Making Business Out of Old Tree Roots and Barks

Traditionally, materials used include premium hardwoods such as narra, tindalo, akle and ipil. These species used to abound in the Philippine forest. Because suitable wood materials are scarce, there has been a shift to the use of minor forest products for furniture manufacture. These minor forest products include rattan, bamboo and buri. Surprisingly, furniture made from these materials were accepted easily both in the local and foreign markets. However, due to over-exploitation, these forest resources are likewise depleting. Thus, exploration for other prospective raw materials continues.

Several wood species are being used in the manufacture of these novelty products. Dau, balete, kakawate, and tan-ag are preferred for sala sets. Balete, acacia, pili and antipolo are used in the manufacture of bar sets.

Processing Techniques

There are several steps in the manufacture of these novelty items. These are the following: digging, transporting, cutting, debarking, scraping, drying, bleaching, sanding and preservative and varnish application. Digging of the stumps is done in logged-over areas in Tayabas, Gumaca and Sampaloc in Quezon Province. After digging, these are immediately transported to Pansol, Calamba, Laguna for processing is easier when the raw materials are still fresh. Upon reaching Pansol, the stumps are cut into the desired sizes; after which these are debarked, scraped and sundried for about five hours.

Sundrying follows after scraping. Then, coarse sanding, bleaching and fine sanding are done; after which preservative treatment is applied to the product. The last step is the application of varnish or lacquer to the finished product to enhance its appearance. A great number of the buyers of these novelty products come from Taiwan, Japan and as far as Saudi Arabia.

Many Uses of Bark

The term bark loosely refers to the outer covering of the stem and branches. Technically, it includes all the tissues from outside the cambium to the outermost layers of a woody stem. The bark serves as a protective tissue. It acts as a conduit transporting food to the other parts of the tree. About 8% of the total volume of a tree is bark.

Bark consists of an outermost corky layer called epidermis, a layer of manufactured food-conducting tissues called phloem, a zone between these two layers known as cortex. In several species, a layer of fibrous strips called “bast fiber” forms an innerbark. Oils, resins, tannins, waxes and phenolic substances may be present in the bark. Cork, fiber, tannins, gums, resins, latex materials can all be derived from barks. The most common yet the oldest and lowest grade us of unprocessed bark is for fuel.

Following are some uses of barks:

1. Bark rich in tannin – a substance used in:

  • a) tanning leather, preparation of binders and wood adhesives, drying fishnets, ropes, soils and clothing.
  • b) insecticide
  • c) rust prevention
  • d) ink manufacture
  • e) medicines

The barks of kamatchili, some mangrove species like “bakawan-babae”, busaing, langaral, pototan and ceriops tagal are the main sources of tanning materials.

2) Bast fiber – another portion of the bark found just under the outer bark – strong, tough and durable and can be made into cloth, turinas, bowstrings, fish lines, sacks. Paper from mulberry and salago have fine bast fibers which can be made into high grade quality paper such as bank notes and checks.

Those of kalulot and other similar species are made into ladys handbags, wallets and placemats. The fibers of anonang, malabuho, and sinaligan yield silky and lustrous interlaced filaments which are pliable and strong. These can be used in the manufacture of elegant hats, handbags, placemats and wallets.

Anabo, anonang, kulantingan, malubago and sinaligan have tough and durable bast fibers with good folding endurance and bending strength. They can also be made into cordage and wild bag trap.

3) Barks can also be potential sources of saponins – a lathe-producing substance which can be used in the formulation of shampoo.

4) Barks which are crispy are good for making charcoal briquettes.

5) Barks contain phenolic constituents of the condensed types which can be utilized for bonding upon addition of formaldehyde and proper application of heat and pressure.

This self-bonding characteristic of bark makes it a potential source of adhesive for plywood, particleboard, hardboard and other similar products. Barks of red lauan was used to test the potentials of fabricating boards from bark using its own phenolic constituents as the bonding agent. A one-layer barkboard with smooth and seemingly well bonded surface was produced using finer bark particles.

6) Barks shredded to resemble coarse hay can be used as soil conditioner, mulch or as growing media for plants. Seeds sown in seedbeds treated with decomposed Benguet pine bark was found to have a germination period of 16 days only while those in untreated seedbeds took 20 to 23 days to germinate. This was based on the study conducted by the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

7) Bark is also a good chelating agent. The tannin in bark could form chelates with heavy metal cations and can help retain important minerals in the soil.

8) Bark can also form complexes with soil nitrogen compounds and prevent their rapid breakdown.

9) Because bark improves drainage in certain soils, it has also been found to reduce root knot, damping off, and wilt.

Talahib Roots for Corn Fertilizers

A type of bacteria (very tiny organism) from talahib roots by scientists at the University of the Philippines Los Banos National Institute of Biotechnology and Applied Microbiology (UPLB BIOTECH) which can be a source of natural fertilizer for corn. This is why this grass survive even in very poor soil because of this bacteria in its roots (Azorperillum) which can produce its nutrient needs with the help of nitrogen from the air.

Researchers tested the bacteria (called Azobacteria) in corn fields of Pangasinan, Isabela and Batangas. Test results showed that with Azobacteria, use of nitrogen fertilizer could be reduced from 30 to 70 percent. In some cases, where pure Azobacteria was used, good harvest was also attained.

Procedure of Using Azobacteria:

Four (4) small packs of Azobacteria and a little chemical fertilizer is enough for a one hectare corn field.

  1. Mix Azobacteria with a small amount of chemical fertilizer.
  2. Wet the corn seeds and mix well with Azobacteria and chemical fertilizer before planting.

Once planted, it can promote the growth of roots of corn with the help of nitrogen from the air.

For more information, contact:

DOST – Tekno Tulong
DOST Complex, General Santas Avenue,
1631 Bicutan, Taguig City
Email: [email protected]

source:, photo from

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