In celebration of the International Day of Forests, Forester and  Asst. Prof. Karl Abelard Edberto L. Villegas, Jr., together with Professor Consuelo Dl. Habito, from  the Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS), presented  “Going Native: Challenges and Opportunities in Philippine Native Tree Species Utilization” during the 2023 World Wood Day Online Symposium & The Fifth International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) Forest Products Culture Colloquium last 21 – 22 March 2023. The 2023 World Wood Day theme was “Wood in Cultural Heritage” with the sub-theme “Challenges and Opportunities for Historical, Contemporary and Future Wood and Non-Wood Forest Products Culture”.

Asst. Prof.  Villegas discussed the issues and challenges that the forestry sector in the country is facing, such as overharvesting, timber poaching and illegal logging — and how these unsustainable activities have led to a substantial decline in the availability and supply of forest-based materials and products.  This has affected the viability of the once flourishing forest-based industry in the country from the 1960s-70s.  However, the utilization of forest products has been part of the daily livelihood, culture, and traditions amongst the Filipino rural communities.  In view of this situation, the presentation highlighted how the sustainable management and utilization of lesser-known Philippine native trees could serve as an alternative source of wood materials to premium slow-growing and threatened forest species as well as exotic trees in addressing these issues and challenges.

Philippine native trees from left to right: Akleng Parang (Albizia procera), Amugis (Koordersiodendron pinnatum), Bagras (Eucalyptus deglupta), Molve (Vitex parviflora), Paraiso (Melia azedarach)Source: Asst. Prof. Karl Abelard Edberto L. Villegas, Jr.

World Wood Day is an annual event observed around the world with the goals of 1) recognizing the importance of wood and wood use in daily life; and 2) promoting harmonious coexistence between people and nature.  Aside from the celebration of the International Day of Forests, this event also supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): 1) No Poverty; 4) Quality Education; 5) Gender Equality; 8) Decent Work and Economic Growth; 9) Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure; 11) Sustainable Cities and Communities; 12) Responsible Consumption and Production; 13) Climate Action; 15) Life on Land; and 17) Partnerships to Achieve the Goal.

The symposium was participated in by academic scholars, industry experts, practitioners and artisans involved in wood science and culture, research and development, including technological innovations towards advancing the sustainable management and conservation of forests and other forest products.

Reference: World Wood Day 2023. Retrieved from

Written by Rhea Ariele Pascua • Edited by Consuelo Habito, Karl Villegas, and Larry Cruz

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