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. 

SESAM profs assist in formulating the management plan of a young lake in Oriental Mindoro

Caluangan LakeCaluangan Lake in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro is one of the youngest lakes in the country, formed after an earthquake in the province 24 years ago.

A team of professors from SESAM composed of Dr. Rafael D. Guerero, Dr. Antonio J. Alcantara and Dr. Rico C. Ancog has conducted an ecological survey of the Calapan (Caluangan) Lake in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro, last 25-26 March 2018. Being the lake’s overall manager, the City Government of Calapan under the leadership of Mayor Arnan Panaligan, saw the need to proactively formulate a management plan that would ensure sustainability of the lake particularly in outlining of the rules and regulations on its planned mariculture zone and other uses. Assisted by Dr. Marius Panahon, a SESAM alumnus and the current Technical Officer of the Fisheries Development Office of Calapan City, the team explored the Baruyan River and the lake, and conducted focus group discussions with fisherfolks and city officials.

IMG 7101IMG 7109SESAM Professors led by Dr. Rico C. Ancog, Dr. Rafael D. Guerero and Dr. Antonio J, Alcantara joined the LGU officials of Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro, as well as the Philippine National Police in surveying the Caluangan Lake.

Lake Caluangan is one of the youngest body of water in the country having been formed through an earthquake 24 years ago. The lake provides multiple uses particularly for fishing, brackishwater fishponds, and tourism activities. A number of subsistence fishermen from 6 fringing coastal barangays using non-motorized bancas and fish corrals (baklad) of various sizes. A sizable area of mangrove “Green Belt” on the northwestern bank of Baruyan River has been maintained by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) though scouring of some portions of the river bank could also be observed.  Overall, the water of the lake is greenish with transparency of about 30 cm and depth averaging at 6 meters with its bottom being most clayey. An existing floating fishcages for bangus (Chanos chanos) and samaral (Siganus guttatus) are being managed by HAYUMA, a federation of small fisherfolks from 29 barangays fringing the lake.

The exercise of formulating the management plan for Caluangan (Calapan) Lake provides an opportunity for mutual interactions among SESAM-UPLB as an academic institution and public service provider, the City Government of Calapan as the resource manager, and the local communities as resource users---with the end goal of conserving Caluangan (Calapan) Lake as a critical resource. 

Jobus dye study bagged Best Poster in 2018 UPREPS Conference

Suy posterBest poster. Dr. Yusof A. Sucol co-authored the best poster with Dr. Decibel F. Eslava, Dean of SESAM, Dr. Carmelita M. Rebancos, Professor, SESAM and Prof. Mildred A. Padilla of the College of Veterinary Medicine-UPLB.

The poster paper entitled “The fish that we eat and the jobus dye: what we don’t know and what can be done” by Dr. Yusof A. Sucol, University Researcher II of the School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM), won the Best Poster Award for the Social Science Category on the recent UP Society of Research, Extension and Professional Staff, Inc. (UPREPS) 5th Annual Scientific Conference and 9th General Assembly at Shercon Resort and Ecology Park, San Sebastian, Mataas na Kahoy, Batangas last March 21-23, 2018.

With the theme “The Role of REPS in Transforming UP into a World-Class Research Through Science and Innovation”, this year’s conference netted more than 100 REPS from the different colleges and units of UPLB. UPREPS is a SEC-registered organization established in 1986.

The study of Dr. Sucol was based on his dissertation funded by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) under his PhD in Environmental Science. His poster presented the evidences of deceptive fish vending and provided an insightful discussion on the potential toxicology of jobus to public health and the environment.

Dr. Sucol said fishes commonly treated with jobus are the ones we usually buy, cook and serve on our meals. These include bangus, galunggong, matang-baka, tulingan, tamban, alumahan and dalagang bukid. He added that jobus contains 95% coal tar and 2% sulfanilic acid, and his study suggests that coal tar-derived dye most likely contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). “PAHs may cause mutagenicity, carcinogenicity and behaviorial abnobalities to humans”, said Dr. Sucol. In the environment, PAHs can accumulate in soils, plants, fishes and aquatic sediments, which may cause pollution in rivers and contaminate sources of water, he added.

Other SESAM REPS who presented their papers and posters during the conference were Dr. Loucel E. Cui, University Researcher II, who presented her study entitled “Training Needs Assessment of Farmers in the Philippines”; Cherry S. Padilla, University Research Associate II, presented a paper on “Harmonizing National Environment Laws and Policies with Local Ordinances: the Environment Code”; and Mr. Thaddeus P. Lawas, University Extension Specialist II, who presented a poster paper by entitled “Governance of a Municipality During Disasters: the Case of Sta. Teresita, Cagayan Province”.

In the closing ceremonies, UPLB Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. stressed the importance of the role of REPS in transforming UP into a world-class research university and he encouraged everyone to cultivate linkages with fellow REPS to foster interdisciplinary research. This year’s conference was in collaboration with the UPLB Office of the Chancellor and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension.