Conventional practices employed in the establishment and maintenance of seed source sites in the Visayas regions were the highlight of the discussion during the recently conducted the ‘Training on Tree Stand Improvement; Seed Collection, Handling, Storage, and Documentation of Seed Source Activities’ last June 7-9, 2017 at the Hotel Asia, Cebu City. The participants dominantly composed of the sixteen (16) focal persons from the seed source sites either as Seed Production Area (SPA) or Individual Plus Trees (IPTs) of the Visayas provinces together with the regional seed source coordinators are expected to boost and ensure that quality seeds are collected, handled, and stored to ensure the production of quality planting materials.

The Biodiversity, Coastal, Wetlands and Ecotourism Research Center (BCWERC) facilitated the training with the support of the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB). The training also reviewed the major constraints and opportunities concerning the maintenance activities of seed sources. Focal persons and regional coordinators also presented their respective mid-year accomplishments including the challenges encountered and actions or innovations adopted.

High quality planting materials ensure higher survival rate and will yield vigorous and productive trees,’ said Dr. Alicia L. Lustica, BCWERC Center Head. Dr. Lustica expected that training participants would level-up and enhance their knowledge through the learning and experiences shared by every focal person from the different SPA/IPT sites in the Visayas. She likewise emphasized the significance of proper documentation as a valuable tool in record keeping on important information such as activities undertaken or strategies employed. ‘It is high time that we should produce quality and reliable documentation reports since demands for this reliable and tangible materials are most needed as reference in addressing issues, concerns, and challenges,’ according to Dr. Lustica. She further stressed the need to develop a template for standard reporting on the status of accomplishments and the need to maintain a uniform, integrated, and interactive database management system on seed sources for decision support.

The activity was doubly significant with the presence of ERDB Assistant Director, Dr. Bighani M. Manipula. AD Manipula was pleased with the conduct of said activity, as it seems like an opportune time where preparations for the possible turnover of the SPA/IPT project to DENR is also in place. He suggested that once DENR management will take over the SPA/IPT project, it would be right and proper if ERDB will likewise turnover the facilities for smooth operation. AD Manipula emphasized that DENR should somehow follow the standard process applied by ERDB, from the seed source, collection, up to the certification of seeds.

Foresters Carlito R. Buante and Bruno O. Carreon, Science Researchers of BCWERC also imparted their technical expertise on ‘Tree Stand Improvement’ and ‘Seed Collection, Handling, and Storage.’ In the same way, Visayas SPA Coordinator, Forester Jose F. Layese encouraged the exchange of information and experiences among participants on concerns such as seed collection, handling, and storage. Said practices, according to For. Layese, should be properly documented to ensure that best practices are promoted and the non-workable practices discouraged.

As a bonus in the documentation process particularly in photo-documentation, a special treat was accorded to participants as professional photographer, Dr. Ted Madamba offered some tips to the participants on the basics of photography. Dr. Madamba, country’s Nikon Ambassador, presented sample collection of his photos as he relates them to Six (6) Secrets of Photography. The presentation was well received by the participants as shown in their smiles particularly after receiving the Nikon give-away shirts.

The activity culminated with the field visit at Camp 7, Minglanilla, Cebu where participants had the opportunity to visit the Visayas Tree Seed Center. Participants also explored the facilities of the Cebu Experimental Forest (CEF) such as the showcase room for bamboos, solid waste photo-display and the seed bank area, where seeds are deposited and tested as to its viability and health.

The BCWERC’s supervision of the 16 seed source sites in the Visayas is an avenue for the sharing and exchange of information and plans among the officers engaged in the SPA and IPT activities. Collective sharing of information, practices, and plans hopes to address the need for a unified standard in terms of reporting and the monitoring and evaluation of SPA/IPT undertakings. M.F. Polo/Ann FJ , BCWERC