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RP forest tree species endangered

LOS BAÑOS, Laguna — If there is still a Philippine teak in your place, protect it as if it is the last of the species in the country.

And so with the Mindanao cinnamon, almaciga, dao, kalantas, akle, palasan, lanete, lamio and bungang-ipot.

These are some of the Philippine endangered forest trees as defined in the 1980 International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red Data Book Guide.

The Red Data Book spells out three categories: Category A (immediately endangered species), Category B (potentially threatened and vulnerable), and Category C (rare).

Immediately endangered species are represented by a critically small population found in restrictedly narrow habitat that is constantly subjected to drastic environmental fluctuations.

Potentially threatened and vulnerable species are those whose populations are steadily being reduced to a critical low due to the continued destruction of their niches or to the heavy collection of wild stocks for commercial purposes.

Rare species are those whose populations have a highly restricted geographical distribution range or extremely specialized habitat.

To encourage the people to help provide maximum care and protection for the endangered species, the Los Baños-based Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Ecosystem Research and Development Bureau (DENR-ERDB) has released a publication on the status of threatened trees.

ERDB director Celso Diaz said, "The conservation of the country’s endangered natural resources is a primary responsibility of the government and its people." Conservation measures can be done through the establishment of gene banks, plantations, and in situ (in natural or original position) and ex situ (outside) conservation areas.

Potentially threatened, the Philippine teak is confined in secondary forests at low altitudes (100 to 250 feet above see level) in Luzon, particularly in Batangas. Often a substitute for molave, Philippine teak is popularly used for house posts and in general construction.

Mindanao cinnamon is a small tree (about 10 meters) that thrives in Davao, Surigao and Zamboanga. Its bark has medicinal value and is also used as flavoring in food and perfume, and for fuel. Its wood is a good material for carabao sleds, posts and beams of nipa huts.

Another threatened species is almaciga, which is still found in Luzon and some parts of the Visayas (Samar and Negros) and Mindanao (Misamis, Davao and Zamboanga).

Known as "Manila copal" in the international market, it yields high-quality resin used in the manufacture of varnish, paint, plastic and linoleum.

Locally, almaciga is used as incense in religious ceremonies, and for making torches, caulking boats, smudge for mosquitoes, patent leather and sealing wax.

One of the bests in the Philippines, almaciga wood is used in making panels and piano boards, guitar bodies, and engineering instruments.

is one of the most beautiful Philippine woods. It is one of the best cabinet timbers on account of its warm-brown color, fine texture and lasting qualities.

is also used for house construction (post, flooring, siding, panel and interior), naval construction, railroad ties, carvings, tables, chairs, desks, musical instruments (guitars and violins), and gun stock.

Another threatened species is palasan, a rattan generally found in the mountain ranges of Sierra Madre, Caraballo, Cordillera, Halcon, Isarog and Kitanglad.

Harvested rattan canes are used for manufacturing furniture sets, picture frames, newspaper racks, fish traps, hats, walking sticks, twine, ropes, hammocks, sleeping mats and other household items.

The fleshy portion of the palasan fruit is eaten raw by wild pigs. The bud (ubod), when roasted, is a good dish. Freshly cut stem gives good drinking water.

is a tall tree (35 to 40 meters) still found in primary and secondary forests. Its wood can be used in constructing banca, rafter and some pieces of furniture, and can be utilized for sliced rotary veneers, cabinets, crates, tables, boxes and match sticks.

The wood of kalantas is the best and only preferred wood for high-grade cigar boxes due to its aroma. It is also a favorite for making tennis rackets, cloth chests, furnitures, cabinets, piano boards and other musical instruments, lights bancas and small boats.

The wood of lanete is made into musical instruments, cabinets and picture frames.

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