RDG Conference Report of Elenita L. Racelis

Write up about the Conference

The conference was attended by more than 300 participants composed of scientists, researchers, academicians, extension workers and students from countries within the Asian region.

 The first day of the conference started with the opening program which was held at the Inna Grand Bali Beach Hotel.  Participants were welcomed by the founder and President of the Atsumi International Foundation, Sekiguchi Global Research Association (SGRA) himself as the host institution along with the administrators from the Udayana University, Bali government officials and some invited guests from other related agencies in Bali and foreign institutions. 

 Part of the opening ceremony was a keynote speech delivered by Hon. Bilahari Kausikan, Ambassador at Large and former foreign affairs permanent secretary of Singapore.  His speech entitled “ASEAN and East Asia in the Era of Global Restructuring” tackled the issue about the re-emergence of China and its impacts towards other countries particularly ASEAN countries.

 Another set of conference forums followed right after the opening program which run until the afternoon.  There were three major forum topics presented simultaneously, which include: 1) Artistic Interconnections in Contemporary Asia; 2) New Order of East Asia in the Era of China’s Emergence; and 3) Environmental Remote Sensing.  Under each forum topic, sub sessions were delivered either in English or Japanese language.

 The first day culminated with a cocktail party/banquet which was attended by Japanese and Udayana University officials, participants, students, staff and other guests. It was highlighted by a cultural presentation involving Japanese and Balinese dance interpretations of the so called “Lion Dance”.  A sumptuous dinner was served where the participants had the chance to taste different Balinese cuisines.

 The second day of the conference was highlighted by parallel sessions, poster presentations, and special sessions/round table discussions.  There were about 50 sessions with 200 paper presentations.  The sessions were further subdivided into parallel panels for a total of four (4) panels with ten (10) sessions per panel.  Each session had about five (5) paper presentations. Two session chairs were assigned each session.  In general, paper presentations were grouped into major thematic areas, namely:

  1. Health
  2. Growth
  3. Environment
  4. Diversity and Harmony
  5. Culture
  6. Human Rights
  7. Equity
  8. Globalization
  9. Communication
  10. Innovation
  11. Peace
  12. Sustainability
  13. Happiness

The grantee’s paper was lined-up in Parallel Panel Session D, Session D05 under the theme; Environment.  Each presentor was given 15 minutes to discuss or present his/her paper and another five minutes was allotted for the question and answer portion.  Each presentor was advised to strictly adhere to the time limit otherwise he/she would be signaled to stop the presentation once the time limit is reached and would proceed to the question and answer part.  The moderator gave signal to the presentor, five minutes before the end of his/her allotted time to start to wrap his/her presentation.

 The grantee’s paper in particular covered the rationale and background of the study and results of the Dipterocarp plantation 2010 biomass and carbon estimation from its carbon pools.  It also include estimation on the plantation sequestration rate by comparing the 2010 results minus the 2000 data gathered over the 10 year period.  Comparison of the results of the study with other studies conducted within the country and other neighboring countries were also presented.

 As the rationale of the study, it dealt on the issue on global warming/climate change and the important role of forest or vegetation to help abate or mitigate the impacts of climate change.  This was followed by a brief background on the initiation of the study in 2000 and the follow-up study which was conducted in 2010, ten years later.  The rest of the presentations covered the results of the 2010 study and in comparison with the 2000 data gathered to compute for the sequestration rate.  To further present the potential of the target plantation, the results were compared with the biomass and carbon estimation results from other studies conducted locally and from other countries. 

 During the open forum, it was clarified whether older trees have still the capacity to sequester considerable amount of CO2 over time given its age.  In general, all presentations ended with points of clarification (questions) from participants, and answers from the speakers and clarifications from the moderator.

 Along with the parallel sessions, poster presentations and special sessions were also conducted during the day.  About ten (10) posters of different topics were exhibited along the Udayana University lobby.  For the special sessions, it included a seminar on “Korea’s Precedent Role for Upgrading East Asia’s Regional Dynamism” and a round table discussion on “The Future of Japan Studies” and a presentation of SGRA Fukushima report which covered exhibition, film and talk session.

 The second day of the conference was concluded by a farewell party and presentation of awards for best papers and best presentations.  It was a momentous event on the part of the grantee unexpectedly, she received the best presentation award on the paper she presented.     

The last day of the conference was devoted to a cultural tour in some parts of Bali.  The tour showcased indigenous and sustainable farm management technologies like the luwak/coffee farm, an agroforestry type of farming system and the Jatiluwi rice terraces, one of UNESCO’s awardees for cultural heritage site.  The participants were also able to visit Bali’s historical sites and beautiful spots, which include Balinese major temples and Ubud place of fine crafts and paintings.

Feedback on paper presented

The main question/clarification raised on the grantee’s paper was on the potential of mature trees to capture significant amount of atmospheric CO2 with its age factor in question.  It is a common notion that trees sequestration capacity lessens as they get older.  However, the study showed otherwise as a mature dipterocarp plantation still exhibited high sequestration rate which is comparable to younger plantations based on other studies conducted.  The author explained her research findings supported by results of other related studies conducted and statements made by other authors.

 The significant potential of dipterocarp plantation to sequester CO2 was manifested by the high amount of CO2 stored in its biomass.  The author cited several factors that can be attributed to this result. Older trees are commonly large diameter trees which redound to large amount of biomass and carbon dioxide stored.  It was reported that the major storing capacity of trees lies in their standing biomass primarily represented by larger trees with dbh ³ 60cm and whose biomass is greater than 4 tons.  Thus, the carbon content of these trees is high.  Although those trees are few in number, but they can accumulate more than 40% of the carbon in an old-growth stand.  These findings are further supported by recent study published in the Journal of Nature substantiating the high potential of older trees to stock carbon in its biomass.  Moreover, the carbon storing capacity of the entire stand does not only cover the standing trees but it also considered the younger vegetation or regeneration which somehow compensate the loss of older or damaged trees in the stand.  Plus the significant contribution of soil as one of the major carbon sinks. Soil component registered the second highest carbon stored within the stand next to trees.  It was found out that the amount of SOC increases over time, so it can be deduced that as vegetation matures, its soil carbon content also increases.  The same findings also apply with this study.

 Future directions of research presented

 The research will be expanded to include more tree species particularly indigenous species to determine its capacity to store and sequester atmospheric carbon. 

Potential foreign collaborators

A Japanese participant was interested to replicate the study to assess the potential of their plantation species to sequester carbon and to investigate further the carbon stocking capacity of a mature plantation.

Other important contacts and insights

The conference achieved its objective of banding together researchers, academicians, students, environmentalists and others to discuss and had an exchange of ideas how to address the issue of environmental degradation particularly climate change.  It was intellectually rewarding for us researchers because of the opportunity of finding other great ideas from other participants on approaches to effectively manage different environmental resources.  Similarly, sharing one’s research outputs and gaining feedbacks from co-participants help improve one’s research capability.  It further widens one’s technical capacity to implement more related studies by gaining insights and research experiences from other participants.

 The gathering even initiated active collaborations with other researchers in different parts of the region.  With the benefits of advanced information technology particularly internet access, easy, less cost and continued networking have been facilitated.  Participants of the conference will have also the benefits of a continued exchange of information even after the conference.

 I can proudly say that my participation to the conference significantly enhanced my confidence and competence in developing and carrying out extension and research programs and activities related to forest resources management, mitigation and adaptation strategies to climate change. 

Short write-up of one’s participation (to be used to feature/publicize the grantee’s participation in the conference)

RDG Grantee Conferred Best Presentation Award at 2014 Bali Conference – Ms. Elenita Racelis of the College of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of the Philippines Los Baños, a RDG grantee received the Best Presentation award during the 2nd Asia Future Conference (AFC) on August 21-23, 2014 in Bali, Indonesia.  The award was given by the Sekiguchi Global Research Association (SGRA), Atsumi International Foundation of Japan, the major conference sponsors and the Udayana University as the co-sponsor of the conference.

The award acknowledged the author’s presentation of the paper entitled Monitoring Biomass Accumulation and Carbon Sequestration Potential of a Mature Mixed Dipterocarp Plantation in a Forest Reserve in one of the parallel sessions. The paper is co-authored by Dr. Diomedes A. Racelis and part of the author’ research project under the UP Los Baños Basic Research Program. The presentation highlighted the potential of a mature Dipterocarp plantation to sequester significant amount of carbon over time. It was emphasized that conservation of mature forest parallel to this study could prove to be an effective and more economical way to embark on carbon offset program. Similarly, protection efforts should be actively pursued in plantations within forest reservations to conserve C pools. This is in addition to the attendant benefits derived from forest conservation such as increased biodiversity, enhanced aesthetics and recreation, and better livelihood opportunities to local communities. From the presentation, the paper received good feedbacks and suggestions for consideration in future studies.

The conference was participated in by more that 300 participants composed of renowned scientists/experts, researchers, academicians and students in ASEAN countries. It centered along the theme “Diversity and Harmony” which involved convergence of diverse approaches to global issues with main consideration of the advancement of science, technology, and business. Similarly, it tackled the problems of the environment, politics, education, arts and culture. The conference provided further the venue for the exchange of knowledge, information, ideas, and culture of SRGA members including former foreign students of Japan from various educational institutions all over the world, Japanese students and collaborators and those who are interested about Japan.

The conference major activities include; a keynote speech, forums, paper and poster presentations, special sessions with a seminar and round table discussions and cultural tour. It was primarily highlighted with paper presentations in the plenary and parallel sessions that engaged sharing and providing the participants state-of-the-art information on different research and development topics. It provided conductive and lively interactions between speakers and participants and among participants themselves by sharing of knowledge and experiences based on their research undertakings. It also laid the foundation for future collaborations among individuals of related fields.