WAO, LANAO DEL SUR — Begonia bangsamoro, a new plant species named after the people of the BARMM, was discovered in Lanao del Sur by a group of six researchers as published in Phytotaxa, a scientific journal on systematic botany, on 16 April 2021.

The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Energy (MENRE) – BARMM was able to reach one of the authors of the study, Mc Andrew K. Pranada, who announced through his social media platform the publication of Begonia bangsamoro as a new Philippine plant species.

“We are glad that the news reached MENRE-BARMM,” Pranada said on behalf of the team, whose study states that the Begonia species is named after the Bangsamoro people “which refers to the thirteen ethnolinguistic groups native to the southern Philippines.”

The population of Begonia bangsamoro thrives on the forest floor and along the riverbanks of Ginapukan river in Sitio Trese, Barangay Banga, Wao, Lanao del Sur.

According to the study, the new plant species may face a potential decline in population due to the continuous clearing of forests and plantation expansion of cash crops in these fragmented areas. With its very small number restricted in the province of Lanao del Sur, the researchers “provisionally classified” B. bangsamoro as endangered as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

“As provided in the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the Bangsamoro Government through the MENRE shall give priority to the protection, conservation, and development of natural resources that will support ecological balance and biodiversity conservation,” the BARMM Senior Minister and concurrent MENRE Minister Abdulraof A. Macacua said.
“This includes the management of the region’s biodiversity to ensure the protection of any rare, threatened, or endangered species and habitat critical to their survival,” the Minister added.

The MENRE, through the Biodiversity Management Services, shall formulate, recommend and implement policies, guidelines, projects, rules, and regulations for the protection and preservation of biological diversity, genetic resources, and the endangered flora and fauna in the Bangsamoro region.

With the Begonia bangsamoro settled in Lanao del Sur, the Provincial Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy Office shall also act on the implementation of the Ministry’s programs and projects towards biodiversity conservation and protection in the province.

For the full text of the study, images, and complete list of its authors, please check this link and learn more about Begonia bangsamoro: https://bit.ly/2Q6Aai8