December 15, 2010

Loss of Two Philippine Friends

CTFS and the scientific community lost two friends and colleagues on 15 and 16 November 2010. Leonardo Co was shot and killed by the Philippine army while doing field work on Leyte Island, Philippines, and Dr. Daniel Lagunzad died of liver cancer, which he had been nursing quietly for some time. Leonardo was a long-time employee of Conservation International Philippines and Daniel was on the Biology faculty at the University of the Philippines, Diliman campus. The two men were prominent leaders of plant biology and biodiversity science in the Philippines.

Leonardo Co and Daniel Lagunzad.

For the past 17 years, CTFS has been working with Leonardo and Daniel and other colleagues in the Philippines to manage a 16-ha forest dynamics plot in the Palanan area of northeastern Luzon. As the lead field botanist on the project, Leonardo identified all trees in the 16-ha plot, and Daniel led the local plot administration. Together they trained many of the students and interns involved in the Palanan field work. They were the plot’s two Principal Investigators.

Their deaths are great losses not only to the Philippines and to CTFS, but also to the worldwide botanical community. All at CTFS pass on their deepest condolences to Leonardo’s and Daniel’s families and friends.