Victor B. Amoroso is a Career Scientist III and University Professor and presently the Director of the Center for Biodiversity Research and Extension in Mindanao in Central Mindanao University, Philippines. For a decade, he has worked on the morphology and taxonomy of ferns and lycopods, gymnosperms and some flowering plants. With his research collaborators, he has named new species and a new records of ferns and flowering plants in the Philippines. Currently, he is the research program leader on Saving Biodiversity of Terrestrial Ecosystem in Selected Mindanao Long-Term Ecological Research Sites, Screening Indigenous Plants as Biopesticides for Vegetables and Sugarcane and a study leader on Exploring Potentials of Philippine Ferns and Lycopods as Therapeutics for Chronic Inflammation and Cancer.
The Philippines has a total of 14 Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites. One of the potential LTER sites is Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park (BTLNP) in Negros Island, Philippines. Declared as protected area in November 21, 2000, it is home to endangered and endemic species of flora and fauna. However, ferns and lycophytes have not been studied thoroughly. This research was conducted to determine the species richness, assess the conservation and ecological status of the species and conduct conservation strategies to enhance awareness and protect the endangered, endemic, rare and economic species of ferns and lycophytes trough the participation of the members of the non-government organization (NGO). Transect walk and establishment of a 2-hectare permanent plot and delineated into fifty 20 x 20 m subplots were done to determine the species richness and diversity. The conservation status of species was assessed using IUCN and National List Red List while the ecological status assessment was based on field observation, key informant interview and secondary data. Repeated transect walk and complete inventory in 2-hectare permanent plot with selected members of the non-government organization revealed a total of 232 species. Of these, 219 species ferns (86 genera, 31 families) and 13 species (3 genera, 2 families) are lycophytes. This species richness is about 21% of the species found in the Philippines. The diversity value of H’ 1.40 was obtained with Asplenium tenerum, Nephrolepis hirsutula, Alsophila negrosiana, N. cordifolia and Angiopteris leytensis garnering the highest Species Importance Value. Of the 232 species of ferns and lycophytes, 14 species are threatened and 4 are endemic. Among the threatened species, 5 of which are endangered, 5 vulnerable and the 4 species are in the other threatened species category. The 2-hectare permanent plot served as an in situ conservation strategy for long term monitoring and protection. Likewise, the members of Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Farmers Association Incorporated (BTLFAI) were trained to establish their Community Economic Fern Garden (CEFG) as part of the ex situ conservation initiative to avoid overharvesting from the wild. Moreover, this CEFG supply fern materials to their restaurant for salad and vegetable as additional NGO income. All these activities including the Information, Education, Communication (IEC) materials have enhanced awareness about ferns and lycophytes in the community.