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Environmental science in focus at conference

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By Marie Tonette Grace Marticio

Catarman, Northern Samar – Foreign and local scientists, students and practitioners are expected to attend the two-day 7th Annual International Conference on Environmental Science (ACES) that begins June 13 at the University of Eastern Philippines (UEP).

ACES aims to highlight the results of research on environmental issues such as climate change, environmental impact assessment protocols, biodiversity and conservations, environment-resources-population dynamics, disaster risk management, best practices and green solutions.

UEP President Dr. Rolando Delorino said the conference is part of UEP’s year long centennial celebration, which will end on June 20.

“The value of environmental science in pressing issues inherited from the past will be highlighted in open forums and related activities that have been structured for this event. We want to bring UEP’s prestige to national and international consideration, upgrading into a research university and a university of choice,” Delorino said.

In 2016, UEP was given the Center of Development in Environmental Science award by the Commission on Higher Education (ChED).

Dr. Ryohei Kada, professor of Agricultural Economics at Shijonawate Gakuen University, in Osaka, Japan, and one of the keynote speakers, stressed the need for a deeper understanding of the relationship between environment deterioration and its impact on food and health security, considering that “Asia is experiencing a significant transformation of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.”

“What we are doing upstream is affecting downstream. The damages will not only result in huge economic loss, but also affect serious public health issues in urban areas located downstream, such as Laguna Lake and Sekampung watershed in West Sumatra, Indonesia,” Kada said.

He stressed the role of stakeholders in achieving sustainable ecosystem services in regional communities.

“Policy changes are needed to provide alternatives for farmer’s decision on land-use systems and crop rotations to manage ecological risks and to ensure the level of profitability of agroforestry systems in watersheds,” he said.

“We have developed community-friendly methods of enhancing through Science, the local adaptation option for reducing the impacts of fish kills and lake pollution on the livelihood of open water fisherfolk,” Kada said.

The conference was spearheaded by the Philippine Environmental Science Association (PESA), a consortium of higher education institutions, to strengthen the value of environmental science as an interdisciplinary field in analyzing and providing solutions to perennial environment problems in the country, in partnership with UEP and UP Los Baños School of Environmental Science and Management.

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