RD supports conservation nursery project

August 13, 2020


The Research Directorate (RD) of the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) collaborated with the Ilocos Agriculture and Aquatic Resources Research and Development Consortium (ILAARRDEC) in the implementation of the biodiversity conservation nursery project in MMSU as part of the latter’s mandate of conserving the agriculture, aquatic and natural resources.

Led by the RD director, Dr. Marilou P. Lucas, researchers and other RD personnel based at the Crops Research Laboratory (CRL) responded to the call of Dr. Epifania O. Agustin, former MMSU Vice President for Research, Extension and Business, now MMSU Executive Assistant and ILAARRDEC Interim Director, for voluntary donations of seeds or seedlings of different palm species. As a result, 15 species were initially collected which are now being reared in the said nursery. These are the nipa, rattan, macarthur, blue palm, pygmy date palm, coconut, parlor palm, anahaw, fishtail, licuala, champagne, lipstick palm, Christmas palm, lady palm, and an unidentified species. The pictures and characteristics of the palm collections were consolidated by ILAARRDEC in a brochure, copies of which were distributed during the launching of the conservation nursery held last July 24 that was graced by the University President Dr. Shirley C. Agrupis, some members of the administrative council, researchers, and staff of the ILAARDEC and Extension Directorate.

The establishment of the conservation nursery was inspired by the previous research studies of MMSU on plant genetic resources which germplasm collections of indigenous food plants (IFP) were propagated in the IFP Botanical garden at CRL complex and the launching of the College of Aquatic Sciences and Applied Technology (CASAT) and the College of Agriculture, Food, and Sustainable Development (CAFSD)-Dingras campus, as Palm and Plumeria college, respectively, in the past two years. Dr. Agustin said that for a start, collection of different palm species is the focus this year and to expand to other plant species. With the presence of the nursery, Dr. Agustin is hopeful that it will supply planting materials for future tree planting activities of the university and eventually become a commercial nursery that could bring income to MMSU. Meanwhile, existing resources under the Research Services to include the once idle screenhouses at CRL complex are being used as there is no allocated budget yet for the project.

During the launching program, President Agrupis, thanked the ILAARRDEC, RD and other donors of the palms for making the project possible. She, likewise, recognized the RD’s efforts in making the screenhouses at CRL functional. Though, these were originally planned long before to house a hydrophonics project that still yet to materialize, Dr. Agrupis is still delighted that the first activity to be inaugurated in the said space is a very significant part of MMSU because this will be the support system of National Bioenergy Research and Innovation Center (NBERIC) where nipa is the focused raw material for ethanol production.

The collection of palm species is a continuing activity of the RD and the management of the nursery was assigned to the NBERIC staff of the RD.

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