By: Estrella Z. Gallardo
The 25-hectare compound of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Bicutan is home to vegetated patch to numerous trees, shrubs, ornamental plants, bamboo and herbs.
It is for this reason that the DOST-National Capital Region (DOST-NCR), headed by its Regional Director, Dr. Teresita C. Fortuna, steadfastly ensures that DOST’s lush greenery and compound will be protected. Thus, DOST-National Capital Region (DOST-NCR) implemented the biodiversity project for the compound with the aim of securing the existence of the forest among highly urbanized suburbs.
In 2013, agency funded the “Carbon stock assessment project” Led by Dr. Nathaniel C. Bantayan and other researchers from the University of the Philippines Los Baños. The study was conducted with the aim of estimating the amount of CO2 potentially sequestered at the compound. The project also sought to expand DOST-NCR’s initial GIS-based tree databased.
A total of 3,175 individual trees belonging to 130 species in 38 families were tagged and inventoried for the study. Results identified that the compound is dominated by young, pole-size tree individuals falling within the 5-10 cm and 7-10 meter diameter and height class, respectively. The notable bulk of individuals falling within these classes are reminiscent of extensive tree planting efforts headed by DOST-NCR since 2003.
Most notable among the species found is Leucaena leucocephala (Ipil-ipil) as it is the most numerous among the species. Other top dominant species purposively planted for ornamental and landscape purpose among others include, Polyathia longifolia (Indian Lanutan), Pterocarpus indicus (Narra), Mangifera indica (Mangga), and Gmelina arborea (Gmelina).
It was also identified that the compound sequesters an estimate of 4,825 tons of Co2 stored as organic carbon within its above ground vegetation biomass. Tree data collected include individual tree location using field Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques.
This enabled efficient vegetation monitoring activities and visualization of the compounds vegetation in 3d. Spatial visualization and inventory outputs of the project were compiled into a book titled “Trees and Associated Plants at the DOST Comppund which was launched on June 27, 2016 together with the book “A Collection of Plants at the DOST Wellness Garden.
This aims to further enhance people’s awareness of the various flora found within the DOST compound and to promote conservation of vegetation in the compound leading to its recognition as an important urban park. (PSciJourn Mega Manila)