Makiling Forum Goes Virtual: Ex-situ Conservation of Threatened Philippine Plants on the Spotlight

The Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystem brings back the Makiling Forum, this time embracing the virtual platform to ensure accessibility to a wider audience. On 26 January 2024, the quarterly event unfolded seamlessly via Zoom, shedding light on the remarkable outcomes of the “Ex-situ Conservation of Threatened Philippine Plants: Restoring Philippine Plant Resources and Environment Program.” The said research program was funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). 

The event commenced with a warm welcome from Dr. Lerma SJ. Maldia, the director of MCME. Dr. Maldia underscored the pivotal role of MCME in biodiversity conservation.

Forester Leilani A. Castillo then took the virtual stage to present Project 1, titled “Botanical Exploration, Propagation, and Living Collections Establishment of Threatened Philippine Plants.” Her presentation showcased diverse germplasm collections of threatened Philippine species sourced from key biodiversity areas across the country.

Dean Marlo D. Mendoza of the College of Forestry and Natural Resources graced the event with a congratulatory message, offering insights into the college’s dedicated endeavors in the field of conservation.

The program proceeded with the presentation of the outputs of Project 2, led by Forester Leonardo D. Barua, titled “Plant Conservation Education and Database Management for Advocacy and Promotion of Threatened Philippine Plants.” Forester Barua’s presentation highlighted the Virtual Garden’s website, featuring the Makiling Botanic Gardens (MBG), along with various information campaigns advocating and promoting threatened Philippine plants.

A brief health break allowed participants to absorb the audio-visual presentation showcasing the projects and accomplishments of the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD).

The event’s interactive nature was evident as participants engaged in a live question-and-answer session. Faculty members and researchers conveyed their questions and interests to the outputs presented.

Prof. Juancho B. Balatibat, the Deputy Director of MCME, brought the program to a close, leaving attendees enriched with knowledge and encouragement to continue the conservation of threatened Philippine plants.

A total of 47 participants joined the Makiling Forum from different agencies such as DOST-PCAARRD, Institute of Agroforestry, Department of Forest Biological Sciences, Institute of Renewable Natural Resources,  Forestry Development Center, Department of Forest Products and Paper Science, Training Center for Tropical Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, DENR Regional Office V, PENRO Camarines Sur, PENRO Camarines Norte, PENRO Palawan, and Nature’s spring foundation Incorporated.

By: KJP Gonzalvo

Photos by: MS Canceran

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