Applications of Forest Biotechnology for Food and Wood Security

Advances in biotechnology have direct implications in food and wood security. Biotechnology can provide the tools needed for the proper selection of genetically superior trees for breeding purposes; their mass propagation by macro- and micropropagation techniques; the production of high quality biofertilizers including mycorrhiza and nitrogen-fixing organisms; and the production of microbial pesticides for biological control. The long-term implication is on the use of biotechnology in the production of transgenic trees, which may contain genes tailored to produce their own insecticides or to tolerate biotic and abiotic stresses.

Work is under way in the Philippines in the selection, breeding, and mass propagation of industrial tree plantation species. Protocols for macropropagation of Eucalyptus species, Gmelina arborea, dipterocarps, acasias, and others are being studied. Likewise micropropagation techniques are being developed for these trees, as well as for other forest plants such as rattan and bamboo (de la Cruz 2000).

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