UM biodiversitystudy team set for field in summer  

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RESEARCHERS for the Urban Biodiversity of Davao City project, which include Milton Norman Medina (in stripes) Research Director for UM-RPC, Analyn Cabras, and Dr. Adrian Tamayo (fourth from left), Director for Quantitative Studies at UM-RPC.

THE RESEARCH team coming from the University of Mindanao’s Research and Publication Center (UM-RPC) is finalizing the necessary permits needed in their biodiversity research of Davao city, and set to start fieldwork by April.

The study is headed by Milton Norman Medina, research director at UM-RPC, along with partner schools and agencies such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF), San Pedro College (SPC), Central Mindanao University (CMU), and the Davao Oriental State College of Science and Technology (DOSCST).

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DR. RONNIE V. Amorado, Vice President for Academic Planning and Services delivers the opening remarks

DENR and PEF will provide data on prior research done on the flora and fauna of the different areas in the city, while the SPC team will handle the study on mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, CMU to handle the fresh water component of the study, DOSCST for the marine component, and UM for the terrestrial or ground study of flora and fauna, as well as the economic evaluation of the city’s remaining biodiversity- rich areas.

The study titled “Urban Biodiversity of Davao city” was funded through the Commission on Higher Education’s  DARE TO (Discovery-Applied Research  and Extension for Trans/Inter-disciplinary Opportunities) grant in aid program, and the process to begin the study started in December 2016 and will run for two years, said Medina.

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ATTENDEES to the Environmental Forum on Biodiversity last Feb. 27

The study will aim to document and create a detailed assessment on the city’s ecological condition, and provide a base line information.

“After compilation and analysis, our data will be converted into instructional materials that can then be used in the classroom,” Medina said.

He said the data can also be used by government agencies to create policy on the protection and conservation of the city’s endemic plants and animals and their habitats.

Meanwhile, the UM-RPC also presented their study on the ecological state of the sprawling 28 hectare Matina campus last Monday, Feb. 27, and found that there is a significant imbalance between endemic species of plants and animals compared to invasive or introduced species to the area.

Medina said their data showed non-endemic species of plants and animals to the area came up to at least 90%, but said the ecology of the area could “still hold.”

“While there is an imbalance between endemic and non-endemic species, the ecology of the area can still hold, provided changes can be made as to campus development to include consideration of the environment,” he said.

Non-endemic species observed in the area included bigger ‘American’ frogs that were overtaking the food sources and even preying off the smaller native frogs, as well as tree species introduced in the area such as mahogany, that in the long run could cause soil acidity and endanger the endemic tree species.

Medina said while the UM Matina campus was but a small part of the city’s environment, it was still part of a greater chain of natural occurrences that if disturbed or lost, would impact the daily lives of human beings.

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