The UPLB Museum of Natural History joined the Land Grant Management Office (LGMO) in celebrating the 86th Founding Anniversary of the UP Sierra Madre Land Grants last 9 February 2016. During the event, MNH Director Juan Carlos T. Gonzalez and Curator Pastor L. Malabrigo, Jr. gave lectures on the floral and faunal biodiversity of the Laguna and Quezon Land Grants.

In his talk, Prof. Malabrigo highlighted the remarkable diversity of forest trees in the land grants with at least 171 species recorded during their rapid assessment. He further emphasized the presence of threatened tree species, especially the dipterocarps.

On the other hand, Director Gonzalez described the rich wildlife of the land grants including some notable species first discovered from the area. This also includes some species named by MNH researchers after the land grant. He also expressed the influence of the land grant on his career as an ornithologist, having seen the magnificent hornbills for the first time in the area.

At the end of their talk, both speakers reiterated the need to conduct a more comprehensive biodiversity survey of the land grants in Laguna and Quezon. Prof. Malabrigo further stressed the significance of these surveys in order to effectively manage the area.

UP Vice President for Development Dr. Elvira A. Zamora said that the goal of the land grant is “humongous and gigantic” and needs support from various individuals and agencies. She also expressed the support of her office in in terms of investing research and development into the land grants.

UPLB Vice Chancellor for Planning and Development Dr. Marish S. Madlangbayan appreciated the remarkable biodiversity of the land grants but however was saddened by the issues that the office face in protecting the remaining forests and their associated wildlife.

According to him, the challenge for this generation is addressing the said loss to benefit the next generation. He also pointed out some projects that OVCPD will implement to support the mission and vision of the land grant and uphold the welfare of its staff. “After all, the important asset of the land grant is not the land but its people,” he added.

In support, UP Staff Regent Alexis Mejia committed to support the implementation of the current programs and revive programs and funds that would ensure the welfare of the land grant staff.

The program ended with a message from LGMO manager For. Benjamin D. Arizala who expressed his thanks for all the support they receive from the University and other partner agencies.

The celebration was also joined in by teachers from selected schools in Kapatalan, Siniloan, Laguna, representatives from the UPLB administration and officers from the Philippine Army. MNH was represented by Director Gonzalez, curator Prof. Malabrigo and staff James DV. Alvarez, Jeremy Carlo B. Naredo, Julius A. Parcon, David Emmanuel M. General, Edison A. Cosico and Manuel M. Baldovino.

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