The 6th short online course on EIA nets more than 120 participants

The School of Environmental Science and Management-University of the Philippines Los Baños (SESAM-UPLB) through its Continuing Education and Training Division (CETD) conducted its 6th short online course on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) 2022 last August 14 to 18, 2023 via Zoom. This online training course is in partnership with the Philippine Network of Educators in Environment (PNEE).

This year, more than 120 participants from the academe (22.1%), national government agencies (15.3%), government owned and controlled corporations (5.3%), local government units (19.8%), while others are connected with non-government organizations, private companies and freelance practitioners (37.5%) also joined the online course. 

“We are very much pleased to do this kind of extension work, the reason being is that our mandate is to make sure that there are more or higher, stronger human capital with regards to environmental management and governance” Dr. Rico Ancog stressed in his opening message. Through SESAM-CETD, a number of trainings ranging from EIA to ecosystems valuation, to climate disaster risk assessment, as well as forum on research impact series and environmental challenges and solutions are regularly conducted.

For his part, Dr. Ramon M. Docto, PNEE and Palawan State University President, mentioned that PNEE will always support for this training course. “PNEE has demonstrated its strong support for these learning endeavors, we firmly assert that this capacity building plays a crucial role in ensuring the sustained success of delivering services to the people”, Dr. Docto said.

According to For. Sofia A. Alaira, head of CETD-SESAM, this EIA course aims to provide participants with knowledge about the technical aspects and administrative procedures of the Philippine EIS System; discuss the key elements of the current EIA procedures and processes, including the existing laws and policies relevant to the conduct of EIA impart knowledge on how to identify and predict the impacts of proposed development projects and programs relevant to the fields of specialization of the participants; strengthen the technical capabilities of the participants in environmental management, especially in environmental compliance and monitoring; enhance the participants’ skills and knowledge on how to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA); and provide a better appreciation of the application of science in the methods of EIA preparation.

In the first day of the training, experts from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) namely, Engr. Divina Camarao, Chief of EIA Section and For. Riza C. Arjona, Senior Environmental Management Specialist were invited to discuss introduction and overview of PEISS and EIA: EIA as a planning, management, and regulatory tool and laws, policies and institutional arrangements for EIA system; and categories of EIA and EIA process and decision-making. In the afternoon session, Dr. Alma Lorelei D. Abejero discussed EIA in the context of sustainable development and air and climate.

In the succeeding lectures, resource speakers from UPLB-SESAM were also invited. Among them were Dr. Decibel F. Eslava (biophysical assessment: geology, soil, and land use); Dr. Loucel E. Cui (water quality and aquatic biodiversity assessment); Dr. Patricia Ann J. Sanchez (water quantity); Dr. Badi R. Samaniego (marine  ecosystem assessment); Dr. Evaristo Niño T. Cando III (social impact assessment); Dr. Eduardo C. Calzeta (climate change); Dr. Rico C. Ancog (resource economics assessment); Dr. Marisa J. Sobremisana (environmental risk assessment); Dr. Nicomedes D. Briones (EMP and EMoP).

Dr. Victorio Molina, Professor, UP Manila and SESAM alumni, lectured on health impact assessment. Meanwhile, Dr. Pastor Malabrigo of the College of Forestry and Natural Resources (CFNR-UPLB), and Dr. Hussein S. Lidasan of the School of Urban and Rural Planning (SURP), UP Diliman were again invited to discuss terrestrial biodiversity and review of EIA quality and decision-making, respectively. Dr. Lidasan also provided the critique of the workshop outputs of the participants, as they were divided into four groups. The four groups were given one topic each, which include expressway, quarry, reclamation and hydropower. 

Second short online EIA training for 2023 now open for registration

The UPLB School of Environmental Science and Management, through the Continuing Education and Training Division (CETD) in partnership with the Philippines Network of Educators on Environment (PNEE) will be offering the Short Online Course on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Batch 7 on 13-17 November 2023.

No prerequisites needed. A communication letter will be sent upon your pre-registration at https://bit.ly/EIAB7PreReg.

JESAM re-indexed in ASEAN Citation Index database

For this year, the Journal of Environmental Science and Management (JESAM) has been re-evaluated and re-indexed for inclusion to ASEAN Citation Index (ACI) database. The ACI is a central regional database of bibliographic records and citations of all quality ASEAN research outputs published in ASEAN scholarly journals. This provides platform for knowledge sharing on journal quality improvement at the regional level.

JESAM was one of the 405 journals that met the criteria including timeliness of publication, article format conformance with international standard, citations received from other international databases, good diversity in editorial board members and authorship, among others. All published JESAM articles from 2022 onwards will be indexed in the said database. This will be beneficial in the visibility of JESAM’s published articles as part of ASEAN research outputs which can be further translated to more citations contributing to elevation of ASEAN research performance not just in the region but globally as well.

JESAM is among the five Philippine-based journals included in the 2021 Clarivate Analytics Journal Citation Report with current Impact Factor of 0.400 based on the June 2023 Journal Citation Report of Clarivate Analytics. JESAM accepts submission of research articles, theoretical/conceptual papers, discussion papers, book reviews, and theses abstracts on a wide range of environmental topics and issues. (CBGigantone)

𝐒𝐄𝐒𝐀𝐌 𝐂𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞 𝐎𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐅𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭 𝐒𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫, 𝐀.𝐘. 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟑-𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟒

Please be guided by the list of courses offered by SESAM this First Semester, A.Y. 2023-2024. Visit the SESAM website (https://sesam.uplb.edu.ph/) for the contact details of the assigned coordinators of the subject you wished to enroll if you have some concerns and queries on the subject.

NOTE: You can process your COI through AMIS.

Dr. Villareal to SESAM graduating students: “better to make mistakes, than not making a decision at all”

This was the advice of former University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Chancellor, Dr. Ruben L. Villareal to the 34 candidates for graduation of the School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM-UPLB). Dr. Villareal was this year’s guest speaker during the testimonial ceremony held at SEARCA Drilon Hall last August 3, 2023.

In his speech, Dr. Villareal told the graduating batch to be firm and decisive but cautioned them to be wise in making moves in their future endeavors. He added sometimes it is hard to make decisions, but an action must be made. “Better to make mistakes, than not making a decision at all” as Dr. Villareal dared the graduating students.

Dr. Villareal, who is a professor of agriculture, is recognized for his significant contributions in tropical vegetable breeding and promotion of modernization of agriculture and vegetable gardening. An Academician of the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), Dr. Villareal served as UPLB chancellor from 1993 to 1999.

Dr. Rico C. Ancog, Dean of SESAM, congratulated not only thegraduating students, but also their families as well. “This year’s graduates are living testaments of what UPLB, specifically what the school can offer” Dr. Ancog said.  He added that the faculty and staff of SESAM had the noble task of being the instruments of each of the graduates’ journey to earn to their respective degrees.

For his part, Dr. Jose V. Camacho, Jr., UPLB Chancellor, send his warm congratulations to the 34 graduates. “I am so profoundly delighted to join you in celebrating this day today, celebrating the end of an enriching academic journey but also a commencement of an inspiring mission”, Dr. Camacho said.

This year’s achievers who received academic excellence awardswere Mr. Ronnel C. Nolos and Ms. Julienne B. Elca, who both have obtained the highest General Weighted Average or GWAfor the masters and PhD, respectively. Mr. Nolos also received the outstanding leadership award, for his contribution to the national environmental science community.

Meanwhile, the research productivity awards were given to Ms. Richelle Marie B. Legazpi and Ms. Charisma T. Malenab for MS and PhD, respectively. Both were acknowledged for their potential to do cutting edge research works that provided contributions in the field of environmental science.

In his testimonial speech, Mr. Nolos reflected on his journey in accomplishing his graduate course. “Here I stand at the end of another journey, having pursued a masters degree on environmental science, I take pride in having overcome the initial challenges of treading the less travelled path”, Mr. Nolos stressed.

For her reflection, Ms. Elca shared that she learned the essence of collaboration in the field of environmental science. “With the environmental lens we worked hard to develop during the past years, we must remember the importance of working together- transdisciplinary collaboration indeed is necessary for us”, Ms. Elca said.

In closing, Dr. Jomar F. Rabajante, Dean of UPLB Graduate School said he is immensely proud of this batch for overcoming many challenges. “We congratulate you, class of 2023, we are united to pursue excellence and we are one in pursuing the impact of science and research”, Dr. Rabajante stressed.

This year, SESAM had a total of 34 graduates- 22 Master of Science in Environmental Science; 11 Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Science; and one Professional Masters in MarineEcosystems Management (PMTMEM).

Carrying capacity study of Lagadlarin Mangrove Forest featured in SRIS

The Research Division and the Continuing Education and Training Division (CETD) of the School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM)-University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) held its 4th SESAM Research Impact Series (SRIS) last 27 July 2023 via Zoom and Facebook Live. SRIS highlights methods and impacts of interdisciplinary research of SESAM-UPLB. 

This SRIS featured the study entitled “Carrying Capacity Assessment of a Mangrove Forest for Ecotourism Site in Brgy. Lagadlarin, Lobo, Batangas”. This project, led by Dean Rico C. Ancog, was funded by First Gen Corporation, which is one of the leading providers of clean and renewable power in the Philippines.

SESAM Researcher and CETD Head, Forester Sofia A. Alaira said that this project is under the “ridge to reef” principle in which what happens in the upland it affects also the downstream ecosystems such as mangroves. She said the carrying capacity assessment was a six-month project that was completed last June 30. 2023. Forester Alaira, who is the project coordinator and study leader of this project for the biodiversity component, spoke on behalf of Dean Ancog in the opening program.

Mr. Robert Patrick M. Cabangbang, SESAM University Research Associate, said that SESAM Research Division is up for the task to lead SESAM in various environmental issues that we currently face. Mr. Cabangbang said the SRIS has been established as a bi-monthly webinar series to promote and popularized the Schools’ research endeavors. “Its primary goal is to showcase the Schools’ innovative research areas, methodologies and the impact of interdisciplinary integrative environmental studies”, he stressed. 

Dr. Eduardo C. Calzeta, Assistant Professor, SESAM and a consultant of the project (forestry and hydrology), presented the background of the study and methods. Dr. Calzeta pointed out the rationale of the project are: its importance through ecosystems services of mangroves and beaches; balancing economic potential and conservation of the ecological integrity of the area; ensuring that the tourism site can accommodate sufficient number of tourists for the livelihood of peoples’ organization while ensuring environmental protection and conversation; and mainstreaming biodiversity in ecotourism.

Dr. Calzeta said the Lagadlarin Mangrove Forest Conservation Area (LMFCA) is a wetland area, which has a 30.41 ha of mangrove and beach. It was declared as a protected mangrove vegetation by the Municipality of Lobo, Batangas in coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Dr. Marisa J. Sobremisana, Associate Professor, SESAM and also a study leader of the project (carrying capacity), meanwhile discussed the results of the computation of the carrying capacity. Dr. Sobremisana said, among those areas considered in the computation are the swimming area, beach area, beach facilities and the LMF bamboo trail. 

Dr. Sobremisana said the basic carrying capacity (BCC), which is defined as the maximum number of visitors that can fit into a define space over a particular time. Meanwhile, she mentioned that the potential carrying capacity (PCC) refers to the maximum limit of visits that can be done physically in a day and is expressed as the relationship between the hours of operation for the attraction and the time needed of spent at the site for each visit. Lastly, she added that the real carrying capacity (RCC) is defined as the maximum permissible number of users for an area considering its limiting factors. Based on the computations, Dr. Sobremisana revealed that the total BCC of LMF is 823, while its PCC is 3,516 and its RCC is 822 persons.

In the recommendation portion, Dr. Calzeta mentioned the need for mangrove management and rehabilitation and the LMFCA management of ecotourism to avoid damaging impacts. 

For the synthesis and closing message, Dr. Badi Samaniego, Assistant Professor and project consultant, mentioned that carrying capacity is very useful for the local government unit, as well as the peoples’ organization managing the LMF. He mentioned that recently there is an increase on the number of tourist visiting the area, and they identified the need for carrying capacity in order to manage the resources. The carrying capacity may change through time so long as the environment is changing and also it is not applicable to different locations, specific carrying capacity values are applicable to a certain area through space and time”, Dr. Samaniego stressed

There were more than 130 attendees via Zoom and Facebook live in this 4th SRIS webinar.

JESAM June 2023 Issue tackles tools for natural resources assessment and management

The Journal of Environmental Science and Management (JESAM) featured articles in the fields of biodiversity, water resources, pollution and environmental technology for its 1st Issue under Volume 26. JESAM is an international refereed scientific journal indexed by Web of Science and Scopus produced semi-annually by the University of the Philippines Los Baños School of Environmental Science and Management (UPLB-SESAM).

Water use in various sectors were highlighted in two papers considering the climate variability and socio-economic factors. One paper discussed sectoral water utilization vis-à-vis development pressures in a small island ecotourism municipality in the Philippines whereas another paper expounded on challenges in adopting irrigation practices by farmers in a region in Tanzania. Water is an important resource and a valuable commodity that needs to be sustainably managed.

Tools on biodiversity monitoring and conservation that can be used in determining proper conservation and management strategies in specific species or locality were presented in three papers. Use of MaxEnt in predicting species occurrence of Litsea leytensis Merr in several provinces in the Philippines were highlighted in an article in this issue. Whereas another paper presented how community inclusion plays a vital role in validating threatened species in a coastal wetland ecosystem of Negros Occidental. Species inventory of present riparian vegetation that aids in remediating water quality degraded river was highlighted in one article. 

An article on pollution studies were also included in the recent issue. A study on presence of radionuclides and toxic metals in mining areas of Niger State, Nigeria identified areas needing remedial action and appropriate monitoring to avoid further environmental and health impacts. An article characterizing spatio-temporal soundscape in China’s cultural towns was attributed to the urban functions and crowd activities of the area. This is necessary in development planning of the area while considering cultural preservation.

An article on evaluation of longevity of biological media for stormwater improvement from the United Kingdom was also included in this issue. Different stormwater biofilters were evaluated as sustainable solution for urban runoff management and water quality improvement. The authors stated that use of this technology contributes to sustainable stormwater management practices for environmental protection, pollution reduction and promote well-being of the communities.

JESAM is among the five Philippine-based journals included in the 2021 Clarivate Analytics Journal Citation Report with current Impact Factor of 0.517.  JESAM accepts submission of research articles on environmental topics and issues. Full articles in this issue may be accessed at Journal of Environmental Science and Management (uplb.edu.ph).###  (CBGigantone)

Two SESAM Projects join Japan Geoscience Union Meeting 2023

Two ongoing research projects, namely, Project LIGTAS and Project PAMANA, both being implemented by the UPLB School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) attended and presented papers at the Japan Geoscience Union (JpGU) 2023 in Makuhari Messe, Chiba, Japan last May 21-26, 2023. 

Outputs from different studies under Projects PAMANA and LIGTAS were presented by the delegates headed by Dr. Decibel V. Faustino-Eslava at this six-day event. Together with Dr. Eslava were Dr. Jenielyn T. Padrones (LIGTAS and PAMANA Project Staff) from the UPLB College of Forestry and Natural Resources and an Affiliate Faculty of SESAM, Mr. Francis Ian Gonzalvo, PAMANA Research Associate, and Mr. Jonathan T. Macuroy and Mr. Jose Mari C. Lit, both Earth Systems Research Team (EaRT Lab) consultants and current graduate students at Akita University. 

Project LIGTAS (Landslide Investigations on Geohazards for Timely Advisories in the Philippines) aims to improve our understanding of shallow landslides and formulate early warning systems for the country. On the other hand, Project PAMANA (Philippine Mining at the National to Catchment Scale: From Legacy Impacts to Sustainable Futures) aims to devise practices and policies for managing mineralized watersheds in the country. It also hopes to empower government agencies, mining companies, and communities with new technologies and practices to minimize the environmental and ecological impacts of mining. 

Paper presentations from these two research projects include the initial outputs on River Styles in Itogon sub-catchment, sediment erosion and deposition patterns in Itogon sub-catchment using CAESAR-Lisflood (CL) modelling, the use of Landsat 8 and ASTER to map hydrothermally altered rocks in Mankayan Benguet, the fate and transport of metals and metalloids in the mineralized Itogon sub-catchment, resilience and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM), and the development of landslide early warning systems (LEWS) in the Philippines.

Some key highlights from Dr. Eslava’s presentation for Project LIGTAS includes the fact that the Philippines is naturally vulnerable to various hazards, particularly rainfall-induced shallow landslides. To address this issue, the project uses Geographic Information System (GIS) tools and remote sensing techniques to identify and rank the areas susceptible to landslides. Additionally, a decision criteria matrix was incorporated to enhance early warning systems. 

From Project PAMANA, a research paper by Dr. Padrones emphasized the importance of adhering to quality standards for assessing surface water in the Agno River Basin. The results showed that the majority of the sampling sites met the standards for metals and metalloids, with the exception of Fe (iron), Cu (copper), Mn (manganese), As (arsenic), and Hg (mercury). Moreover, the results obtained from Portable X-Ray Flourescence (P-XRF) analysis identified specific “hotspot” areas with potentially ecotoxic elements such as Hg, Cu, Zn (zinc), and As. 

JpGU is a supporting organization of IYBSSD (International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development) through the Science Council of Japan, composed of 51 academic councils related to earth and planetary sciences with about 10,000 members. The annual JpGU meetings aim to contribute to the promotion and dissemination of Earth and Planetary Science, as a whole, through international cooperation, information dissemination to society, research activities in related fields, and information exchange.The group’s trip was funded by the Geological Society of the Philippines (full support to Dr. Eslava, and partial support for Dr. Padrones and For. Gonzalvo). (RMAreglado and FPGonzalvo)