The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) approved the P15 million funds for the four-year implementation of the Integrated R&D Program on Biodiversity Assessment and Conservation of Selected Forest Ecosystems in Central Luzon. The formal granting of the fund took place recently at the Central Luzon State University (CLSU) in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.
Led by Dr. Annie Melinda Paz-Alberto of CLSU, the program is a collaborative undertaking of the Bataan Peninsula State University (BPSU), Aurora State College of Technology (ASCOT), Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environment Research and Development Service Region 3 (DENR-ERDS III), and CLSU.
The fund is so far the biggest given by PCARRD for a biodiversity-related program/project as the Department of Science and Technology Council recognizes the urgency to act for the conservation and management of biodiversity.
The program aims to assess the diversity and status of plants and animal resources in the forest ecosystems of Pantabangan/Carranglan Watershed, Bataan National Park, and the Baler Forest Reserve; and promote their conservation and sustainable use.
Part of the program seeks information on the molecular markers of the high-valued species and identify specific gene for medicinal, pesticidal or phytoremediation properties from the biological resources present in the sites.
The program likewise seeks to either establish sustainable development units or strengthen the existing multi-stakeholders management to promote better understanding of biodiversity conservation and management.
PCARRD representatives, Dr. Danilo C. Cardenas, deputy executive director for R&D and Dr. Leila C. America, acting director of the Forestry and Environment Research Division, attended the inception meeting in CLSU. Other participants were Dr. Teotimo M. Aganon, CLSU vice president for research, extension and training and Central Luzon Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium director; Dr. Paz-Alberto, project leader; and CLSU President Ruben C. Sevilleja. Research team members from BPSU, ASCOT, DENR-ERDS III, and CLSU staff members were also present. Roberto P. Devanadera and Mereyll Kyla P. Irader, S&T Media Service