Brazilian Professor discuss land change process

CaldasDr. Marcellus Caldas, a Brazilian Professor from Kansas State University, USA discussed land change process and the sugarcane industry of Brazil.

Land change process affects agricultural production and eventually making a big impact in the economy. This is how the sugarcane industry expansion affected the Cerrado (savannah) of the state of Sao Paolo and to the newly established Sugarcane Agro-ecological Zone (SAZ) in the states of Golas and Mato Grasso de Sul, Brazil. Dr. Marcellus M. Caldas, Assistant Provost of International Faculty Collaboration and Educational Programs, Office of International Programs, Kansas State University, USA, discussed these issues in his lecture entitled “Land Change Process in Cerrado and the Effects Climate Change in Sugarcane Expansion” last October 23, 2018 at SESAM Lecture Hall, University of the Philippines Los Baños. 


Dr. Caldas, who holds a two PhDs in Applied Economics from University of Sao Paolo and Geography in Michigan State University (MSU), said his study aims to examine the drivers of sugarcane expansion in the states of Golas and Mato Graso de Sul and to find out if the areas by the SAZ was suitable for production under climate change. 


Brazil is number one in the world in terms of production of sugarcane with 112 M hectares in 2018. Ethanol from sugarcane replaced 42% of gasoline needs of Brazil, which has currently at 25% blend. Production of ethanol in Brazil is driven by the price of oil in the world market. If the price of oil is high, farmers tend to produce more ethanol from sugarcane. 


The state of Sao Paolo is traditionally the biggest producer of sugarcane in Brazil. However, the number decreased to 52% in 2016 due to the increased plantation of sugarcane in non-traditional areas in the SAZ. With the land change process in the flat lands of Golas and Mato Grasso de Sul, farmers moved to these savannah states, which in turn, produced 1.3 B gallons of ethanol.  Price of land in Sao Paolo is also high and there is also competition with other crops. Sugarcane producers were also attracted to the tax exemptions given by the government and the established infrastructures, such as roads and ethanol pipelines in the non-traditional areas in the SAZ.  


Dr. Caldas added that sugarcane expansion to the new frontier was motivated to more government incentives, international market, technology development and regulations. Another reason why farmers moved to these new frontiers was the consolidation of the sugar industry in Sao Paolo, which introduced mechanization and development of genetically modified varieties. However, it led to unemployment of farmers and cost of mechanized production increased.


“Climate change will challenge the agricultural conditions for sugarcane in Cerrado. There are no irrigation systems there, farmers and producers rely on rain, so rain, no sugarcane”, Dr. Caldas stressed. He added that government allowed sugarcane to be propagated in the savannah so it will not compete with crops such as soybean and corn in other areas, since it will create a food crisis in Brazil. 


More than 50 faculty, staff and students attended the lecture of Dr. Caldas, who was a former classmate of Mr. Dante K. Vergara, University Researcher and Affiliate Professor of SESAM, at MSU, USA.

PNEE international conference highlights importance of Environmental Education

2018 11th PNEE2018 PNEE at Estancia, Iioilo. More than 200 environmental professionals attended this year's international conference and scientific meeting of the Philippine Network of Educators on Environment.

The Philippine Network of Educators on Environment (PNEE) successfully held its 11thInternational Conference and Scientific Meeting last 17-19 October 2018 at Estancia, Iloilo, Philippines with Northern Iloilo Polytechnic State College (NIPSC) as its host. With a total of 54 higher educational institutions and non-government organizations represented by 202 professionals in attendance, that brought together 146 papers for oral and poster presentations, the conference has called for concrete actions among PNEE member institutions in response to the theme, “Environmental Education 2030: Integrating Science, Policy and Actions Towards Inclusive Growth.”


Now on its 32ndyear, the PNEE has been organizing its annual conference to: serve as a platform for educators to share knowledge and practices on Environmental Education for sustainable development; set directions how to enhance education, research and extension programs; and renew commitment on the development of innovative environmental education (EE) approaches designed to make every individual and institutional member of PNEE a champion of environment-friendly lifestyle.The PNEE being at the forefront in advancing the theory and practice of environmental education in the Philippines, its strong 68 member-institutions are in strategic positions to effect change via the formulation of strategies in instruction, research and extension. Overall, the conference focused on discussing several initiatives of its members on how to effectively promote critical thinking, problem solving, and operational decision-making skills among Filipino students. For this year, the PNEE also aims to highlight current and relevant work of its member institutions in three aspects: Science, Policy and Actions. 


The first day focused on “Science” covering papers and analyses highlighting the key results and findings of environmental education researches for improved environmental governance. The second and third day focused on “Policy” and “Actions” highlighting papers that espouse the value of environmental education in responding to policy/ies needs; innovations in linking research results and policy actions; impact evaluations of policy interventions; and governance systems. The conference brought four distinguished keynote speakers who provided distinct yet interrelated topics on Environmental Education. For the first day, Dir. Monica Collier, the Country Director of Peace Corps Philippines discussed the topic on volunteerism in development; and followed by Dr. Mikihiko Watanabe of Yamanashi University discussing various theoretical frameworks on Environmental Education. For the second day, the invited speakers were Dr. Nestor Castro of the Department of Anthropology of UP Diliman who elaborated on how the National Environmental Education Action Plan (2018-2040) of the Philippines were crafted; and, Atty. Ma Paz “Ipat” Luna, a current Regional Director of DENR-CALABARZON and former DENR Undersecretary elaborating who talked about the current environmental education challenges. 


For this year, the PNEE Board of Directors has issued a Resolution proclaiming its strong commitment to a long-term and comprehensive national roadmap for Environmental Education in the Philippines that systematically integrates the Science, Policy and Actions towards the achievement of inclusive growth.”After its plenary reading, a copy has been submitted to Atty. Ipat Luna of DENR. Also during the conference, the members of PNEE has started their discussion on the draft White Paper on Environmental Education in the Philippines, which aims to identify specific strategies how the NEEAP could be made more localized at the university level.


On the other hand, a total of 5 papers were adjudged as best conference papers representing various categories: Biological and Ecological Studies and its applications; Physical Sciences and its Applications; Linking Social Science and Management; Environmental Extension; and, Environmental Education and Pedagogical Studies. The best paper winners are from Cavite State University, UNESCO-IHE, Department of Agriculture-Region 5, Bukidnon State University, and John B. Lacson College Foundation-Bacolod, respectively. The Best Poster Award goes to the Surigao Del Sur State University.


Next year’s PNEE conference will be held in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan and to be hosted by the Palawan State University. (Rico C. Ancog)


everyone is cordially invited

Poster Land Change Process

SESAM Alumni Promote Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education for Environmental Sustainability

Natl Sci CruzNational Scientist Dr. Lourdes Cruz introduced to SESAM the Future Earth Philippines Program during the Loyalty Alumni Symposium last October 10, 2018.

The School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM), in cooperation with the SESAM Alumni Association, held its 10thAlumni Homecoming Symposium last October 10, 2018 at SESAM Lecture Hall with the theme “SESAM Alumni and Sustainable Development Goal 4: Ensure Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education and Promote Lifelong Learning for All”.

This year’s awardees are Dr. Ramon M. Docto (PhD in Environmental Science 2003), University President of Palawan State University, as the Outstanding SESAM Alumnus for Institutional Service; and Dr. Mari-Ann M. Acedera (PhD in Environmental Science 2013), Director of Marine Resource Research Division of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), as the Outstanding SESAM Alumna for Research and Development.

The awardees received a bust of Macli-ing Dulag, an environmental hero of the Philippines, to commemorate his contributions to raising the need for a more careful analysis of development projects that is anchored on social justice and sustainable development. The bust was made by Ms. Yvette Co, a local artist in Los Baños and Project Director of Ginhawa Craft Studio Café. In the coming years, the token, in honor of Macli-ing Dulag, will also be awarded to future outstanding SESAM Alumni with hopes of inspiring people through the story of sacrifice that Dulag exhibited in his life.

Dr. Decibel F. Eslava, Dean of SESAM, gave her opening remarks and welcomed the alumni, students, faculty, and staff who attended the symposium. Afterwards, Dr. Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr., Chancellor of UPLB, gave an inspirational message applauding the contributions of UPLB-SESAM Alumni.

National Scientist Lourdes J. Cruz was also invited at the symposium as a resource speaker. NS Cruz discussed her latest research program, “Future Earth Philippines Program”, which aims towards sustainability and resilience in the Philippines. SESAM Dean, Dr. Faustino-Eslava, together with Dr. Azanza, Dr. Culaba, and Dr. Sumagaysay, are also part of the research program. The urgent need for sustainability and resilience in the Philippines as it is currently running on a non-sustainable mode, wherein the ecological footprint of the country surpasses its biocapacity, was highlighted during the lecture.

SESAM Loyalty 2018SESAM faculty, staff, students and alumni during the Centennial Loyalty Day celebration last October 10, 2018.

In this year’s Alumni Homecoming, a Scientific Poster Competition was also organized to encourage scholarly work using multi- and inter-disciplinary approaches. It also served as an opportunity for students, faculty, and alumni to showcase their research, programs, and projects in the field of Environmental Science. A total of 12 posters participated in the competition that were assessed and graded by Professor Emeritus Enrique P. Pacardo, Dr. Carmelita M. Rebancos, and Dr. Hildie Maria E. Nacorda. The poster entitled “Evaluation of Satellite-Based Gridded Precipitation Datasets in Mount Makiling, Philippines” by Mr. Jonathan T. Macuroy, Dr. Decibel F. Eslava, Ms. Clarisse SV. Siababa, and Dr. Maria Victoria O. Espaldon won the poster competition and was awarded the Professor Emeritus Enrique P. Pacardo Best Poster Award.

Dr. Rico C. Ancog, President of the SESAM Alumni Association, thanked all the SESAM Alumni who participated in the event, as well as the faculty, staff, and students who attended the event and helped in preparation of the loyalty parade and other alumni homecoming activities. (Louie Paolo D. Leynes)

Technologies showcased in SESAM's Centennial Loyalty Day Float

SESAM FloatCentennial Loyalty Day Float. SESAM faculty and staff paraded a float showcasing its projects and technologies last October 10, 2018 at 100th Loyalty Day Celebration.  

The School of Environmental Science and Management participated in the annual University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) loyalty day foot parade last October 10, 2018 at the D.L. Umali Freedom Park. This year a float competition was also included in line with the theme “100 Years of Uplifting People’s Lives and Beyond”.

The faculty and staff of SESAM worked hand-in-hand to assemble a float showcasing the accomplishments its recent and ongoing projects. These includes the innovative Tunnel Ventilation Technology (TVT), which aims to assess the tunnel vent technology as applied in swine and poultry industries; The biodigester under the United States Assistance in Development (USAID)-funded project entitled “Reducing Agricultural Post-Harvest Loss by Developing a Cost-Effective Cold Storage Facility”; the services offered by the Smarter Approaches to Reinvigorate the Agricultural Industry (SARAI), such as the real-time weather monitoring; Project Ligtas (VOTE) for landslide hazard and rainfall monitoring; rainwater harvesting, which was piloted in Calamba City, funded by the Oscar M. Lopez Foundation; and the constructed wetlands, in collaboration with the Batangas City government.


The best float initially had a PhP 75,000.00 cash prize, however, the Loyalty Day Parade committee jacked-up the amount to PhP 100,000 to commemorate the celebration of the 100th loyalty day of UPLB. Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. said the float-making competition is one measure of the unity of the colleges and units of the university. “I would like to see these units work together, and the float-making shows that unity exists in the organizations”, he stressed.


The College of Arts and Sciences won the best float. The College of Agriculture and Food Science won 2ndplace with a prize of PhP 40,000. Meanwhile, the College of Veterinary Medicine won 3rdplace, with a prize of PhP 25,000.

UPLB Conducts Workshop on Water Center Research Agenda

Water agenda meetingDr. Glenn S. Lubugin, Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension (middle), presides over the water agenda workshop last September 20, 2018 (photo: Office of Public Relations)

The School of Environmental Science and Management-University of the Philippines Los Baños (SESAM-UPLB) Interdisciplinary Studies Center for Water spearheaded a workshop on the research agenda on water last September 20-21, 2018, at the Office of the Chancellor, UPLB. It aims to discuss the past and current initiative and research agenda on water of each campuses of UP system. Representatives from UPLB, UP Baguio, UP Visayas and UP Mindanao attended, as this was part of the agreement made last June 28, 2018 during the meeting of the eight campuses to create blanket proposal on water research.


During the opening program, Dr. Glenn S. Lubugin, Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension, stressed the importance of integrating various disciplines in addressing water-related issues.


Representative from each campus were invited to discuss the past and current initiatives on water, framework, research agenda and priority projects. In his talk, Dr. Roger Luyun, Chair of Research and Development Committee of the center, discussed how the water center was institutionalized. He mentioned that agriculture and watershed management were some of the research niches of UPLB. However, he reiterated that there is a lack of repository of database in the country, so the water center envisions to do water resource assessment and database management.  


Mr. Jeffrey Javier of Cordillera Studies Center presented the research areas of UP Baguio. Most of the studies that they are conducting is related on disaster management. He highlighted that water is one of the concerns in their area due to its geographical location.


Meanwhile, UP Visayas, represented by Dr. Rosalie Hall, Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension, revolved on their focus area such as fisheries and domestic water. She also revealed that their university is planning to have their own water center. 


Dr. Joseph Acosta, Assistant Professor from UP Mindanao said that their framework includes different activities on the filed of mapping, GIS application, modeling, land use planning, among others. It has different thematic areas and water is one of these.


“To solve the fragmentation or at least address other issues on water, we should at least agree to have a unified research direction on water” as stated by Dr. Agnes Rola, Chair of the Networking and Partnership Committee of the water center. 


The group formulated set of objectives and an operational framework for the proposal with the main goal of attaining “water security for all at all times”. (Jessa O. Aquino, EnP)