Scientist Profile

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Domingo A. Madulid

Botanist, Science and Technology Committee, UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines (2005)

Expertise: Botany, Historical Botany, Ethnobotany, Philippine Plants (Dictionary of Terms), Philippine Ornamental Plants

Dr. Domingo A. Madulid is recognized says while grass burning helps maintain the population of the palm at stable levels, the demand for the development of other land uses and changing lifestyles may threaten its existence. At the same time, there are the cattle, oblivious to the fact that they are also a source of endangerment to the species. Madulid explains that when they take their regular cogon diet, they often trample the isolated seedlings. Madulid’s team continues to work on Task Force Voyavoy, a program that aims to conserve the Philippine date palm, which was listed as Endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants in 1997. The group works in close coordination with the provincial government and local units of Batanes, including the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-PENRO, Department of Science and Technology, Batanes Development Foundation, Inc., the Office of Congressman Florencio Abad, and the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples. Madulid says the Task Force will be involved with further research on the other aspects of the voyavoy, such as its biology, propagation, medicinal, and nutritive value. At the same time, it aims to promote sustainable utilization and conservation with the help of the local people. Educating the Ivatans will be essential in the process, especially on aspects like the plants’ reintroduction in depleted areas, propagation, and monitoring. At present, the full potentials of the voyavoy are yet to be discovered. It may prove to be a source of income, but for now, it is not the major concern, says Dr. Maribel Agoo, associate professor and chairperson of the Biology Department. She points out: “It is not an issue of livelihood but more of lifestyle. More than anything else, the voyavoy has helped shape the way of life of the people. It represents them.”