The production of tannin have decreased tremendously due to the careless harvesting of mangrove tanbarks.
The indiscriminate use of sharp objects in peeling and stripping mangrove trees could injure the entire tree and it has effected a decrease in the production of tannin, an important raw material in the curing of leather.
Tannin is either a vegetable mineral or a synthetic substance capable of mixing with the proteins in raw hides and skin to produce leather. It is found in the cell sap or in other parts of a tree as in bark, wood, leaves and roots of the tree.
The bark is the principal raw material used in Philippine tanneries. The bark is either crushed into small pieces and the liquid tannin extract is obtained through leaching in hot or cold water. This liquid is used in tannin and leather finishing.
Mangrove species have been the traditional sources of tanbarks. Among them that have high tannin content are the bakauan babae, bakauan lalaki, busain, langarai, pototan and tanga.
Other tannin sources are being considered by the Forest Product Research and Development Institute (FPRDI) .
Research should look into the effects of various shipping methods used on tanbark producing trees and provide technology for bark collection without affecting the growth of these trees.
Most importantly, more attention has to be directed toward the proper development, conservation and management of mangrove forests for sustained yield.
It is also vital that every possible effort is made to establish other native species into plantations so that the country’s tannin requirement is met regularly.