HomeThe Palawan Scientistvol. 10 no. 1 (2018)

Saving Almaciga (Agathis philippinensis): means of cultural preservation and species rehabilitation in Palawan, Philippines

Edgar D Jose



Agathis philippinensis Warb. (Almaciga) is a coniferous tree that forms a dominant component of upland primary forest in Palawan, Philippines. Almagica is valued for its high-quality timber and for its resin, which is used in the manufacture of varnish and linoleum. The species is categorized as “vulnerable” by the IUCN due to illegal logging, destructive methods of resin tapping, and land-use change. In Palawan, collection of Almagica resin provides up to 80% of income for indigenous communities and other inhabitants living in close proximity to the forests. A recent study into the effect of resin harvesting suggested that the resource is being collected unsustainably, leaving trees highly susceptible to outbreaks of pests and diseases, reproductive failure and death of trees, increasing the risk of local extinctions. Thus, the economic livelihood and future of indigenous peoples who depend on Almaciga resin is uncertain. This study aimed to provide protocols on propagation, reforestation, and sustainable management of A. philippinensis. This knowledge can be used to rehabilitate depleted populations of Almaciga. Between July and December 2016, three nurseries were established across two indigenous communities in the Cleopatra’s Needle Mountain range, Palawan, where more than 10,000 seeds were collected and sown in seedbeds. These seeds generated more than 6,000 seedlings that were propagated, nursed and monitored throughout the study. Information on the collection of cones, seeds and seedlings, propagation and nursery management, identification and mitigation of pests and diseases, and environmental requirements for growth and survival were documented. The propagated seedlings were used to reforest declining populations of this species, thereby ensuring the future livelihood of the indigenous communities is preserved through conservation of Almagica populations.