18 December 2015

S.T.A.R.T 3: Geospatial Technologies for Biodiversity Conservation

By Jasmin Domingo and Kenneth Gesmundo

Mangrove and forest conservation using geospatial technologies was the featured theme of the Third Spatial Technologies in Advancing Research Techniques (S.T.A.R.T 3) last November 10, 2015, at PH204.

The program was successfully hosted by the UP Department of Geography and spearheaded by Ms. Ony Martinez, senior lecturer of UP Geography and of Miriam College. The Geography Core Group and Geography 190 class assisted in organizing the event. Geography undergraduate and graduate students, faculty members and alumni of the department, as well as graduate students from the College of Science and undergraduate students from Miriam College were present in the said colloquium.

S.T.A.R.T aims to discuss the development of spatial techniques and methodologies among students from diverse disciplines, and to encourage them to utilize these methods in their future researches. Since its inception in 2013, different studies and researches using spatial technology such as the Geographic Information System (GIS), remote sensing, and other mapping methods and its application in the social sciences have been presented in the colloquia.

The speaker for this colloquium, Mr. Jose Don de Alban of Fauna and Flora International-Philippines (FFI) and also a graduate of the UP Department of Geodetic Engineering, shared their programs on biodiversity conservation in which geospatial techniques were applied specifically in: 1) Identifying High Conservation Value Areas in support of protected area management; 2) Monitoring mangrove extents combining SAR-optical data; 3)Forest inventory and remote sensing approaches for aboveground forest biomass estimation and 4) Species distribution modelling for tree species conservation.

“The decline in the forests is evident in the Philippines and although there are a lot of approaches to address the issue, they weren’t implemented”, said de Alban.

In one of FFI’s case studies, forest loss were found even in a restricted protected areas as well as spaces that are not part of protected areas but should be prioritized for conservation. With the use of spatial models and analytical methods (e.g. Species Distribution Modelling, RADAR imaging, ground survey verification), they were able to pinpoint areas where biodiversity is critical and efforts toward conservation should be directed.

The program ended with a take-home message from the guest speaker, which highlighted that sophisticated tools are not always necessary but even simple tools of analysis are equally useful as long as they can meet the research requirements of a project.

Students, faculty and alumni gather at Palma Hall Room 204 for the third colloquium.

Ms. Ony Martinez (L) and Geography Department Chair, Prof. Daniel Mabazza (C) awards the certificate of appreciation to Sheryl Rose Reyes (R).

Guest speaker Mr. Jose Don de Alban (R) from Flora and Fauna International-Philippines

Ms. Ony Martinez (L) and Prof. Daniel Mabazza (C) awards the certificate of appreciation to Ms. Karen Veridiano (R)

Jasmin and Kenneth are undergraduate students of the Geography Department in UP Diliman

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