The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has upgraded its old clonal nursery in Babatgon, Leyte, some 33 kilometers north of Tacloban City, into a modern macro-somatic clonal facility, which doubles as a regional training center.
DENR-Region 8 Executive Director Rogelio T. Trinidad said the Regional Tree Propagation Complex and Training Center is expected to enhance the capability of the DENR field office to produce high quality planting materials for the National Greening Program (NGP).
Expressing gratitude to DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje for providing the funds for the upgrading amounting to PhP3.8 million, Trinidad said the facility is now equipped with two units of macrosomatic clonal facilities, one unit of recovery facility, hardening beds for cloned seedlings and a hedge garden of different indigenous forest tree species.
It also has a laboratory and a conference room capable of accommodating up to 150 people.
“With the renovation, the facility is now capable of producing around 80,000 quality planting materials per year,” Trinidad said. He added that the facility will also be used as a training center that would cater not only to DENR personnel but also other NGP stakeholders that would be trained on the macro-vegetative propagation technology of indigenous forest species, an asexual or vegetative approach to propagating trees species or cloning.
According to Trinidad, the macrosomatic cloning technology is particularly important in the conservation of the genetic resources of premium, indigenous, endangered and economically useful forest tree species like kalantas, yakal, toog, dangula, batikuling, and the like.
He also said that using the technology would result in the rapid multiplication of superior clones as the waiting period for seedling production is shorter as compared with the conventional approach using seeds. “This is not to mention that we are assured of genetically superior species and disease-free planting stocks for the NGP,” Trinidad stressed.
Speaking at the facility’s inauguration last Oct. 28, Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau Director Marcial Amaro stressed the need to maximize the use of the facility as the national requirement for quality seedlings for the NGP is expected to double next year, and would triple in the succeeding years.
Amaro said that for next year, the DENR is increasing the target area for planting under the NGP, from 100,000 hectares this year to 200,000 hectares. This will be further increased to 300,000 hectares in the succeeding years until 2016 which, according to him, would require a total of 1.5 billion seedlings throughout the 6-year program. Ayda Zoleta, PAO-DENR