A four-day training on clonal propagation, nursery establishment, seed technology and mycorrhizal application was recently conducted by the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) Los Baños Laguna in collaboration with the Ecosystems Research and Development Service (ERDS) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 6 among State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) in the region.

 

The training is aimed at building the capabilities of involved stakeholders in the National Greening Program (NGP), one of the priority programs of the Aquino administration. The NGP aims to achieve the planting of 1.5 billion trees to green 1.5 million hectares of land in the country. To attain this, there is a need to raise sufficient number of quality planting materials. Thus, the ERDS collaborated with state colleges and universities since they already have the strong technical background in forestry.

Technical personnel of various SUCs who attended the training were taught the knowledge and skills on Establishment of Clonal Facility cum Forest Nursery, Macro-somatic Clonal Propagation, Seed Collection and Processing Techniques, and Mycorrhizal Application Techniques. Lectures were conducted at the Grand Tower Suites while the hands-on exercises are done at the ERDS Regional Clonal Nursery in Btac. Nuevo, Iloilo.

Thirty representatives from seven SUCs and five from ERDS attended the training. The ERDS collaborated with the following SUCs, namely: West Visayas State University (WVSU), Western Visayas College of Science and Technology (WVCST), Central Philippine State University (CPSU), Guimaras State College (GSC), Aklan State University (ASU), University of Antique (UA), and Capiz State University (CAPSU). Four resource speakers are Foresters Gregorio E. Santos, Jr., Albert A. Pinon, Christian Noel Dotimas and Alexander John D. Borja from the Ecosystems Research & Development Bureau (ERDB).

In order to ensure the success of NGP implementation, the government made use of modern science and technology available to sustain the survival of planting materials. The DENR Research Bureau and the Ecosystems Research and Development Service (ERDS) are at the forefront of Production of Quality Planting Materials (PQPM) for the NGP and other reforestation programs. The ERDS 6 is being headed by Regional Technical Director. Dr. Alicia L. Lustica.

Through a hands-on exercise on Macro-somatic Clonal Propagation, participants learned how to identify a dipterocarp “mother tree”, the best source of planting materials. Propagation of seedlings will be taken from “mother trees” which are fast growing and the same attributes are transferred to the “clones”. The Macro-somatic clonal propagation technology is a proven scientific method that helps produce better dipterocarps which are used in DENR’ reforestation and tree plantation activities.

During the lecture on Mycorrhizal Application Techniques, the group was introduced to the benefits of using mycorrhizal fungi in seedlings propagation. Mycorrhizal fungi form relationships with plant species, surrounding and even entering the roots of these plants. Then, they provide nutrients such as phosphorus, even nitrogen and water to plants in exchange for carbohydrates. Some studies say that some plants may trade 50% of their carbohydrates with mycorrhizal fungi and other microbes. The fungi also greatly improve soil characteristics.

The participants attentively paid attention as the resource person demonstrates the proper procedures of mycorrhizal application. This technology also helps raise planting materials that are drought resistant and has the ability to control pathogens thereby promoting greater yield.

Action Planning and Training Evaluation capped the 4-day training. With trained environmental partners, the DENR 6 is positively looking forward to raising superior planting materials and provide the needs for the NGP and other Environmental and Natural Resources (ENR) projects. Written by Roanne Joy B. Sallave