Tectona philippinensis

Where is this tree found?

Tectona philippinensis, the Philippine teak, is a large tropical tree endemic to the Philippines. It is only found in Luzon, Ilin, a small island south of Mindoro, Madulid and Agoo.  More recently it has been reported as having fragmented populations along the coast of Lobo and San Juan to the inland mountain ranges of Batangas province. Additional subpopulations of the species were also recorded in the municipality of Taysan and the city of Batangas. Most of these were recorded in coastal forests, littoral cliffs and inland exposed limestone ridges at elevations of 5-200m above sea level, where this tree is an important element of the beach-coastal forest. Even more recently in 2016 this species was recorded in Nasugbu, Batangas, Ternate and Cavite.

 

Why save this tree?

This is the only Tectona (teak) species in the Philippines. It is selectively logged due to its highly valuable timber which, thanks to its high density and excellent strength, is used for heavy-duty structural applications such as shipbuilding, bridges, wharves, mine timbers, posts, beams, railway carriages and for heavy-duty furniture, carpentry and wood carving.

In addition, this species has medicinal uses. A decoction of the fresh leaves dried leaves is used to treat menstrual disorders and haemorrhages and the oil from the nuts is used to stimulate hair growth and to treat skin irritations.

Due to the restricted range, degraded habitat and fragmented population of this species there is estimated to be only 6,026-7,300 individuals remaining in the wild. Protecting the remaining habitats from land-use changes will allow the recovery of the wild populations of this species and improve ecosystem services of upstream watersheds that support the growing urban population downstream.

How to save this species

Building local knowledge is important for the long-term conservation of this species. Local communities will be equipped with the skills to grow the species in community nurseries. Selling saplings will also provide an additional and sustainable source of income. Working with local authorities, local ordinances for the protection of the species will be prepared. Natural populations will also be increased through reinforcement planting and facilitating natural regeneration. In order to raise awareness and public knowledge of the importance of conserving this and other threatened Philippine tree species, educational material will be created and shared.

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A systematic, cost-effective, and rational approach

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Assessment and inventory of priority Philippine threatened trees

Carry out and assess population surveys of this species to identify previously un-recorded habitats – a vital step in the overall conservation process. The data generated will be important for updating any outdated information about this species, giving a more accurate body of knowledge which will guide researchers, academics, policy makers, policy implementers and community members in initiating local protection and conservation efforts.

Capacity building of local authorities, local communities and academics

Knowledge and skills are important elements in the conservation of this species. Increasing the knowledge of local communities will empower them to initiate local actions for conserving this species and benefit future generations. Building the capacity of local authorities, academic institutions and communities will translate into better local conservation policy, better conservation related academic curricula and more environmentally-aware communities.

Propagation of quality seedlings by local communities for habitat restoration

As local communities become more and more involved and engaged with the conservation process they will cultivate an ownership for these initiative which will prove more sustainable in the long term. Unlike other reforestation efforts where local communities are used as labourers on minimum wages, this project will fully involve local communities in the raising and planting of quality seedlings which will act as an additional sustainable source of income.

Establishment of ex-situ collections

Ex-situ collections such as arboreta and botanic gardens will serve as living showcases of Philippine native trees and as an insurance policy against their future extinction. These areas will also make threatened species more accessible to the public, promoting awareness of conservation issues and inspiring them to support local conservation efforts.

Improve local habitat protection

Improving the conditions of the natural habitat of this species will also enhance the provision of ecosystem services of the areas that benefit local communities in the medium and long term. Improved habitat protection will come from improved local conservation policy, capacity building of local communities to empower them in the enforcement of habitat protection and enhancement through enrichment planting and assisted natural regeneration.

Increasing public awareness

Produce educational materials such as interpretation signs, posters, social media content and pictorial guides to improve public knowledge of the species.

Partners for Tectona philippinensis

Sponsors for Tectona philippinensis