DOST-FPRDI completes study on management, sustainable use of paper mulberry; produces 5 paper products

Published November 15, 2021, 2:05 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The Department of Science and Technology-Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI) has completed a study seeking to assess the coppicing characteristics of lapnis or paper mulberry as a strategy for its control and management and sustainable use for pulp and paper production.

Lapnis or paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera) (L.) Vent (DOST-FPRDI)

DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña announced the completion of the study in a taped report aired on Nov. 12.

Funded by the DOST-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCAARRD), the project is led by Engr. Cesar Austria of the DOST-FPRDI.

“About five different kinds of handmade paper were produced and submitted for evaluation through a paper conservationist,” the DOST chief said.

“Results showed that thin lapnis handmade paper can serve as a substitute to imported conservation/restoration paper. Its best use is for framing, backing and mending paper artworks.”

De la Peña said lapnis or paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera) (L.) Vent has been thriving uncontrollably within the Makiling Forest Reserve area, forming dense thickets that threaten other local tree species.

“To control its spread, a study was conducted to assess its coppicing characteristics and monitor its growth rate in terms of the plant’s height, diameter, frequency and bark yield,” he said.

In 2019, the DOST-PCAARRD approved the project which aims to convert juvenile paper mulberry tree into high-value handmade paper.

“Based on the initial data, Lapnis grows rapidly within four to six months. Its height averages 3 meters and 4.5 meters after harvest of four and six months, respectively. However, its trunks’ growth rate gradually declines after each harvest cycle,” de la Peña said.

The PCAARRD said classified as a large shrub or a small tree with a soft and brittle wood, paper mulberry was introduced in the Philippines in the early 1930s as a reforestation species and as an alternative source of fiber.

Lapnis can grow fast and spread easily via seed dispersal, primarily through birds and other animals that eat the fruit, it said