Leftmost photo : The WWRRDEC personnel and staff during the levelling off at the WWRRDEC Conference Room; Middle photo: Presentation of the projects to For. Albert Banatao of CJHMC; Rightmost photo: Some WWRRDEC staff conducting vegetation analysis in one of the CarCap study sites.

With time ticking away for 2020 and despite the sustained threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Watershed and Water Resources Research, Development and Extension Center (WWRRDEC) has pressed forward to meet its targets for CY 2020 through the implementation of two research projects.

These projects on “Benguet Pine Characterization in Selected Disturbed and Undisturbed Sites of Benguet Province”; and “Environmental Carrying Capacity of Baguio City”, are in compliance with the marching order of DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu to address the deterioration of Benguet pine stands in Baguio-Benguet areas. The Characterization project is comprised of three study components, namely: (i) Biophysical Assessment of Pine Forests in Benguet Province, (ii) Population Structure and Regeneration Status of Pinus kesiya Royle ex Gordon Forests in the Province of Benguet; and, (iii) GIS-based Forecasting Model for Early Detection of Potential Bark Beetle Outbreak in Disturbed and Undisturbed Pine Forests in Baguio City.  ERDB-Main Office has shared the Carrying Capacity Manual, which was adopted in the Characterization studies.

In August this year, the Center conducted series of coordination meetings and presentations of the projects to concerned agencies/institutions and potential partners such as the Camp John Hay Management Corporation, the Barangay Council of Camp 8, and the city/municipal LGUs of Baguio, Atok and Tublay, Benguet, Environmental Management Bureau, and, PAG-ASA-CAR.

According to Forester Rhandy S. Tubal, R&D Section Chief of WWRRDEC, all personnel will be involved in the implementation of the Projects, particularly in the gathering of primary and secondary data. Thus, an orientation meeting was also conducted for the Center’s technical and support personnel to acquaint/brief them with the objectives, targets and methodologies of the two projects. A week after these series of meetings, the Center started the fieldwork and conducted site reconnaissance survey, vegetation assessment and timber inventory. All these activities were undertaken with strict observance and compliance   with all health protocols such as wearing face masks/shields and physical distancing to ensure everyone’s safety. Linda B. Sauyen, WWRRDEC