Biodiversity Conservation and Ecological Restoration Group
THE GROUP is a network of researchers, students and volunteers worldwide, working to conserve biodiversity and restore, where possible, ecosystems damaged by human activities or natural causes. The group believes that conservation and restoration are requisites to maintaining the integrity and resilience of ecosystems to climate change. Intact and “healthy” ecosystems will continue to provide ecosystem services vital to human survival (e.g. carbon sequestration, water supply, flood control among others) for generations to come.
• Through scientific research, and working with the academic institutions, as well as other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on the ground, the Group collects and provides information, data and intervention support to stakeholders (International and Philippine national government agencies, Local Government Units or LGUs, Industry, Church Groups, Civil Service Organizations or CSOs and citizens) for policy reform and environmental action programs.
• Finding ways to restore or bring the integrity of degraded terrestrial ecosystems back, the Group identifies and recommends reforestation (restoration) species that are indigenous to the area. In order to reconstitute analogous ecosystems that are higher in diversity (and thus more stable), compared to plantations of three or four reforestation species, the Group continues to survey intact ecosystems including those adjacent to degraded ecosystems.
• For ecosystems to continue providing ecosystem services (e.g. Provisioning, regulatory, habitat or cultural services), the Group develops, through scientific research, appropriate technologies that are cheaper and easier even for non-scientists to implement. One example is the use of plants (or phytotechnologies) for phytoremediation (or the use of plants for cleaning-up pollution). The ultimate goal is to maintain or restore the functions of intact ecosystems for better adaptation to climate change, where mitigation may be too late. Research of this Group include, finding an easy and cheap way to detect heavy metal contamination (that negatively impact human and environmental health) using bio-indicator plant species.
Esperanza Maribel G. Agoo's years of experience in Field Biology at the Philippine National Museum’s (PNM) Philippine National Herbarium (PNH)’s internationally funded research projects has only intensified Maribel Agoo’s love of plants, Plant Systematics and Plant Biodiversity Conservation. The country’s expert on Cycas (local common name - pitogo), she has discovered new species in the most unlikely places (like private properties); also identifying species from other Plant Families like orchids (Orchidaceae) and cinnamon (Lauraceae) along the way. Current publications and research interests are plants or vegetation found naturally occurring in ultramafic soils (or substrates high in heavy metal concentration). Also in her tool kit for Plant Systematics - DNA barcoding and proteomics.
George Banez’s “action research” interests are driven by his passion to conserve biodiversity and restore forest ecosystems because of years of working with non-profit organizations (like Haribon Foundation) to conserve species and /or habitat through multidisciplinary approaches that include environmental economics (valuation studies), governance or advocacy. Scientific research interests include restoration of mining sites through the use of phytotechnologies. Currently searching for bioindicator plant species that can help even non-scientists detect the presence of heavy metal contamination; and eventually using the same plants for phytoremediation (contamination clean-up using plants). Funding support for this research is provided by Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development- Department of Science and Technology (PCIEERD-DOST) and the DLSU Challenge Grant Support. He is also a consultant of UNDP on developing projects such as the preparation of the Philippine’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) and the mainstreaming of biodiversity valuation.
Domingo Madulid dedicated his life to Plant Taxonomy and to training Botany students and Filipinos on the love of plants and the importance of “knowing” them before they are lost to extinction from environmental degradation. After retiring from his post of 30 (?) years heading the Botany Division of the Philippine National Museum (PNM) and Philippine National Herbarium (PNM), he continues to teach Systematics, and Conservation at DLSU and UST graduate schools, as well as participate as Consultant (actively joining field collection trips) to the Metal Bioindicatior Plant Species of the Philippines Project (funded by PCIEERD-DOST and DLSU) as well as in the preparation of forthcoming projects.
Agoo, Esperanza Maribel, Project Leader - Engaging La Salle Philippines Schools in the identification, conservation, and propagation of Philippine Plant Species that indicate the presence of Heavy Metals in Soil Environments and Evaluating their potential use in clean-up, reforestation and income generation. Funding support is from the DLSU Challenge Grant.
Banez, George, Project Leader - Metal Bio-indicator Plant Species of the Philippines, a High Impact Technology Solutions (HITS) Project conducted in study sites in Kalinga, Marinduque, Rapu-Rapu Island Albay, Cebu, Negros and Compostela Valley under the Program for Rehabilitation and Restoration of Mining Areas Through Phytotechnologies with Ateneo de Manila University and University of the Philippines, Los Banos. Funding support for this research is provided by Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development- Department of Science and Technology (PCIEERD-DOST) and the DLSU Challenge Grant Support.
Noel, Marissa Optimizing Methodologies for Chemical Analysis of Plants from Heavy Metal Contaminated Soils
Santos, Gil Nonato The Use of Scanning Electron Microscope / Energy Dispersive Using X-Ray (SEM-EDX) Analysis in the uptake of metals by plants
STUDENT RESEARCH TOPICS:
Caspe, Marixel (PhD student) - Morphological, Molecular and Physiological Cariations of Vitex sp.: An Assessment of its Tolerance to Nickel in the Metalliferous Soils of Manicani Island, Guian, Eastern Samar, Philippines.
Comparison of Scanning Electron Microscope/ Energy Dispersive Using X-Ray (SEM-EDX) and Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS) of Copper Content in Nephrolepis sp. Roots and Shoots Collected from Toledo, Cebu (Special Problem in Plant Physiology Submission)
Miranda, Clara - Digital Image Analysis on the Effect of Varying Concentrations of Copper on Leaf Discoloration of NNephrolepis brownii (Desv.) Hovenkamp & Miyam. (Nephrolepidaceae) Using IMAGEJ (Plant Physiology Special Problem)
Avanzado, Earl Angelo A., Cadiz, Priscilla Mariel, Lim, Wendelyn Shanel - Comparison on the Metal Uptake and Effects of Varying Copper Concentrations Between the rhizomes of Nephrolepis cordifolia (L.) Presl and Nephrolepis brownii (Desv.) Hovenkamp & Miyam. (BS Thesis)
Borja, Kimberly May and Luzano, Carl Gerylson - A Study on the Response of Rhizome and Rhizoid Growth in Different Copper Sulfate Concentrations and Uptake of Copper Sulfate in Pityrogramma calomelanos (L.) Link. (Pteridaceae) (BS Thesis)
Cruz, Abigail and Go, Stephanie - Copper content in Ipomoea batatas and Curcuma longa Grown in Soil Taken from A Zambales Mine Site and Commercial Garden Soil (BS Thesis)
Filipino, Argee - The Effect of Copper Toxicity on the Chlorophyll Cntent of Nephrolepis brownii (Desv.) Hovenkamp & Miyam. (Nephrolepidaceae) using Spectral Flourescence Imaging (BS Thesis)
Pampolina, Aira Kairina and Panganiban, Maria Susana - Effects of Varying Concentrations of Copper on the External Rhizome and Rhizoid Morphology of Cyclosorus acuminatus (Houtt.) Nakai (Thelypteridaceae) (BS Thesis)
Villa, Alexis Jude - Comparative Study on the Absorbance of Copper by Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott in a Hydroponic System