UEP Hosted the 7th ACES

ACES 2018ACES at UEP. About 200 Participants attended the 7th ACES last June 13 to 15, 2018 at the University of Eastern Philippines, Northern Samar.

The Philippine Environmental Science Association (PESA), in cooperation with the School of Environmental Science and Management of the University of the Philippines Los Baños, and the University of Eastern Philippines (UEP) held the 7thAnnual International Conference on Environmental Science (ACES) last June 13 to 15, 2018. The conference was hosted by the UEP at their Catarman, University Town campus as part of their centennial celebrations.


With the theme, “Environmental Science, Green Technology and Society: Pushing the Boundaries towards Sustainability”, the conference aimed to update scientists, professionals, educators, advocates, development workers, and public servants on the following key environmental agenda: climate change, variability and air quality; environmental impact assessments; biodiversity and conservation; environment, resources and population dynamics; disaster risks management; land use and land cover change; human health and environmental hazards; best practices and green solutions for sustainable development; and integrated water resource systems.


Formerly called the International Conference on Environmental Science (ICES), the event showcased various oral presentations, speed talks and posters, which signified the variety of research and development works of scientists and other young researchers are doing in the country. Dr. Ma. Victoria O. Espaldon, SESAM Professor and ACES Scientific Session Chair, said that the research and creative endeavors in the field of environmental sciences are thriving in academic and affiliated institutions. “We have not yet reached the majority of 35 SUCs that offer environmental science in both undergraduate and graduate levels, hence there is a wider world out there that we need to reach to create a strong synergy among the scientific community”, Dr. Espaldon said.


DSC 6631aVillarKada

Dr. Maria Victoria Espaldon, SESAM Professor and Science Session Chair (left); Senator Cynthia Villar, guest Speacker (middle) and Dr. Ryohei Kada, Keynote Speaker (right), during the ACES at UEP, June 13-15, 2018. 


Dr. Ryohei Kada, a resource economist from Japan, is one of the keynote guest speakers of the conference. He emphasized the importance and connection between environmental risks and degradation with food and health security in Asia. Meanwhile, the presentation about the journey of environmental science in the Philippines of Dr. Percy E. Sajise, former professor of SESAM, was also played during the keynote session.


In her speech, Senator Cynthia Villar, invited PESA to join her to help in searching for solutions to our environmental dilemma. “We are in the best position to contribute through improving science and contribute to the Philippine society’s well-being”, the senator stressed.


The conference also invited five plenary speakers, namely: Dr. Christina Binag, Professor, University of Santo Tomas; Dr. Perry Ong, Dean, College of Science, UP Diliman; Atty. Asis Perez, former director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and now the Executive Director, Tanggol Kalikasan, Inc.; and Mr. Wilfredo Canto, DMO III, representing Mr. Livinio Duran, OIC-Assistant Regional Director for Management Services, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region VI. 


Around 200 participants from 28 provinces joined the conference. There were 90 oral presentations, 19 speed talks and 48 posters. During the third day of the conference, participants were treated to a field trip to the stunning rock formations of Biri Island in Northern Samar. Meanwhile, Mindanao State University (MSU) will be hosting next year's ACES meeting and it will be held at the MSU Tawi-Tawi campus.

Sajise Lectures on the Journey of Environmental Science in the Philippines

PES 2018Always coming back to share his insights. Dr. Percy E. Sajise discussed the history of environmental science in the Philippines at SESAM Lecture Hall last May 31, 2018.

It is not everyday that the School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) has the opportunity to have one of its pillars to speak and share their wits to students, faculty and staff. But last May 31, 2018, its former dean, Dr. Percy E. Sajise visited the school and gave time to discuss his views on the journey of environmental science(s) in the Philippine context.


Dr. Sajise, who is a former dean of three colleges of UPLB, namely SESAM, College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and College of Human Ecology (CHE), is currently an Honorary Research Fellow, Biodiversity International and a Senior Fellow of the Southeast Asia Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA). Dr. Sajise is also a member of the editorial of board of the Journal of Environmental Science and Management (JESAM).


On his lecture, he discussed the brief description of the key phases of the journey of environmental science, from its starting point in ecology up to related sciences. He also enumerated environmental problems and how it is interrelated with sustainable development goals. He also stressed the implications to the practice of environmental science(s) and the challenges for environmental institutions and networks.


Dr. Sajise defined environmental science as a “multidisciplinary academic field that integrates physical and biological sciences to the study of the environment and the solution of environmental problems.” He added that the importance for sustainable development arose from the concern for the environment, due to the problems affecting human society.


He said in the Philippines, the starting point was in the 1970s, when courses or modules in ecology and environmental concerns were offered. Then in the 1970s and 1980s, the growing interest in ecology opened up the window of understanding on ecosystems and the influence of human activities. At present, interdisciplinary research program and institutionalization of graduate programs are being implemented in academic institutions. Currently, in the Philippines, there are more than 50 institutions offering bachelor of Science, 31 offering master of science, and seven offering Doctor of Philosophy in environmental scienceFurther, he said the formation of more environmental science networks strengthened the practice.


In the historical pattern of environmental problems in the country, Dr. Sajise said it has have been associated with some dominant human activities dealing with exploitation of ecosystems serving as the resource base; add to that the deforestation, unsustainable agriculture, mining and overexploitation of the aquatic ecosystems. It has been exacerbated by growing population, rapid urbanization and just recently in the past decades, climate change.


“In the 60s and 70s, the idea of climate change did not exist, nobody is talking about it”, Dr. Sajise recounted. He added “there is a need to super impose climate change in all types of environmental concerns, so please bring in climate change in your interests to make environmental science complete.” 

In the end of his presentation, he challenged the audience and said “We all have the responsibility to ensure a livable future for the coming generations... therefore, we need to coordinate, collaborate and consolidate our efforts and capacity to solve the environmental problems in our country”.

SESAM to study Marikina Watershed

CheckdamChecking the check dams. The SESAM research team visited one of the 27 check dams of Anono River in Brgy. Calawis, Antipolo City, Rizal. Anono river is part of the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape (UMRBPL).


The School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) will conduct a study entitled “Determining the Impacts of the Vegetative and Structural Measures in Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape (UMRBPL)”, which is located in Rizal Province, CALABARZON. This project funded by the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO)-Rizal, aims at providing a science-based information to ascertain that the interventions made are worth the funding and be able to determine the potential for enhancement and continuity.


Due to the current degraded condition of the Upper Marikina Watershed resulting from the continuous and careless resource use and practices over a long period of time, so many problems and issues came up in landscape. These are rapid urban development and increase in population and the consequent excessive and indiscriminate discharge of pollutants and wastes; improper land use management and increase in conflicts over land uses and allocation; rapidly depleting water resources and consequent conflicts over water use and allocation; and lack of capacity and resources of stakeholders and responsible organizations to pursue appropriate developmental solutions.


The project, which is led by Dr. Marisa J. Sobremisana, Assistant Professor, SESAM, said that the project will have a duration of one year with a training component for the sustainability of the initiatives. 


The project team already made a reconnaissance trip and initial survey of the biodiversity of the project site in the Municipality of San Mateo and City of Antipolo, Rizal. Re-elected Barangay Chairman Allan A. Abonio,  Barangay Calawis, Antipolo City, Rizal, said this study will help his community not only in protecting the watershed but will also protect themselves from hazards of environmental degradation. 


The researchers also visited check dams, cocomatting project sites and the National Greening Program (NGP) sites of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) last May 17 to 18, 2018.   


The study will have an impact assessment to be undertaken by phases. Among the intervention that will be given priority are impacts of check dams, cocomatting, bench terracing using vetiver grass and biodiversity. Quantitative measurements of the specific parameters will be able to determine the effectiveness of such projects. While the monitoring is being undertaken, preparation of research protocols or guidelines in conducting research activities necessary to support development activities shall be prepared as one of the outputs. These are necessary for continuous monitoring activities of the DENR. 


Taiwanese Professor Discuss Study on Raindrop Size Distribution

dr weiDr. Wei-Yu Chang, Professor, Chinese Cultural University in Taipei, Taiwan, said raindrop size is also a factor in precipitation estimation.

Aside from rain, wind, humidity and barometric pressure, raindrop size distribution could also be a factor in predicting weather. Dr. Wei-Yu Chang, Assistant Professor of the Chinese Cultural University, Taiwan, discussed this weather parameter last May 03, 2018 at the SESAM Seminar Room.


In his presentation entitled “Improving the Radar-Based Quantitative Precipitation Estimation (QPE) by Utilizing the Raindrop Size Distribution Data Observed by Disdrometer”, he established a mathematical formula in computing raindrop size distribution.


He uses the laser optical PARticle SIze VELocity (PARSIVEL) disdrometer, which can detect raindrop numbers and particle size, fall velocity and raindrop size distribution. Dr. Chang said the equipment also measures the rainfall of the different parts of a typhoon, within the eye, eyewall and its rainbands.


Based on his study, as drop size increases and velocity, the raindrop becomes flat. “With high concentration of small drop, the higher rainfall rate, while low concentration of big drop, the lower rainfall rate”, Dr. Chang added. 


Dr. Chang said raindrop size distribution data would really help meteorologists in QPE. The information in turn will help engineers in planning, weather prediction and even agriculture. Further, Dr. Chang stressed that flood forecasters can use the integrated rainfall parameters and QPE since rain kinetic energy can be measured in his formula.


The lecture was in line with project of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), in partnership with Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomic Services Administration (PAGASA) entitled “Heavy Rainfall Monitoring and Forecasting in Mountainous Areas and Early Warning for Landslides” of the research program “Improvement of Forecast Capability on Weather, Marine Meteorology and Short Range Climate”. Led by SESAM Dean, Dr. Decibel F. Eslava, the project collaborates with the National Taiwan University, Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystems-College of Forestry and Natural Resources (MCME-CFNR) and National Institute of Geological Sciences (NIGS), University of the Philippines, Diliman.


This project is funded by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOSTPCIEERD), under the Manila Economic and Cultural Office-Taipei Economic and Cultural Office’s call for Volcanoes, Oceans, Typhoons and Earthquake (VOTE) collaborative researches. This research project mainly focused on the Mount Makiling Forest Reserve (MMFR) and it aims to produce an early warning system for landslides based on rainfall intensity (I) – duration (D) thresholds.


LEAP Forum 2018 focused on science and policies for a sustainable Laguna Lake

sen villa cong aragonesSenator Cynthia Villar (left) and Congresswoman Sol Aragones (right) during UPLB's LEAP Forum.

The School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) hosted the 2nd Lake Ecosystem Assessment in the Philippines (LEAP) at the REDREC Building, College of Economics and Management-University of the Philippines Los Baños, April 17, 2018. The forum is under the UP System’s Emerging Interdisciplinary Research (EIDR) and Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquaculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development-Department of Science and Technology (PCAARRD-DOST) co-funded LEAP program entitled, “Ten Years after the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment: Towards a Sustainable Future”.

This forum was aimed to draft a set of science-based multi-sectoral policy recommendation pertaining to Laguna de Bay’s rehabilitation, protection and management. This one-day event is also a dialogue with legislators and major stakeholders to present critical findings of the study and its policy recommendations.

Dr. Fernando C. Sanchez, Chancellor, UPLB, expressed his gratitude for the participation of the different Laguna Lake stakeholders. Meanwhile, Dr. Decibel F. Eslava, Dean of SESAM, highlighted the accomplishments of the program, especially the flood and landslide hazard assessment of the lake and lakeshore communities.

Representative Marisol "Sol" Aragones (3rd District, Laguna), Chairperson of the House Committee on Population and Family Relations, stressed that since Laguna Lake is very useful for many communities, its conservation is a primary concern. Rep. Aragones, a BS Development Communication graduate of UPLB, said that teamwork is very important, as she noted that scientists, legislators and environmentalists can’t do the job alone, and the protection of Laguna Lake should be a collective effort of all sectors. She mentioned also that congress will already act on this concern. “We hope by the opening of the next congressional session, we can start crafting a new law to better protect Laguna de Bay”, she added.

Senator Cynthia Villar, chairperson on both Senate Committees on Agriculture and Food, and Environment and Natural Resources, reiterated that all of must contribute in the protection of Laguna Lake. “In order for the community to be cooperative, we must make them also a stakeholder, so that they will be more involved in the program”, Sen. Villar said. She mentioned the Laguna Lake program could mirror the success of the “Sagip-Ilog” Program of Las Piñas River, a program started by the Villar Foundation 15 years ago and was awarded by the United Nations as one of the Best Water Management Practices program.

Senator Villar, also a UP alumnus, said the Senate of the Philippines is working very hard to protect our environment. “I am very pleased to announce that the Senate and the House already passed the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act, with 94 new protected areas, this will add to the previous 13 areas, and now we have a total of 107 protected areas”, she said.

Also delivering their respective keynote responses were Atty. Dulce Rebanal, Provincial Administrator, representing Laguna Governor Ramil L. Hernandez; Hon. Jaime C. Medina, General Manager, Laguna Lake Development Authority; and Hon. Ceasar P. Perez, Municipal Mayor, Los Baños.

The study leaders of the LEAP program presented their respective project results during the technical forum, which had six sessions, namely: “geophysical baselines” by Dr. Noelynna T. Ramos, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Geological Sciences, UP Diliman; “changes in lake water and sediment composition” by Dr. Eslava; “land-use cover and watershed” by Dr. Nathaniel C. Bantayan, Professor, College of Forestry and Natural Resources, UPLB; “socio-ecological system assessment” by Dr. Maria Victoria O. Espaldon, Professor, SESAM-UPLB; “sewage treatment plant” by Dr. Marisa J. Sobremisana, SESAM-UPLB; and “Laguna de Bay as viewed from space” by Dr. Gay Jane P. Perez, Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology, UP Diliman.

More than 100 participants representing different Laguna Lake stakeholders attended this one-day science and policy forum for a sustainable Laguna de bay Management.

Water footprint accounting of Philippines' oldest technopark pursued

Laguna Water.JPGThe  Manlla Water Philippine Ventures at Laguna Technopark Inc. is partnering with SESAM-UPLB for a water footprint accounting.

The Ecosystem Services and Environmental Policy (ESEP) Laboratory of the School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) and the Manila Water Philippine Ventures are jointly conducting a water footprint accounting study of Laguna Technopark Inc. (LTI), the Philippine’s oldest industrial estate. This is in addition to a complementary analyses done for other horizontal and vertical developments namely, Ridge View Subdivisions, Cebu IT Park and Abreeza Residences. For almost 30 years, LTI has served as a critical economic zone in the Philippines accommodating 241+ locator-companies significantly contributing to the country’s export revenues and employment generation.

The water footprint accounting (WFA) of a technopark, such as that of the LTI, was geared towards the determination of the amount of direct and indirect water uses across the various business entities’ operations and production. As a pioneering and considered as among the premier economic zone in the country, the conduct of the WFA on LTI is seen as a significant step in promoting awareness on the water consumption patters of big business units. On the other hand, the study also aimed to explore how results of WFA could yield towards the generation of cost-effective information that can be utilized by the private sector to perform risk assessment that can be integrated in its planning and daily operations. In the long run, results of a WFA study could be used by government regulatory agencies to better inform decisions making processes critical for the realization of an efficient water resource use.

For the past years, SESAM has been offering ENS 230 (Industrial Ecology), ENS 242 (Economic Valuation of Environmental Impacts and Natural Resources) and ENS 296 (Environmental Impacts Assessments: Perspectives from Social and Natural Sciences). Results of the study are expected to provide additional experience of SESAM in engaging with the private sector to improve instruction, research-to-development models testing, and strengthen academe-private sector partnerships.

 Laguna water plantsLaguna water teamThe Manila Water Philippine Ventures uses plants to help metabolize contaminants in wastewater treatment (top), which was visited by the SESAM research team led by Dr. Rico C. Ancog (bottom).

The study is implemented by Dr. Rico Ancog (Project Leader), Dr. Patricia Sanchez, Engr. Jerwin Aguiba, Engr. Aljo Dolores, Engr. Glenn Oca and Ms. Ma. Christina Corales. In its visit to LTI this 4 April 2018, the research team has explored the newly established FCR sewage treatment technology, which uses plants and engineered media that provide a fixed habitat for a diverse fixed-film bacterial culture that metabolizes the contaminants in wastewater.