The DOST-Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI) Rubberwood Processing Plant in Zamboanga Sibugay recently received its Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environment Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) Region IX.

The certificate is proof that the processing plant has passed the DENR’s evaluation and is not expected to have any notable negative impact on the environment. However, with the ECC, the DOST-FPRDI’s local partner - the Tambanan Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative (TARBEMCO) – also needs to meet all the requirements for protecting the community from any of the project’s possible adverse effects. These include effects on the local people’s health, welfare and environment.

The DOST-FPRDI project “Processing and Utilization of Senile and Unproductive Rubberwood (Hevea brasiliensis) Trees for the Production of High Value Furniture, Mouldings and Joineries” was initiated in 2018 to provideadded income to TARBEMCO rubber farmers.

In the last three years, the Institute has conducted intensive trainings on harvesting and sawmilling, rubberwood preservation and treatment, kiln drying, woodworking machine operation and maintenance, furniture making and basic finishing

With DOST-FPRDI’s intervention, the farmers were able to acquire added knowledge on useful application of rubberwood trees that can command higher prices in the market.

In addition, a complete line of processing facilities was established— from sawmilling to finishing— to convert old and unproductive rubberwood trees into high-value products such as furniture, doors, door jambs and other builders’ woodworks. ### (Engr. Victor G. Revilleza & Erin Neza C. Adrales 2021)