The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (DENR-ERDB) emphasized the significance of advancing research and knowledge concerning medicinal plants and forest trees, underlining their crucial role in increasing awareness about potential benefits and optimizing use.

This message was conveyed at the conclusion of the ASEAN Conference on Medicinal Forest Trees on Sept. 7 in Pampanga province, gathering 117 participants from across Southeast Asia.

ERDB Director Maria Lourdes G. Ferrer urged all participants to continue championing research, innovation, and responsible management of the country’s natural resources, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and information sharing to bring about transformative change.

“Through your rigorous research, innovative thinking, and unwavering commitment to responsible stewardship of our natural resources, we have unearthed possibilities that will undoubtedly expand beyond the limits of current knowledge,” Ferrer said.

Ferrer noted that the conference discussions not only deepened understanding but also promoted collaboration for the advancement of medicinal non-timber forest species.

Besides the inadequate research support, the conference acknowledged the shortage of published literature on medicinal forest trees. It also emphasized the substantial threats posed by forest degradation and habitat loss to vital medicinal forest tree species. Furthermore, there is a pressing need for more ethnobotanical and pharmacological research on medicinal plants and forest trees.

The ERDB recommended integrating these issues into the DENR's Research, Development, and Extension (RDE) Agenda. Simultaneously, efforts will continue in collecting data on medicinal forest trees and conducting ongoing ethnobotanical and pharmacological research.

To enhance science communication, there will be an improved information and education campaign on the medicinal value of forest trees, along with increased promotion of RDE on medicinal forest trees. The publication of research results will continue to raise awareness and encourage the use of these valuable resources.

“Together, we can fully realize the medicinal potential of our forest trees, creating a brighter and healthier future,” Ferrer concluded. ###