Agricultural land cover maps, useful in resource management, have finally been turned over to their intended users – the local government units (LGUs) of Laguna at a ceremony on Dec. 14 in Hotel Dominique, Tagaytay City.
The agricultural map is one of the four kinds of resource maps that the Phil-LiDAR 2 or “Detailed Resources Assessment Using LiDAR,” is producing. The other maps that are in-progress - forest, coastal, renewable energy, and vulnerability assessment maps - will also be turned over to the Laguna and MIMAROPA LGUs. Phil-LiDAR 2 is a nationwide project with the Laguna and MIMAROPA study sites being handled by UPLB.
According to Dr. Damasa Macandog, project leader and professor at the Institute of Biological Sciences, the resource maps will help policymakers and stakeholders identify, locate and determine the status and characteristics of natural resources, including those that are exposed and vulnerable to hazards. Knowledge of this information will enable them to protect and conserve these resources. “All of these are needed for better planning and decision-making in your towns and barangays,” Dr. Macandog said.
The detailed maps with a .5 x .5 meter resolution show the agricultural features of each city and municipality, vegetation characteristics, and relevant facilities such as farm-to-market roads and irrigation systems.
Alexander Darvin, municipal agricultural officer of Bay town, believes that the agricultural maps would be helpful in drawing up their municipal agricultural profile, especially in the long term planning for the agriculture sector,” he said. “We can see thebare areas, sowe can actually plan whatforest or fruit trees to plant in them.” Darvin added.
Meanwhile, Maria Reshelle De Vera, special operations officer at the Calamba City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and one of the City’s representatives during the ceremonies, said that they will forward the map to the City Agricultural Services Department.
Calamba may now be a highly industrial and commercial city, but the agricultural map is still relevant to them, De Vera said, as there still exists agricultural areas in the City with corn as the primary crop. The City government website affirms that a tenth of the more than 14,000-hectare City is an agricultural development area.
Aside from Bay and Calamba City, other LGUs of 14 cities and municipalities that received their maps were the cities of Biñan and Sta. Rosa and the municipalities of Calauan, Kalayaan, Lumban, Magdalena, Paete, Pagsanjan, Pakil, Pangil, Pila, and Siniloan. The Project has also finished the agricultural maps of Cabuyao City, Famy, San Pedro City, and Sta. Cruz, the provincial capital.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Grants-in-Aid has provided the funds for the UPLB Phil-LiDAR 2 Project. These funds are being managed by DOST Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD).
The Project uses LiDAR-derived data from the Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation (DREAM) Program based in UP Diliman. According to For. Ozzy Boy Nicopior, senior science research specialist of the Project, LiDAR is one of many remote sensing methods, or methods of obtaining information about an object without direct contact to it.
LiDAR uses light from the laser to measure distances. LiDAR instrument, composed of an airplane with laser, scanner, Global Positioning System, and Inertial Navigation System, send laser pulses to and receive signals from the terrains of provinces around the country to obtain LiDAR data called point cloud. The high resolution LiDAR data is made up of cloud of points. The speed of the signal’s return to the sensor determines the level of elevation of the target surface – the faster it takes for the signal to return to the sensor, the more elevated the surface is.
Aside from the maps, the Project will also formulate recommendations on future local supply and demand in agriculture, coastal, forest, and renewable resources.
Senior science research specialists of the Project, namely: Lester Ryan Mojica, Mic Ivan Sumilang and For. Milben Bragais gave an overview of the Project’s components during the event. Also present were Atty. Dulce H. Rebanal, provincial administrator of Laguna, Siniloan Mayor Eduardo Tibay, and staff members of DOST-Region IV-A, DOST-PSTC Laguna and the Phil-LiDAR 2 UPLB Project.
Prior to the formal turnover of the maps, the LGU representatives, including officers of city and municipal environment and natural resources, agriculture, disaster risk reduction and management, and planning and development offices, signed an End-User License Agreement that articulates the scope and limitations of using and sharing the maps. (Mark Jayson E. Gloria)