Thursday, September 18, 2014

IRRI News: Thailand: CORIGAP team conducts workshop on the en...

by Reianne Quilloy and Rica Flor

The Closing Rice Yield Gaps in Asia with Reduced Environmental Footprint (CORIGAP) project conducted a Participatory Impact Pathway Analysis (PIPA) workshop for 30 participants from 12 different Thai organizations in Bangkok, Thailand on 8-9 September. The workshop is aligned with CORIGAP’s objective to measure environmental footprint rice farming using ecological indicators.

The PIPA workshop is a starting tool to guide the participants in identifying the changes needed to achieve shared goals.  Group exercises were conducted to gain a deeper understanding of how various stakeholders are linked (or not) in the collection of data on ecological indicators, what data they need to collect, and where the project could provide support.  The group formed a learning alliance and identified topics of interest to be discussed and implemented in 2015.

By bringing varied stakeholders together, CORIGAP aims to facilitate coordinated collection of data that can be used to develop policies on optimizing productivity and sustainability of irrigated rice production systems.

“We need to gather ecological indicators to help us identify rice farming practices that are environmentally safe and profitable,” said Mr. Chanpithya Shimphalee, the director general of the Thailand Rice Department.

“It is important to start thinking about sustainability and ecological indicators,” said Dr. Sombat Thiratrakoolchai from the Thai Chamber of Commerce. “Some companies will do everything to meet the demands of foreign markets. We could wait for foreign markets to force us, or we could plan ahead.”

The PIPA workshop was facilitated by Engr. Martin Gummert, Dr. Sarah Beebout, Ms. Reianne Quilloy, and Ms. Rica Flor.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Dr. Grant Singleton receives lifetime recognition of excellence in rodent biology

By Trina Leah Mendoza

Dr. Grant Singleton, IRRI principal scientist, was awarded with the Lifetime Recognition of Excellence during the 5th International Conference for Rodent Biology and Management (ICRBM) on 25-29 August in Henan, China. This special honor was given to Dr. Singleton in recognition of his international scientific leadership in rodent biology and his untiring efforts in promoting the ICRBM around the world.

Dr. Singleton “has made major advances in the management of rat damage to rice crops in Southeast Asia, and has championed the need for ecologically based management of pest problems based on good ecological science.”

He continues advancing ecologically based pest management through his work at IRRI, particularly in the Closing Rice Yield Gaps in Asia with Reduced Environmental Footprint (CORIGAP) Project, where he is currently the coordinator.

Dr. Singleton presented two papers, reviewing 15 years of ecologically based rodent management (EBRM), and rodent impacts on food security in Southeast Asia. He also delivered the concluding remarks of the conference with Prof. Charles Krebs, world-renowned ecologist.

Other CORIGAP scientists and national partners also presented papers and posters in the conference. They were Dr. Alex Stuart (CORIGAP postdoctoral fellow), Dr. Nyo Me Htwe (postdoctoral fellow, Myanmar), Dr. Sudarmaji and Arlyna Budi Pustika (Indonesian collaborators), and Dr. Nguyen Thi My Phung (CORIGAP consultant, Vietnam).

Around 165 delegates from 25 countries attended the event, which convenes every 4 years. The conference was hosted by the International Society of Zoological Sciences.