Los Baños, Laguna – The Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) conducted the Ridge to Reef Webinar in celebration of Earth Day on April 22, 2022, via Zoom and Facebook Live.

Around 400 participants, mainly composed of students, DENR staff, members of the local government units, and other government offices from various regions in the country, took part in the three-hour activity. Aside from the presentations about the different ecosystems and the role of the youth in communicating science, the participants were also invited to join the ERDB Short Film Making Contest as part of the celebration of the Philippine Environment Month in June 2022.

The new ERDB Director Maria Lourdes G. Ferrer, CESO III, officially welcomed the participants by recognizing the role of each and every sector in stewarding the environment and natural resources. “Hindi ito trabaho ng DENR lang. Lahat tayo ay dapat magtulong-tulong sa pangangalaga ng ating kalikasan.”, the Director affirmed.

Mr. Juan B. Ebora, Chief of the ERDB-Technology Transfer Division, briefly mapped out the line-up of talks the participants may expect throughout the webinar. It was followed by the introduction of the celebration of Earth Day and the Philippine Environment Month by Ms. Liberty E. Asis, Section Chief of the TTD-TPMEES or Technology Promotion, Monitoring and Evaluation and Extension Section.

As the goal of the webinar was to provide an overview of the importance of the ridge to reef approach in employing initiatives to protect the environment, the webinar was filled with talks discussing the three major ecosystems starting from the forest, followed by the urban ecosystem, down to the coastal areas.

Forester Romana Mauricio, Senior Science Research Specialist of the Forest Ecosystems Research Division (FERD), discussed “A Day in the Life of Maria Makiling: Understanding Forest Ecosystems”. Aside from tackling the definition and types of forest ecosystems, she further detailed the importance of forests and the provisioning, regulating, cultural, and supporting ecosystem services it gives.

In the succeeding presentation “Buildings and Greens, they co-exist!: Roaming the Streets of Urban Ecosystems”, For. Wencelito Hintural, Environmental Planner and Science Research Specialist II of the Urban Ecosystems Research Division (UERD) shared about the ecosystems in the urban setting. For. Hintural specifically mentioned that according to the 2017 World Bank Report, the population residing in the cities in the country is projected to be approximately 102 million people by 2050. He went on by discussing other key challenges in urban ecosystems and the research and development efforts being done by the bureau.

Mr. November Romena, Supervising Science Research Specialist of the Coastal Zone and Freshwater Ecosystems Research Division (CZFERD) then spoke about “Where the Land Meets the Sea: Exploring Coastal Ecosystems”. He detailed the interconnectedness of the mangrove, seagrass, and coral reef ecosystems and their significance to all life under and beyond the sea.

As the famous saying goes “lahat ng bagay ay magkakaugnay”, a certain event in one ecosystem could have a direct or indirect effect  on another. And so after the presentations of the three ecosystems, one of the common challenges being faced today was evident – the world is suffering the effects of climate change and humanity should act now.

All three presenters offered concrete ways the participants can do to save our planet but the challenge to them was simple. It was highlighted during the last presentation entitled “Mga Bhie, Ikaw ay may Silbi!: The Role of the Youth in Communicating Ecosystems Science to the People”. Ms. Adreana Remo, Information Officer II, and Mr. Aaron Abel Banayo, Librarian I of the Technology Transfer Division (TTD) urged the youth to use their voice, make a stand, and talk about the environment within their public spheres.

In line with that call, Ms. Allysa Marie Federio, Media Production Specialist II of TTD invited the participants to join the 2022 ERDB Short Film Making Contest and presented the mechanics and cash prizes.

ERDB Assistant Director For. Mayumi Quintos-Natividad closed the event with reminder to the Filipino youth. “Nag-iisa lang ang mundong ating ginagalawan at ang bawat isa sa atin ay may mahalagang papel na dapat gampanan upang ang mundong ito ay mapanatili nating kaaya-aya. Ang simpleng bagay na pagpapahalaga at pagpoprotekta sa ating kalikasan at iba’t-ibang ecosystems ay isa nang mahalagang kontribusyon sa ating bayan.”, she pleaded.

ERDB is the research arm of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Since 2020, ERDB has been conducting online activities such as art contests and webinars to raise environmental awareness among the youth through its ERDB Youth Desk program. The mechanics of the 2022 ERDB Short Film Making Contest can be accessed  on the ERDB Facebook page.