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Ecological monitoring for healthy ecosystems in Southeast Asia

Published on 25 October 2016 KC3 News

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), in partnership with the Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia (EEPSEA) and the Food Security Center (FSC) of Hohenheim University will hold the Regional Roundtable Discussion and Workshop on the Development of an Ecological Monitoring Network in Southeast Asia on 24-25 October 2016 at the SEARCA Headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines.

Ecosystems provide services that are key to human survival and broadly classified into four categories, namely: provisioning, such as food, clean water, and safe atmospheric conditions; regulating, such as control of climate and spread of diseases; supporting, such as nutrient cycles and crop pollination; and cultural, such as spiritual and recreational benefits. (The United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment). Various ecosystems across the region are increasingly exposed to threats and stresses due to changes in the physical environment, in human activities, and climate risks and variabilities.

SEARCA and its partners recognize the importance of understanding and tracking changes in ecosystems in the region, which could inform planning and policy-making towards food security, disaster preparedness, ecosystem management, and safer and resilient communities, and related purposes.

The roundtable discussion cum workshop is organized as a scoping activity to take stock of existing initiatives in ecological monitoring and relevant databases in Southeast Asia; identify gaps and areas for improvement in ecological monitoring in the region; and explore possibilities of linking existing initiatives and databases across the region.

The event will feature well-known speakers in the field of ecological monitoring, including Dr. Hank Loescher, Director for Strategic Development of Battelle-National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), USA, who will talk about the societal and scientific importance of ecological monitoring and its applications to decision making, management, and planning. Other paper presentations will focus on the ecological monitoring initiatives at the national and regional levels. Dr. Rex Victor O. Cruz of the University of the Philippines Los Baños, as Technical Coordinator of the event, will provide the background paper on establishing ecological observation network in Southeast Asia.

The end goal of the roundtable-workshop is to initiate discussion on the establishment of an ecological monitoring network and linked databases for Southeast Asia towards more responsive planning and policy-making considering the various environmental issues and challenges facing the region.