(Top left photo): For. Dennis M. Gilbero discusses the flow of S&T-based seed collection and storage facility that the MFTSC. (Top right photo): PENRO Ma. Salome Acopiado of LGU-ADS observes a microscopic sample of gall rust spore at the Pest and Disease Laboratory. (Bottom photo): A photo opportunity with the FWRDEC personnel and the visitors from PENRO LGU Agusan del Sur inside the seed vault.

Passion for excellence” is one of the most powerful phrases which best describes the “actions” taken by the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) of Agusan del Sur to improve the plantation productivity performance with the aid of science and technology.

Providing 59% of the Caraga log production and 40% of the national log production led them to the creation of the Agusan del Sur Tree Improvement Research Center (TIRC) with an approved total budget of P12M.

The said facility is envisioned to cater to the needs for the continuous use of improved seeds and the adoption of the different technologies developed and disseminated by ERDB-FWRDEC on tree improvement. The same is in support of the banner program “Upland Sustainable Agri-forestry Development (USAD)” of the province.

A two-day “Knowledge Sharing and Benchmarking” was held last April 4-5, 2022 in FWRDEC, Maharlika, Bislig City in response to their request for FWRDEC’s assistance as facilitated by Senior Science Research Specialist Dennis M. Gilbero, DAgSci, Manager, MFTSC and Chief, TPPEU Joan S. Gilbero in coming up with the Agusan del Sur TIRC 5-year development program. PLGU-ENR Officer Salome D. Acopiado, Ph.D. represented their team.

The group made a tour around the Mindanao Forest Tree Seed Center and the other laboratory facilities of the office to give them firsthand experience on how a tree improvement center operates.

Identified priority activities are categorized into research, development and extension. Among the priority activities that were lined up for the next 5 years were: (1) Continuous inventory, mapping and profiling of candidate plus trees (CPTs) of their established falcata plantations (of which seeds were from the Mindanao Forest Tree Seed Center of ERDB-FWRDEC) under their USAD program.

The area developed is now around 2,000 hectares; (2) Phenological observations, seed collection and processing; (3) Capability training and/or enhancement of the personnel that will handle the center operation; (4) establishment of demonstration sites, progeny trials, and SSO; (5) monitoring of growth development of established falcata plantations; (6) farmer trainor’s training.

Value/supply chain analysis has already been appropriated in the current year. Other inputs also include enterprise development, value-adding of individual plus trees (IPTs) products and value/supply chain analysis of which the last already got an appropriation in the current year.

The efforts of the province also preposition the collection, conservation and development of economically and environmentally important indigenous tree species.

The greatest achievement of ERDB-FWRDEC rests not only on the knowledge they have shared but much more on the ripple effect they have made out of their best effort.

The journey with the Provincial Government of Agusan del Sur which was recognized as one of the ERDB adoptors has just started. Joan S. Gilbero, FWRDEC