Agoho tree farming as one of the appealing options for retiree in San Isidro, Sto. Domingo, Albay spells fun and profit.
Antonio Rodriguez, a former lumber inspector and Scaler at the Bureau of Forest Development (now DENR) acquired knowledge and technology that were put to practice in his agoho Tree plantation. His diligence and hard work paid off as he and his neighbors now benefit from this plantation.
The Agoho private tree plantation was established at Brgy. San Isidro, Sto. Domingo, Albay. It is owned and managed by Antonio V. Rodriguez of Brgy. San Isidro, a retired BFD Lumber Inspector and Scaler. The plantation was registered at No. P27374, Series of 1997 under Certificate of Registration of Tree Plantation in Private Land pursuant to the pertinent provisions of DENR Memorandum Circular. No. 97-09
The entire area covers 2.5 ha. It was planted to agoho (Casuarina equisetifolia) at a spacing of 2.5 m x 2.5 m. The area has flat to slightly rolling topography. Soil texture is sandy loam to rocky with soil pH that is slightly acidic. The climate of the area is dry from April to June and wet during the rest of the year. Average temperature of the area is highest at 32o C and lowest at 22oC. The distance is four km from the municipal road of Sto. Domingo. Present vegetative covers are salago, elephant grass, bariw palm, amorseco, carabao grass and kukalunggay.
Agoho seedlings were collected from Brgy. Lidong, Sto. Domingo, Albay. They were placed at the coconut shell that accommodated 1000 seedlings. Collected seedlings were immediately planted in the site. Line planting was carried out on holes used to accommodate 2-inches seedlings. The plantation was established through a series of outplanting from 1985 (just after Mayon eruption and flooding in 1984) to 1990. Planting was done at the onset of the rainy season. Ring weeding, mulching, fertilization and pests and diseases control were not undertaken because the area was practically clean and fertile. Survival percentage in the entire plantation was 90%.
Harvesting and Utilization
The owner first harvested his agoho poles in 1995. These were sold to Mayon Beach Resort just adjacent to his agoho plantation. Gross sales of agoho poles amounted to P12,000.00. The owner also cut undesirable and defective trees affected by typhoons that almost occur yearly. These were utilized into firewood that the owner and neighbors used during birthdays and graduation occasions. Estimated cost of firewood amounted to P3,000.00. As what the owner had testified, agoho poles and firewood already provided income to the owner at the time the owner was waiting for the release of his GSIS pension. It was of great help to the family owner even though he had sources of income such as rice production, fishing, and honorarium that he received as technician of the International Institute for Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), a non-government organization.
Private individuals, students from BUCAF in Guinobatan, Albay and CENRO Legazpi visitors came to collect seeds from the plantation. In the process, the owner shared the indigeneous practices like the How To's of agoho seedling production and plantation establishment to interested visitors.
Technology, Farm and People Work in a eucalyptus tree farm in Danlog, Pilar, Sorsogon
Bagras is an all -purpose tree. It is the source of Eucalyptus oil, known for its various medicinal uses. The wood could also be made into lumber or plywood, furniture, millwork, general construction, posts and poles (treated). It is a fast growing tree and one of the very few tree species native to the Philippines. These were some of the reasons why Teresita Marifosque-Villaflor ventured into Eucalyptus tree farming.
This Eucalyptus tree farm is a product of CARESS Technology introduced in 1994 by the Forest Products Research and Development Institute (FPRDI) College, Laguna. It was established along the Maharlika Highway of Bgy. Danlog, Pilar, Sorsogon on an 8-ha coconut farm owned by Teresita Marifosque Villaflor. The plantation wss registered under Tree Certificate No. 94-004-B at CENRO Sorsogon.
The plantation site has rolling to flat topography. It has clay loam soil and formerly dominated with cogon (Imperata spontaneum) and mixed talahib (Saccharum campanulata) grass. At present, fruit trees are intercropped with bagras like santol (Sandoricum coetjape), mango (Mangifera indica), guava (Psedium guajava), banana (Musa spp.) and few cash crops present. Mahogany (Sweitenia macrophylla) and narra (Pterocarpus indicus) were also planted separately near the bagras area.
The plantation was established in 1998.
Certified Bagras seedlings from CARESS nurseries in San Antonio Los Baños, Laguna were hauled and outplanted at the said tree farm. Seedlings numbering 48,000 pieces were accommodated on the 8-ha upland area. Planted seedlings had 12 cm height and 35 cm diameter.
They were planted on the staked 1m x 10m spacing.
During out planting, a fertilizer pack with 3' x 2' dimension was deposited on the one- foot deep holes. The pack that is made up of fertilizer and pesticides carries “chelates”. When dissolved and applied, 12 macro and micronutrients are made it available to plants. The fertilizer pack has nutrients that can supply the plant within two to five years.
Plantation Care and Maintenance
A farm worker took regular clearing of the plantation to ward off weeds and other unwanted vegetations. Ring Weeding was conducted on the first two years of project establishment. It was done quarterly thereafter for the period of two years. Each seedling was provided by a brace to maintain erect pole until the plant was able to maintain its erect position. Lime applied to acidic soils was used to treat the yellowish plant until its leaves turned green. The caretaker also undertook daily foot patrol to prevent stray animals from destroying the young Eucalyptus plants.
Personnel from UP Los Baños assisted in the yearly fertilizer application and monitoring of pests and diseases. The entire plantation is managed and maintained by Jaime Malvas, the caretaker.
Site preparation per hectare costs P4,200.00, P5,250.00 for out planting and P5,250.00 for plantation care and maintenance. Cost of seedlings and other materials also amounted to P20,160.00. Benefits derived as of documentation time were seedling production with a price of P42.00 per seedling. Harvesting of thinned poles and cut branches affected by typhoons was also one source of income. Maintenance cost P3,500.00 for a farm worker.
According to the interviewee, the plantation owner continuously conducts trainings to interested clientele regarding the technology on bagras plantation establishment. Recent adoptor was the Albay-Sorsogon Diversified Tree Farming Cooperative. A jeepload of high quality bagras planting materials were bought at P4.00 per seedling from the plantation owner. Seedlings procured were planted within the province of Sorsogon.
Alfonso Alejo, a private landowner from Villahermosa, Sorsogon also bought 50 Eucalyptus deglupta seedlings from the owner. The adoptor has also started his own Eucalyptus tree plantation.
Although bagras has pliant characteristics like bamboo, frequent visits of typhoon sometimes cause damage to young bagras poles and branches. However, the caretaker took the opportunity to sell those poles to interested individuals but some were stocked for other purposes. Harvests in coconut that sometimes destroyed branches of bagras trees, had also been taken cared of by the owner.
The Triumph of DENR's Mangrove Reforestation in Prieto Diaz, Sorosogon
The mangrove contract reforestation covers 267 hectares (ha) located within the eleven coastal barangays of Prieto Diaz, Sorsogon. These include Brgy. Perlas, Bulawan, Calao, Carayat, Gogon, Maningkay de Oro, Diamante, San Fernando, San Isidro, Sta. Lourdes and Ulag. It was established from September 1990 to December 1992 by eight contractors, namely: Agta-CIMARON Tribal Council, San Rafael Barangay Council, San Rafael Tribal Council, Diamante Barangay Council, Sta. Lourdes Tribal Council, Sta. Lourdes Barangay Council, Ulag Barangay Council, and Ulag Tribal Council.
The fascinating beauty of the 267 has of Mangrove Reforestation established in Prieto Diaz, Sorsogon is one of the most frequently visited mangrove area in the region and considered the pride of CENRO Sorsogon for being one of its successful reforestation projects.
The 267 ha were purely planted to Bakauan bangkau (Rhizophora stylosa) at a spacing of 1m x 1m. Substrates of the area were soft, deep muddy, soil and shallow water areas; sandy and rocky ground surface with relatively low salinity; and sandy- to- sandy loam, with mudflat or coralline type.
The budget granted to the entire project amounted to P2.8M. This was sourced from the Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund (OECF), as allotted to DENR CENRO Sorsogon.
In 1993, three years hence, the whole mangrove plantation reforestation was placed under the Coastal Environment Program (CEP) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). CEP was a social and environmental action research that is anchored on the premise that the coastal dwellers and stakeholders are better resource managers given the opportunities and support. The program had foremost, increased awareness among the coastal dwellers and stakeholders on mangrove ecosystem dynamics. It had made them capable of drawing better options for sustained productivity of coastal resources and these were achieved through community organizing, socio-economic and research projects implementation, and networking.
DENR evaluated the program impact. In December 1997, it awarded the Mangrove Stewardship Agreement (MSA) Contract to the Peoples Organization (PO) in the area, SEAMANCOR Ecodevelopers, Inc. The MSA had stipulated provision to empower the PO to manage, protect, and preserve the entire mangrove ecosystems in Prieto Diaz. It also provided security of tenure to coastal residents or mangrove dependents for the period of 25 years.
Mangrove Plantation Establishment
Mangrove stand was established by collecting bakauan bato (Rhizophora stylosa), bakauan lalaki (Rhizophora apiculata), and bakauan babae (Rhizophora mucronata) propagules at various sites in Masbate, Palawan, Pagbilao, Samar, Leyte and in Prieto Diaz, Sorsogon. Collected propagules were raised in the nursery of Brgy San Isidro, Prieto Diaz for five months. They were out planted when four leaves were formed. Forty percent (40%) mortality in plantation was replaced through successive replanting.
Plantation Maintenance and Protection
For the first three years of project implementation, each contractor in the whole reforestation projects provided one caretaker who took the daily patrol works. Likewise, lookout towers were installed at strategic locations. On the other hand, the DENR technicians provided technical assistance specifically in assessing the occurrence of mangrove pests and diseases and in choosing the right silvicultural treatments pertaining to mangrove maintenance and protection.
Growth Increments of Established Bakauans
Bakauan bato (Rhizophora stylosa) averages four to five branches. Average height of the branch measures five m and three cm diameter. It was planted at regular spacing of 1m x 1m between plants on sandy to coralline soils. The species having luxuriant growth are producing very closed and balanced crown. In inlands, Bakauan babae (Rhizophora mucronata) were planted in deep soft muddy soil. This species performed excellent growth as well. Other true mangrove species seen growing in the seaward portions were bakauan lalake (Rhizophora apiculata), pagatpat (Sonneratia alba), and bungalon (Avicennia marina). On the middleward, are tangal (Ceriops tagal), and busain (Bruguiera gymnorrhiza). Buta-buta (Excoecaria agallocha), saging-saging (Aegeciras corniculatum), and tinduk-tindukan (Aegiceras floridum) are other mangrove associates performing good growth.
Bakauan bangkau, is on its third fruiting stage as of writing time. An average of 60 regenerations can be found per tree.
Connecting the visitors to the inward portion of the plantation is a 150 m length mangrove walk made of bamboo materials. From the base, it is approximately six m high for the visitors reckoning, site seeing, bird watching and doing other research related observations in the place. The CEP also constructed bunkhouse for the use of DENR personnel and visitors during mangrove trainings participants, during ecotours and field trips.
The SEAMANCOR Ecodevelopers, Inc. managing the plantation directly benefited from the project in terms of employment. The PO realized the economic and ecological importance of mangroves. They attested that mangroves indeed provide nursery grounds for fish, prawns and crabs as fishery production in Prieto Diaz has increased. This was evident because mangroves produce leaf litter and detritus materials which are valuable sources of food for estuaries and coastal animals. Mangrove plantations sheltered the coastal communities from storm surges, waves, tidal currents and typhoons.
Organic pollution in near shore areas has been reduced tremendously because mangroves trapped and absorbed sediments. Results of coastal pollution monitoring of phosphate and nitrate last March 10, 2000 by the EMB Region 5 showed no significant variations on the readings taken at all stations. Concentration of phosphate and nitrate was minimal with total suspended and dissolved solids that range from 22 mg/liter to 41096/liter.
At present, the area serves as recreational grounds for bird watch and observation of other wildlife. There has been 22 bird species observed in a DENR 5 study in 1998. Several groups also came over Prieto Diaz to watch the beauty of the established mangrove ecosystems.
Although, cutting of mangrove poles and stands remains prohibited under Section 4 of Republic Act No. 7161, the PO may benefit from firewood and charcoal generated if pruning, thinning and other silvicultural treatments will be introduced.
At present, collected Rhizophora stylosa propagules had already given income to the PO. Each propagule sells at P50 centavos each; and the PO sold P500,000 pieces since 1997 to present. The sixty percent (60%) income went to the member who gathered the propagules while the remaining forty percent (40%) is considered income of the PO.
Proper site selection and good species-site matching paved the way for the success of the mangrove reforestation. The sites selected had stable soil, sheltered from strong winds and waves, had shallow grounds that are totally without water during low tide, and were free from barnacle incidence.
Other important factor contributory to the project success was the commitment of the PO managing the plantation. The PO protects and manages the whole area despite the presence of threats such as resistant residents, illegal mangrove cutters and insufficient financial support.
The PO was strengthened through trainings. Local officials supported the PO in the enforcement of mangrove laws. The DENR's Information and Education Campaign and the acceptance of the project by the community also contributed to the overall success in project implementation.
FYI: Prieto Diaz lies at the Northeastern tip of the province of Sorsogon. It faces the Philippine Sea in the east, the Albay Gulf in the north and the Municipality of Gubat in the south. It is accessible by land. It is about 80 km from Legazpi and 36 km from the capital city of Sorsogon. The total land area of Prieto Diaz is 4,767 ha subdivided among 23 barangays, 19 of which are located along the coast. Poverty was prevalent among municipal fishermen.
Coastal barangays comprised small fishermen, small and marginal landowners and landless laborers and hawkers. They are traditional claimants and mangrove dependents whose livelihood included firewood gathering, timber cutting and charcoal making.
The climate of Prieto Diaz is influenced by two air extremes, the monsoons and pacific trade winds. The northeast monsoon occurs form October to March and the southeast monsoon occurs from June to September. The north pacific trade winds prevail during April and May. The area falls under Type II climate with no dry season but with very pronounced maximum rain period from November to January. Average annual rainfall is 3,128.7 mm. The wettest month is October with an average rainfall of 442.7 mm. February and March is less rainy with mean values of 32.9 mm and 58.1 mm, respectively. Mean annual temperature is 26.5 ºC while the annual maximum temperature is 30.9 ºC.
FYI: For Your Information
Mahogany performs well in Taysan, Legazpi City
Dominico Casas, retired military serviceman, and his wife established the 3.7 hectares of mahogany plantation in Taysan, Legazpi City. The beauty that the plantation now exudes and the cool fresh air it readily provides give the owner daily inspiration while he awaits the other benefits the plantation would afford him.
The Casas mahogany (Sweitenia macrophylla) plantation is located in Brgy. Taysan, Legazpi City. Brgy. Taysan. It is approximately 30- minute ride or 15 km distance from Legazpi City. The place is accessible to land transportation. The area has flat to rolling topography. Soil is clay- to clay loam. Its climate has two pronounced seasons, dry from November to April, wet during the rest of the year.
The mahogany plantation was established from November 1994 to April 1995 at Brgy Taysan, Legazpi City. This private lot is owned and managed by Dominico Casas. It is bounded on the eastern part by the residential houses, on the western part by the barangay road, on the northern and southern part by the creek. The entire mahogany stand has average height of nine m and average diameter of 12.5 cm. It is fenced by Barbed wire. Only a few mahogany trees are branchy. Most had straight
Cylindrical boles, healthy or free from pests and diseases, and have well
balanced crown. Hopefully, the plantation will be harvested on the fifteenth year since it was established.
The lower portion of the lot has creek and bamboos planted to serve as windbreak and as soil stabilizer. These bamboos were composed of two clumps of kawayan tinik (Bambusa blumeana) and 19 clumps of boho (Schizostachyum lumampao). Bambusa blumeana has thick-walled culms possessing strength and durability. This species attains a height of 25 m and a culm diameter of 20 cm. Schizostachyum lumampao, on the other hand, has thin-walled culms. They are heavily distributed and were covering extensively the lower portion of the plantation.
Planting Stock Production
Seeds of mahogany were procured from the Bureau of Plant Industry Malate, Manila. Other source was one of the private tree plantations in Sorsogon, Sorsogon. Newly collected seeds were sown in an upright position on the 1m x 5m seedbed. Soil was composed of 50:50 garden soil and sawdust mixture. Germination commenced 15 days from sowing. Its total germination capacity was 95%. The 2” x 3” mahogany germinants were then transplanted from the seedbed to the 4” x 6” plastic bags. The soil mixture used for potting has also 50:50 garden soil and sawdust mixture. A pinch of complete fertilizer was also added to the mixture to boost the health of growing seedlings. Only germinants with straight taproot were transplanted in the pots, those with curly taproots were discarded. Transplanted seedlings were placed in partial shade. Then they were placed in the open after six months from transplanting or when they were one foot tall. The total seedling production cost was P4,000.00.
Site was prepared by removing the stumps, shrubs, and weeds in the area. However, existing trees such as Dao (Dracontomelon dao), narra (Pterocarpus indicus), acacia (Samanea saman) and kakawate (Glericidia sepium) were left uncut. During the onset of the rainy season, mahogany seedlings were planted on the spaced 1.5m x 1.5m holes having six inches wide and 8 inches deep. Added to the holes at a rate of three tbsp. per plant was complete fertilizer. Mahogany stand has served as intercrop for
the coconuts. The entire cost of the established plantation was P5,000.00 only.
The owner hired one caretaker during the first three years on plantation maintenance. On the fourth year onward, regular maintenance was no longer necessary. The owner regularly spends P2,800 per year to replant and clear plantation of debris due to typhoon occurrence.
Coconut intercropped with mahogany shows potential in Paco, Gubat, Sorsogon
When the price of copra dropped five years ago, Bienvenido Villaroya thought of recovering from profit loss by intercropping coconut with trees in his 12-has farm lot. He also thought of protecting the watershed. Mahogany was his choice species.
The Villaroya tree farm is owned and managed by Bienvenido Villaroya of Daraga, Albay. The farm that has Transfer Certificate Title (TCT) 25952 was registered at CENRO Sorsogon No. 99-1005016 under the Certificate of Registration in Tree Plantation in Private Land. Located in Paco, Gubat, Sorsogon, the mahogany (Swetenia macrophylla) farm was established in September 1995 on a 12-hectare coconut plantation. The farm is 3 km distance from the national highway.
The farm has generally flat to rolling terrain. Mean annual rainfall is 3128.7 mm; rainy from October to January and dry from April to May. Soil texture is clay loam; soil pH is 4.9-7.9. Average temperature is 26.5oC. Shrubs, Palmae spp., banana, ferns and Stylosanrhes guyanensis cover crop used to eradicate cogon are some vegetation present in the area.
Good quality mahogany seedlings were used for planting. These one-foot size seedlings were bought from unknown private tree plantations at P4.00 each. A total of 36,000 seedlings that include 20% mortality were planted on the 12-hectare area. They were planted at a 2m x 2m spacing. The plantation was established after three months of continues planting. Thirty laborers were hired at P120.00 daily to work at six days per week until planting activities were over. Raymundo Elaje, the caretaker with experiences in plantation establishment, assisted the plantation owner in the establishment and management of mahogany plantation.
At present, the height of the mahogany is eight m with an average diameter of 15 cm. Generally, mahogany stands exhibit straight bole, rarely branchy, balanced crown and free from pests and diseases. However, typhoon damages resulted to overtopped crowns in mahogany was evident in the area.
Plantation Care and Maintenance
Complete fertilizers were applied to newly planted seedlings at two tbsp per plant for the period of two years. Yearly application was conducted thereafter at 4 tbsp per plant. Replacement on the twenty percent (20%) mortality had been conducted. A pesticide was applied when the plantation had shoot borer outbreak. A caretaker and two watchmen were hired to patrol the area. Plantation workers were housed on the constructed bunkhouse. At present, one caretaker is assigned to conduct daily maintenance and protection activities.
Purpose for Establishing the Mahogany Plantation
The owner initiated the establishment of mahogany plantation. He invested in the plantation purely for economic and environmental purposes – that will hopefully answer soil erosion problems in the area, rehabilitate watershed and degraded uplands, and provide income from timber harvest.