production of quality planting stocks of more than 50 indigenous forest tree species in Mt. Banahaw de Lucban. The propagation of Batikuling (Litsea leytensis Merr.) using stem cuttings is now being used by the stakeholders of Paete, Laguna in their woodcarving industry.

Seminars and trainings were also conducted for tree farmers, nursery staff, and students, parents, and teachers of Paete, Laguna on vegetative propagation using mist  and non-mist system; and nursery and plantation establishment of Batikuling (Litsea leytensis Merr.).

Likewise, the SLSU clonal facility was established for students with undergraduate researches on clonal forestry, genetic studies, and misting propagation system. Some of the researches were funded by the university, Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation (PTFCF) and Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

On the economic Impact, the produced quality planting materials can be bought at P25.00/per seedling. As an Income Generating Project (IGP) of the university, it engaged in a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with DENR-Region IV-A and DENR-ERDB from 2014 to 2017 of more than P10 million worth of quality planting materials that were delivered in different municipalities of Quezon province. It enabled the university to operate the clonal facility on a regular basis plus employment of laborers and research assistants.

Various seedling recipients include native forest tree enthusiasts, academe, government agencies, and private firms for their corporate social responsibility (CSR) that sustained the quality production of clones of indigenous forest trees from the facility. Aurora S. Jose, TAPS-TTD