University of Bordeaux Professor Presents Karst and Cave Studies in France

PeyraubeDr. Nicolas Peyraube is willing to study caves in the Philippines, particularly the Cavinti underground river and cave in Cavinti, Laguna.

An Associate Professor from the Department of Geology of the University of Bordeaux, Talence, France, presented a study of karsts and caves last September 5, 2018 at SESAM Lecture Hall, UPLB.

Dr. Nicolas Peyraube, who already visited SESAM early last year, is an expert in hydrology, caves and karst, with a PhD in air and water transfer in karst aquifers. He collaborated with a team of civil engineers and environment group of hydrologists and karstologists in his study of Cusac and Lascaux caves in France.

Also an expert in cave aerology, Dr. Peyraube said that studying of caves is important since there can be paintings, engravings, corpses and speleothems that must be preserved as historical relics. In addition, caves are also worthy to study since many diseases can be discovered within its ecology such as green disease from algae due to humidity and carbon dioxide from visitors; white disease from calcite deposition due to changes in ventilation; and mushroom disease because the aerology is fragile and any perturbation can help the development of species brought by visitors.

According to Dr. Peyraube, Cussac Cave, which has a width and height of five to six meters and its 1.5 km long, has paintings engravings and corpse and it is closed to public. Air in the cave is not breathable from June to December since there is too much carbon dioxide. Scientists have monitored Cussac Cave since 2007.

Meanwhile, Lascaux Cave is small compared to Cussac Cave. It has only a width and height two by five meters and it is only 250 meters long. This cave contains 1,900 paintings and considered as the most important cave in France. It is also closed to the public since 1970. The cave is monitored since 1960 and scientists placed more than 130 sensors.

At present, Dr. Peyraube is looking for collaborators, as he is also willing to study caves in tropical countries, particularly here in the Philippines. “There is a possibility that I could work on the Cavinti underground river and cave complex”, Dr. Peyraube said. He aims to monitor the water flow, temperature, electrical conductivity, pH and major ions of the Cavinti Cave, which is found in the Municipality of Cavinti, Laguna. 

About 70 SESAM faculty, staff and students attended the presentation. Dr. Peyraube is married to a Filipina named Dr. Jessica Villanueva, who is also alumna of UPLB and former research staff of SESAM.

SEARCA Agriculture & Development Seminar Series (ADSS) will feature Dr. Ancog's lecture

Rico SEARCA ADSS Everyone is cordially invited on September 11, 2018 (Tuesday), 4-5 pm at SEARCA Drilon Hall.

JESAM joins the 5th CASE Conference

CASE Conf 2018Participants of the 5th CASE conference at the IPB International Convention Center, Bogor, Indonesia.

The Journal of Environmental Science and Management (JESAM) participated in the 5th Asian Science Editors’ Conference and Workshop at the IPB International Convention Center, Bogor, Indonesia last July 17-19, 2018. The Council of Asian Science Editors (CASE) organized the event, in coordination with Bogor Agricultural University. The conference was also a joint undertaking with the Asia Pacific Association of Medical Journal Editors.

Mr. Thaddeus P. Lawas, a University Extension Specialist of the School of Environmental Science and Management-University of the Philippines Los Baños (SESAM-UPLB), represented JESAM in this conference. Mr. Lawas is concurrently the Production Editor of JESAM.

With the theme “Digital Standards and Editors’ Associations of Asia-Pacific Scientific Journals”, more than 15 countries attended the conference across the Asia-Pacific region. The scope of the conference covers the upgrading of the digital standards of Asia STM journals to be indexed in international databases; national editors’ associations and regional networks; individual researchers and librarians and their capacity building; open access and open research collaboration; and news writing, editing and publishing models.

Among the topics discussed were Crossref, Publication ethics by Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), Scopus, Clarivate Analytics, Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), plagiarism detection and manuscript editing.

Dr. Komang Wiryawan, Professor of the Faculty of Animal Science, Bogor Agricultural University and Chairman of the local organizing committee of CASE 2018, said that the conference is the best way to share every journal management experiences and discuss how to tackle issues and how to expand the reach of every publication. “We hope to have more indexing not just for Indonesian journals, but for other Asian journals as well”, Dr. Wiryawan said. He also added that Indonesia has more than 300 journals being indexed by either Scopus or Clarivate Analytics Web of Science.

Aside from being one of the ten journals that represented the Philippines in this conference, JESAM is the lone UPLB-based journal that participated. Clarivate Analytics Web of Science currently indexes JESAM, under its Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE) category. In addition, Elsevier-Scopus, Asean Citation Index and CABI also index JESAM. The journal is also supported by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Journal Incentive Program. With a five-year impact factor of 0.400, JESAM aims to expand its reach and publishing peer-reviewed articles from different continents. All JESAM articles can be downloaded for free at   



Water Center conducts 1st Forum on watershed management and governance in Sierra Madre

Water forumThe 1st Water Forum was conducted at the College of Forestry and Natural Resources (CFNR) Auditorium last August 28, 2018. (photo: UPLB-Office of Public Relations)

The University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Interdisciplinary Studies Center for Water (Water Center) opened its water forum series last August 28, 2018 in time for the celebration of world water week. The 1stwater forum revisited watershed management and governance in the Sierra Madre mountain range towards water security. Key stakeholders of Sierra Madre coming from various National Agencies, LGUS, SUCs and NGOs joined the event. The Sierra Madre mountain range lies along the eastern seaboard of Luzon Island, stretching from Cagayan Valley from the north, down to the Province of Quezon in the south.


During the opening program, Dr. Fernando C. Sanchez, UPLB Chancellor, reiterated the importance of the longest mountain range of the country as a provider of water for irrigation, industrial and domestic uses and its key role in biodiversity conversion. He further extended to the problem of unsustainable resource management which causes decline in water quality and quantity through the years. 


The water forum aimed to identify existing programs and initiatives related to watershed management and governance in the mountain range; identify gaps and challenges in attaining water security related to watershed management and governance; serve as an avenue for public awareness of watershed management and governance-related policies, plans and programs to all stakeholders.


Four resource speakers representing key stakeholders in Sierra Madre were invited to present their watershed management and government plans. Dir. Antonio Daño, Director of River Basin Council Office, tackled the topic “Operationalizing river basins masterplan: the case of Sierra Madre”. He shared the importance of the lessons learned during their conduct of masterplan operationalization: integration and mainstreaming of watershed management program in development and investment planning process; integration and involvement of LGU structure and local government bodies; and need for continuing education and outreach.


Meanwhile, Mr. Conrado Vargas, Secretary of Save Sierra Madre Network, echoed the importance of organizational development and mobilization of stakeholders for the protection of Sierra Madre during his talk entitled “Mobilizing stakeholders for Sierra Madre: Strengthening the Sierra Madre Network”.


For her part, Ms. Adelina Santos-Borja, manager of Resource Management and Development Department of the Laguna Lake Development Authority, discussed the “Integrated water resources management in small watersheds around Laguna Lake”. She stressed the need for research, data and information through strong partnerships with research institutions for informed policies and decisions to have appropriate watershed management plans.


For. Abelardo H. Angadol, Jr., Environmental and Watershed Management Section of Planning and Programming Division-National Irrigation Administration, talked about the “Watershed Management at the Sierra Madre for Sustaining Irrigations Systems in Luzon”. He pointed out some issues and problems such as lack of jurisdiction and limited resources to rehabilitate watersheds supporting NISs.


Dr. Rex Victor Cruz, Professor, College of Forestry and Natural Resources-UPLB, highlighted the importance of stakeholder participation in watershed governance and inclusion of comprehensive watershed and watershed-based land use planning to come-up with integrated development planning.


The group identified the need to have an apex body to address the issues on watershed management and governance in Sierra Madre. This will focus on harmonization and implementation of plans and facilitate inter-agency collaborative programs.

SESAM joins OneHealth/EcoHealth Training in France

RIco FranceDr. Rico Ancog (left) with participants of the France Excellence Summer on OneHealth approach to fight antimicrobial resistance training in Montpellier, France last July 2018.

The School supported the participation of Dr. Rico Ancog in the France Excellence Summer on OneHealth approach to fight antimicrobial resistance held in the headquarters of the Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) in Montpellier, France, last July 2018. Dr. Ancog is an assistant professor and UP Scientist III at the School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) in the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), and the UPLB’s focal person for CIRAD GREASE Research Network for emerging risks in Southeast Asia where UPLB is an associate member.

As a champion of multi- and inter-disciplinary approach, SESAM is investing on how OneHealth/EcoHealth approaches/frameworks could be effectively operationalized for a more holistic understanding of the environmental challenges besetting agro-ecosystems. The growing concerns on negative impacts of unregulated agricultural activities has necessitated the interest of utilizing multi- and interdisciplinary approaches and tools to systematically contain potentially large-scale epizootics, prevent spillover of zoonotic bacteria into the food chain, and ultimately to ensure sustainable livestock production. A growing concern on emerging risks and zoonotic diseases warrants a deeper understanding of its environmental underpinnings for a more proactive planning and effective interventions implementation.

After the training, Dr. Ancog is expected to help in coordinating with CIRAD and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) in initiating OneHealth/EcoHealth Initiative Platform for Southeast Asia where various modalities are to be implemented to benefit SESAM students and researchers such as through the training-workshop by the last quarter of 2018 and research projects in 2019. 

Taiwanese Scientists at SESAM to Discuss Meteorology

2018 8 8 18   taiwan lectureMeteorology garden. Four Taiwanese scientists (from left) Drs. Yin Hsiao-Yuan, Chi Luh Hsiang, Chang Wei Yu and Lo Tzu-Ting presented their respective studies on meteorological sciences at SESAM, UPLB. 


Four scientists from different Taiwanese institutions visited the School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) to lecture on meteorology and disaster prevention last August 8, 2018 at SESAM Lecture Hall. The lectures are part of the collaboration between the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) and the Taiwan Council of Agriculture-Soil and Water Conservation Bureau.


Dr. Yin Hsiao-Yuan, Deputy Chief Engineer and Director of Debris Flow Disaster Prevention Center, Soil and Water Conservation Bureau, Council of Agriculture presented his research entitled “Non-structural countermeasures against debris flow disaster in Taiwan”. His study included utilization of localized rainfall-based debris flow warning system and the installation of sensors in strategic locations in landslide prone areas dam vicinities, which will detect vibration signals for debris flows. Aside from these sensors, their agency uses mobile debris flow monitoring stations, as well as portable monitoring stations.


Dr. Yin also stressed that their aim is to establish disaster resilient communities and to encourage people to join debris flow disaster prevention groups.  He added that in the Taiwanese Disaster Prevention and Protection Act, the government should warn the community about the possibility of landslides in a locality. Residents that will not heed to the evacuation advice of the authorities will be given a fine ticket amounting to NT$ 50,000. “Residents have a right to stay, but local authorities marked and documented their houses. If they get injured, they cannot blame the authorities since the videos will show that they opted not to leave their place despite the warnings”, Dr. Yin said. 


Meanwhile, Dr. Chi Luh Hsiang’s presentation entitled “Introduction of Japan’s Himawari-8 Geostation Satellite” featured the capacity for detecting meteorological occurrences such as solar radiation for agriculture and green energy, monitoring of dust storms and rainfall estimates. Dr. Luh, a Technical Specialist of the Metorological Satellite Center, Taiwan Central Weather Bureau (CWB), said they also study convective initiation, Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies, Marine Chlorophyll, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and sea surface currents.


Dr. Chang Wei Yu, Assistant Professor, Chinese Culture University, discussed his research entitled “The study of microphysical characteristics of heavy precipitation systems from disrometer and dual-polarmetric radar.” Dr. Chang, who visited SESAM-UPLB last earlier this year, said they installed the PARticel SIze VELocity (Parsivel) equipment at the PAGASA-Agromet UPLB Station last May 2, 2018 and the technology was able to measure rain drop size, which is correlated also with rainfall intensity. 


Lastly, Dr. Lo Tzu-Ting, a Technical Specialist at the Weather Forecast Center, Taiwanese CWB, discussed her study on “The evaluations of a two-week tropical cyclone (TC) forecasts from the NCEP GEFSv11 Reforecasts”. The study was able to use CWB TC trackers to objectively detect two-week cyclones developing in the Western Pacific region. 


Dr. Decibel F. Eslava, Dean of SESAM, extended her gratitude to the Taiwanese scientists who visited and shared their knowledge to SESAM faculty, staff and the students, particularly to incoming MS and PhD Environmental Science majors who are planning to take meteorology and disaster risk reduction and management as their respective research topics.