Dr. Aida Lapis, Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau, Philippines
Dr. Aida Baja-Lapis is a Scientist and Director III of the Department of Natural Resources, Philippines. She was recognised as the Most Outstanding Professional in Forestry, Most Outstanding Forest Researcher, Mancono Awardee, Hall of Famer and as one of the top women leaders, DENR (2013).
She holds a doctor of philosophy degree and served as research fellow in the UK, Denmark, and Japan on Rattan taxonomy, Angiosperm Taxonomy and Forest Tree breeding. She pioneered the establishment of a rattan gene bank, rattan museum and bamboo gallery housed at ERDB, Philippines featuring myriad uses of bamboo and rattans.
Dr. Baja-Lapis spearheaded the establishment and operationalisation of the first forest molecular laboratory for genetic studies of forest species, bamboos and rattans with funding support from Japan International Cooperation Agency. She was the research chief of then ASEAN Regional Centre for Biodiversity Conservation now ASEAN Biodiversity Center. She implemented the International Tropical Timber Organization-Philippine ASEAN Rattan Project as deputy director where training, research projects and, pilot plantations were established in 6 ASEAN member countries. She represented the Philippines in many international conferences, meetings and symposia as a presenter of scientific papers and posters.
Dr. Baja-Lapis has authored scientific and technical papers published in refereed international journals. She has also written several papers in semi-technical and popularised versions contributing to the communication of science to the general public. She is tapped as technical reviewer of research papers for publications in local and international journals. Dr. Baja-Lapis discovered a rattan species which was named after her-Calamus aidae E.Fern. and sorted complex Calamus species and varieties. Her rattan book was included in the reference used for the preparation of the World Checklist of Bamboos and Rattans 2016. She is the senior author of the book titled “100 ASEAN’s Precious Plants (2004), ASEAN Rattans (2010), sole author of Field Guide to the Identification of Philippine Rattans (2010) and the senior author of the book titled “Bamboo: The Grass of Hope” (2016). The later was awarded the Most Outstanding Book of 2018 by the National Academy of Science and Technology.
At present she is a member of the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization’s rattan expert Task Force based in Beijing, China, member of the plant experts’ group composing the Philippine Plant Conservation Committee of the DENR, consultant of ERDB on Bamboo Plantation Development Project and technical adviser to private companies engaged in commercial scale bamboo nursery and plantation. Professionally, she is a member of the Philippine Society of Filipino Foresters, Inc, Lifetime member of the Society of Filipino Foresters in North America, founding member and board of trustees of the Bamboo Professionals Inc., and member of the National Research Council of the Philippines, among others.