Title of symposium:
Natural History and Canopy Dynamics of Lowland Evergreen Forests on Mt Makiling Forest Reserve and ASEAN Heritage Park, Philippines

Principal organizer:
Juan Carlos T. Gonzalez
Museum of Natural History and Institute of Biological Sciences, University of the Philippines Los Baños

Co-organizers:
1. Leonardo D. Barua, Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystems, College of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of the Philippines Los Baños

2. Khryss V. Pantua, Forest CANOPI Program, Museum of Natural History, University of the Philippines Los Baños

Symposium Summary
Natural history and canopy dynamics of lowland evergreen forests on Mt Makiling Forest Reserve (MMFR) and ASEAN Heritage Park is a comprehensive symposium focused on the results of the Philippine research program, Forest Canopi, which aims to determine the extensive baseline about forest biodiversity and dynamics necessary to understand the progression of human perturbation and climate change impacts on overall biodiversity. It is a collective assessment of forest biodiversity within MMFR which is critical to the re-evaluation of the overall biological wealth, for monitoring of impacts and improvement of conservation strategies. This provides a tangible basis on the overall health of the forest environment, which then translates to better delivery of ecosystems services. The program also aims to fully catalogue the flora and fauna found in the forest canopy level of the long term ecological research plot in the MMFR. Determination and comparison of the species composition and diversity across each forest stratum, from forest floor to the canopy level. Mt Makiling is a very unique biome in the Philippines, as it represents multiple facets for tropical forest research in the country, mainly for the following issues: (1) It has a wide natural ecosystem coverage, from mountain peak to lowland agricultural fields reaching up to the coast of Laguna Lake, with forest types ranging from mossy forests to lowland evergreen forests; (2) It is a historic site for forest regeneration and restoration, having been the site for establishments of the country’s first College of Forestry within U.P. Los Baños, and has a long history for academic support and innovation in forestry and natural sciences, and with development of various fields ranging from renewable resources to forest genetics; (3) It has a very close proximity to urbanization, being situated in an isolated strata-volcano surrounded by expanding cities, and only 55 km away from Metro Manila, and therefore has key implications to biodiversity conservation, education, tourism and delivery of ecosystem services; and (4) It is an ideal living laboratory for instruction and research, providing a critical platform for in-situ integrative studies on forest biodiversity and natural history, their structure and community dynamics across vertical strata. This forest canopy symposium represents a comprehensive presentation of integrative researches on the functional biodiversity, natural history and forest dynamics on lowland evergreen forests within the MMFR and ASEAN Heritage Park, Philippines, and its implications to conservation, tourism and climate change resilience.

List of speakers and presentation titles:

  1. Leonardo D. Barua, Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystems, College of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of the Philippines Los Baños
    “Regeneration and Restoration Dynamics of a Tropical Forest Under Stress: The Case of the Mt Makiling Forest Reserve, Philippines.”
  2. Karla Jane P. Gonzalvo, Forest CANOPI Program, Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, College of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of the Philippines Los Baños
    “Preliminary Assessment of the Forest Canopy Diversity of a 2-ha Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Plot in Molawin-Dampalit Watershed, Mt Makiling Forest Reserve.”
  3. Whizvir O. Gustilo, Forest CANOPI Program, Museum of Natural History, University of the Philippines Los Baños
    “Patterns of Vertical Stratification and Herpetofaunal Diversity on Lowland Evergreen Forests in Mt Makiling Forest Reserve, Philippines.”
  4. Judeline C. Dimalibot, Museum of Natural History and Institute of Biological Sciences, University of the Philippines Los Baños
    “From Forest Floor to Canopy Layer: Distribution and Diversity of Birds on Lowland Evergreen Forests in Mt Makiling Forest Reserve.”
  5. Anna Pauline O. de Guia, Museum of Natural History and Institute of Biological Sciences, University of the Philippines Los Baños
    “Understorey versus Canopy Use by Bats and Non-volant Mammals on Lowland Evergreen Forests in Mt Makiling Forest Reserve, Philippines.”
  6. Khryss V. Pantua, Forest CANOPI Program, Museum of Natural History, University of the Philippines Los Baños
    “Ectoparasite diversity from canopy birds, bats and reptiles from the Molawin-Dampalit Watershed, Mt Makiling Forest Reserve.”
  7. Jocelyn T. Zarate, Agriculture and Forest Biotechnology Program, National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of the Philippines Los Baños
    “Microbial Diversity Assessment in Mt. Makiling, Los Banos, Philippines: Morphological and Functional characterization of Associated Microbes for Agri-Industrial applications.”
  8. Juan Carlos T. Gonzalez, Museum of Natural History and Institute of Biological Sciences, University of the Philippines Los Baños
    “Forest Biodiversity across a Vertical Stratification: Implications to Ecosystem Services, Conservation, Tourism and Climate Change Resilience.”