Clark, Pampanga – The 2023 ASEAN Conference on Medicinal Forest Trees (ACMFT), organized by the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) at Clark, Pampanga, was officially concluded on September 6, 2023.

Some of the gaps identified during the discussions were the risks of endangering valuable medicinal forest tree species due to forest degradation and habitat loss, the demand for more ethnobotanical and pharmacological research, the limited literature and knowledge about medicinal forest trees, as well as funding support.

ERDB OIC-Assistant Director For. Conrado B. Marquez encouraged the participating researchers to collaborate for the advancement of science on medicinal forest trees. He detailed the possible course of action moving forward.

Under R&D, he made reference to the need for further ethnobotanical and pharmacological studies in order to strengthen the body of knowledge on medicinal forest trees and other species. He also made note of the prospect of including the subject in the ERDB’s research, development, and extension (RDE) agenda.

He also emphasized the need to empower indigenous and local communities as partners in forest conservation and in safeguarding endangered and near-threatened medicinal plant species.

Participants were also called on to take a closer look at the access benefits-sharing mechanism under the Convention of Biological Diversity, Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing, and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework for possible application at the field level.

AD Marquez urged the participants to continue publishing research results to elevate the recognition and use of medicinal forest tree species. Promotional efforts must also be heightened to increase awareness and interest in the medicinal values among the general public.

Towards the end of the conference, ERDB Director, Maria Lourdes G. Ferrer, relayed to the participants an important challenge. “I would like to emphasize that this is just the beginning of more collaboration. Together we can create a brighter, healthier future where the medicinal potentials of our forests are fully realized.”, said Ferrer.

In closing, poster and paper presenters were recognized and awarded certificates of appreciation by the ERDB officials.