The Botany Division
The Role of the Botany Division
The affairs of the Botany Division generally gravitate around the conduct of basic and applied researches in plant sciences. And if numbers were to be strictly used as a measure of productivity, the Division certainly qualifies as a top contender, as it has undertaken a significantly high number of researches throughout its lifetime, and many more are still in progress. This huge effort has led to the production of a cache of literature.
Its most important and scientifically acclaimed researches and publications in the last five years include: "Pollen Flora of the Philippines" by Dr. Bulalacao and "A Pictorial Cyclopedia of Philippine Ornamental Plants" by Dr. Madulid; and "Moss Endemism in the Philippines" by Dr. del Rosario.
In response to the growing and changing research and development issues and concerns, the Division has taken a broader stance. It channels part of its efforts and resources in the following activities:
1. Enhancing the research capabilities of young scientists, and offering consultative advisory services and facilities.
2. Furthering linkages with local and foreign scientific institutions such as the DOST, U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. National Scientific Fund, MacArthur Foundation, Rijksherbarium of The Netherlands, etc.
3. Maintaining an advocacy role on problems of environmental concern. An example is the presentation of technical advice/papers on the Conservation and Protection of Wildlife Resources and their Habitats and the Establishment of a Regulatory Framework for the Prospecting of Biological and Genetic Resources.
4. Providing the public with more scientific technological services through lectures, seminars, symposia, and publications.
In the last couple of years, research has been re-directed towards the broader community. Botanical research and activities focused on the application of knowledge to contemporary societal and environmental concerns - from conducting workshops on plant collection and management, pollen allergy and floristic inventory to conservation of endangered species, documentation of herbal remedies, and understanding ethnic practices and establishment of botanical gardens.
The Botany Division has long felt the need for a botanical garden system in the Philippines. While the National Museum does not have any appropriation for the establishment and maintenance of botanical gardens, technical assistance from the Botany staff headed by Dr. R. M. del Rosario led to the existence of the now well-developed La Union Botanical Garden managed by the city government of San Fernando City and the University of Santo Tomas Botanical Garden.
The Biodiversity Information Center, headed by D.A. Madulid and funded by John and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, maintains a database of Philippine flowering plants which includes data for taxonomic, bibliographic, and economic use. The specialized botanical library has served at least 600 individuals from various universities, government agencies and non-government organizations.