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Economic valuation of ecotourism resources as a conservation tool for the Makiling Botanic Gardens

XV World Forestry Congress, 2-6 May 2022









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    Preliminary assessment of Philippine threatened plants in the makiling botanic gardens, Philippines: A showcase of the gardens’ ex-situ living collections
    XV World Forestry Congress, 2-6 May 2022
    2022
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    Conservation of threatened plants is a national and global concern. Assessment of Philippine plants listed as threatened was conducted at the Makiling Botanic Gardens (MBG) of the Mount Makiling Forest Reserve ASEAN Heritage Park. Aside from providing venue for instruction and research related to forestry and plant sciences as mandated by Republic Act (RA) No. 3523, MBG also serves as a repository of important native and endemic species. The study aimed to showcase MBG’s ex-situ collections and to provide list and information on the threatened plants including status, their number and location within the area to safeguard these threatened plants and save them from possible extinction. The list of threatened plants is based on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order 2017-11 issued on 02 May 2017 pursuant to RA No. 9147, also known as the ‘Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Law’. Results of initial inventory showed a total of 7,574 plant individuals distributed in 401 species and 75 families. Of these, only 82 species with 2,052 individuals are in the Philippine threatened plant list: eight species critically endangered (CR), 15 species endangered (EN), 39 vulnerable (VU), and 20 other threatened species (OTS). This represents only 8.3% of the total 984 species in the threatened plant list and is still way below the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) Target 8 of 75%. About 45% of these threatened species are endemic to the Philippines. There is a need therefore to prioritize these species for global conservation and restoration. Long-term programs on conservation and restoration of these threatened plants must be developed to at least improve their conservation status. Meanwhile, the MBG has commenced a project to increase its living collections of threatened species and develop propagation protocols to make these available for recovery and restoration programs. Keywords: biodiversity conservation ID:3623523
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    Examining visitor feedback on communication education and public awareness materials of an ASEAN heritage park
    XV World Forestry Congress, 2-6 May 2022
    2022
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    In the Philippines, ecotourism offers both opportunities and threats to natural and social environment. Sustainable and responsible ecotourism is important to minimize the threats. Mount Makiling Forest Reserve ASEAN Heritage Park (MMFR AHP) as an ecotourism destination continues to serve as a recreational area for the public being the nearest mountain to the capital city, Manila. Effectiveness of the visitor management strategies depend highly on communication. The study aimed to assess the perception of visitors on the communication education and public awareness (CEPA) materials of the MMFR AHP. Results showed that the CEPA materials in MMFR AHP, the 160 respondents identified as useful are directional signs (70%); map (67%); videos (51%); brochures (50%); and flyers (40%). The materials serve as guide, additional information, raises awareness, directions, and estimate distance to respondents. Suggested CEPA materials include trivia boards about MMFR AHP and its resources, exhibit, souvenirs, and infographic materials about flora and fauna. Respondents prefer to learn more about in MMFR AHP include history, natural resources, biodiversity, benefits, and role in influencing art, culture, and society, especially in the locality of MMFR AHP. The study confirmed the effectiveness of the materials to visitors, enhanced awareness, and that different groups of respondents needs different ways of communicating and promoting resources based on their interest. Furthermore, helped in shaping the visitor management strategies for MMFR AHP such as communicating conservation through interpretation program and development of package tour and carrying capacity standards. Development of other CEPA materials and programs to capture responsible visitors, featuring the uniqueness of different points of interests of MMFR AHP, and strengthening the educators for nature tourism for visitors to be more aware on what MMFR AHP can offer and the importance of the natural resources. Keywords: Visitor perception, Protected area management, Park interpretation ID: 3623356
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    Tourists’ willingness-to-pay for groundwater conservation, Mt Makiling, Philippines
    XV World Forestry Congress, 2-6 May 2022
    2022
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    Mt Makiling is a dormant volcano that supplies hot water to springs and groundwater in Los Baños and Calamba City, Philippines, spurring the development of a resort-based tourism industry that is heavily extracting groundwater. The paper discusses the results of a contingent valuation survey that sought to evaluate the tourists’ knowledge about the resorts’ water source and use practices, reasons for visiting, willingness-to-pay for improved water conservation practices and the conservation of Mt Makiling as water source, and whether they would visit the resorts during the COVID-19 pandemic. About 50% of 492 respondents were aware of the resorts’ water source, with about half saying that the source is hot springs, but only a few were aware of groundwater as the water source. The main reasons for visiting the resorts are for relaxation and the resorts’ accessibility and affordability. The estimated mean WTP ranged from PhP75/visit (payment card) to PhP174/visit (dichotomous choice), and the respondents were willing to pay because they would like to contribute to the conservation of the groundwater resource of Mt Makiling and because groundwater is limited. On the other hand, some respondents were not willing to pay because they could not afford the additional amount and they perceive that they should not be made to pay for the cost of proper recycling of pool water. Most of the respondents said they would still consider visiting resorts during the pandemic to enjoy the pools and the environment and for the health benefits from the hot-water pools. A higher preference for private resorts was observed because these can be used exclusively by a group. The respondents who do not want to visit resorts during the pandemic said they would consider visits again if compliance with health and safety protocols would be assured. Finally, majority of the respondents recognize that the new health and safety standards for resorts will result in higher fees charged by resorts. Keywords: Mt Makiling, Los Baños, Calamba, contingent valuation, water conservation ID: 3618043

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