• Background and Rationale

    philgeos logo             The Philippine Geomatics Symposium (PhilGEOS) was envisioned to be the national symposium for Geomatics educators, researchers, practitioners and all users of geospatial technology. PhilGEOS was first staged in 2012 (PhilGEOS 2012) by the UP Department of Geodetic Engineering with the theme “Philippine Geomatics: pratice, application and accomplishments. This year, PhilGEOS 2013 will focus on the role of Geomatics in Agriculture and Forestry with the theme “Geomatics for a Resilient Agriculture and Forestry”. PhilGEOS 2013 will be held on November 28-29, 2013. It is again being organized by UPDGE, in partnership with the DOST PCIEERD and other institutions.

                 Agriculture provides one of our most basic needs: food. On the other hand, forestlands provide a range of crucial goods (wood and non-wood) and environmental services (e.g., clean and reliable water supply, protecting against landslides, erosion and land degradation, providing or enhancing the habitat of aquatic and terrestrial animals, providing a range of products for household use or sale, and providing employment) [1].

              Recently, the agriculture and forestry sectors have been at risk to climate change and variability. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has reported that in various places around the world climate change is contributing to decreased agriculture and forest productivity due to drought and temperature stress, damage from inundation and flood, saltwater intrusion, sea level rise, and damage from coastal storms. In the Philippines, typhoons and flooding can be considered as major causes of destruction of our agricultural areas and forestlands. This is exemplified by the multi-billion worth of damages brought by Typhoon Pablo not only to the massive devastation in high-value crops like banana and coconut, as well as rice and corn, but also to farm infrastructures such as irrigation facilities [2]. Aside from climate change and climate variability, land-use conversions (agriculture to residential, forest to agriculture, forest to plantation, etc.) also pose a risk to these two sectors.

                Being the provider of our most basic needs, resiliency in the agriculture and forestry sectors must be built in order to achieve two long term goals: achieve food security, and adapt to the changing climate. But how do we build resiliency? Resiliency is the ability to cope with stress, the capacity to recover from the effects of disturbance and the capability to adapt to stress and change. According to FAO, building resiliency includes adjusting agriculture and forest management to build resilience of crops and forests to the negative impacts of climate change, to increase the resilience of vulnerable people and to help build and maintain resilient landscapes [1].

                With these matters at hand, PhilGEOS 2013 is being organized to provide a venue for the discussion and sharing of  experiences on the current state of Philippine’s agriculture and forestry sectors, and on how Geomatics can be a useful tool in making these sectors resilient in the midst of climate change and climate variability. It aims to gather not only educators, researchers and the Geomatics industry from different parts of the country; it will also gather people and companies engaged in agriculture and forestry as they can benefit from geospatial technology and from collaborating with the academe and government.

    References
    [1] FAO, 2012. Building resilience for adaptation to climate change in the agriculture sector. Proceedings of a Joint FAO/OECD Workshop 23–24 April 2012
    [2] InterAksyon.com, 2012. Damage to agriculture due to typhoon ‘Pablo’ now at P11.56-B. http://www.interaksyon.com/article/50308/agri-damage-due-to-typhoon-pablo-now-at-p11-56-b.