Finding out the best way to propagate native trees in Katala Institute

Virtually all research work in Katala Institute is related to applied conservation problems. In our native tree nursery, we examine the best ways to propagate and plant food-and nest hole-providing trees for cavity-nesting birds. A lot of effort goes into finding out, what are the best ways to hand-raise and eventually rehabilitate rescued and confiscated wildlife back into their natural habitat. Topics range from improved health-screening, to avoidance of predators and humans once released. Very often data from the fieldwork is informing the captive management of our animals, and vice versa.

Herbarium samples of cockatoo food plants from Rasa are deposited in the National Museum in Manila

In Katala Institute we have the chance to test methods for the restoration of three ecosystems: wood-, grass-, and wetlands. Different management methods result in the development of different animal and plant communities and help us to decide which are the best to restore and protect the complete set of wild species in Palawan. Performance of propagated plant species is recorded in terms of survival rate within the nursery and once planted out, as well as growth performance. A long-term project is to find out how these forest restoration efforts influence carbon sequestration within the vegetation and in the soil.

Measuring knowledge increase is important to find out what works and what not in conservation education

Another research topic of importance is to find out whether conservation education initiatives are effective in terms of knowledge gain, but also in respect to changing attitudes and behavior towards nature and wildlife. This is done through systematic surveys of school classes visiting Katala Institute, or learning remotely, by comparing their performance before and after conservation education campaigns.