The Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau -Main Office and its Watershed and Water Resources Research Center (WWRRC) in collaboration with the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) conducted tree surgery at the MMSU campus in Batac City, Ilocos Norte during the tree health assessment of the gall-diseased agoho trees along the pathways of the Administration Building.

During the assessment, it was estimated that 90% of the agoho (Casuarina equisetifolia) trees were infected with a gall disease which caused deformation of the branches and the trunk and making them susceptible to attack of other pests and diseases. The line of agoho trees beautifies the landscape on both sides of the pathways at MMSU which improves the micro-climate condition of the campus and provides the much-needed shade to students, staff and visitors alike.

The tree surgery which was demonstrated by Ms. Marcelina V. Pacho, Pathologist of ERDB at MMSU was made possible through the support of then OIC-President Dr. Prima Fe Franco and Dr. Joselito Rosario, Department Head of Forestry and participated by Mr. Elmer Francis Morales who provided the needed materials and equipment. Mr. Morales who was very enthusiastic and had a hands-on experience in tree surgery vowed to propose to the MMSU management for the rehabilitation of the other diseased trees in the campus in order to preserve their health through educating the students using the tree restoration technology.

Dr. Joselito Rosario, Department Head of Forestry feared that because of the findings that the agoho trees were infected with the gall disease, these might be recommended for cutting hence, they will lose the agoho trees which serve as buffer area against the effect of hot weather condition in the area. However, the ERDB technical staff explained that only the severely infected trees which pose danger to motorists and passersby shall be recommended for cutting while the diseased branches will be pruned and those with cavities in the trunk shall be subjected to tree surgery to prevent further decay and preserve the trees.

WWRRC through its Center Director, Dr. Carlos S. Arida, Sr. is promoting the adoption of tree surgery among stakeholders in Regions 1, 2, 3 and CAR. This initiative is being done to rehabilitate and preserve the health of highly-valued trees which include heritage, historical and centennial trees found in parks, plazas, roadsides and other landscaped areas which are affected by diseases to prevent their deterioration to prolong their lifespan and improve the landscape of the area. Estrella E. Patrimonio, SRS II