Influence of Growth Rate, Elevation and Sunlight on the Anatomical and Physico-Mechanical Properties of Plantation-Grown Palasan (Calamus merrillii Becc.) Canes
Willie P. Abasolo* and Olga C. Lomboy
Forest Products and Paper Science Department
College of Forestry and Natural Resources
University of the Philippines, Los Baños, College Laguna
Office of the Chancellor, University of the Philippines Los Baños, College, Laguna
The influence of growth rate, elevation and sunlight exposure on the properties of plantation-grown palasan canes was verified in order to promote the utilization of cultivated canes to encourage the establishment of more palasan plantations. Properties evaluated were fiber length, wall thickness, fiber distribution, ovendried specific gravity, Modulus of Elasticity (MOE) and Modulus of Rupture (MOR) using standard procedures. Growth rate ranged from 0.36 to 3.79 m/yr, elevation was from 10 to 980 masl and sunlight exposure from 20 to 90.28%, showing that palasan plants can thrive in varying site conditions. Among the properties evaluated, only fiber percentage was moderately affected by both growth rate (r = 0.53) and amount of sunlight exposure (r = 0.51). Elevation, on the other hand, moderately influenced wall thickness (r = 0.45). Mechanical properties of the cane were unaffected by the three parameters. Therefore, the study proved that palasan plant is an ideal plantation species because it thrives in any kind of site and its properties are minimally affected by the major site characteristics such as elevation and sunlight exposure. Thus, it is recommended that more palasan plantations be established to provide a sustainable supply of raw canes to the rattan furniture industry.
Rattan are climbing palms that belong to the Arecaceae family and utilized for their flexible stems (Sunderland & Dransfield 2002). There are about 64 species of rattan from four genera, namely Calamus, Daemonorps, Korthalsia, and Plectocomia (PCARRD 1991) that are distributed all over the Philippine Archipelago. The continued increase in the demand for finished rattan products, coupled with the unabated destruction of its natural habitat, had placed the country’s rattan resources into a condition in which it could no longer sustain the burgeoning handicraft industry. If nothing is done to improve the supply of raw canes, soon this multimillion dollar enterprise would be lost.
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