Monina Escalada, Visayas State University, Baybay, Leyte, Philippines,
Josef Settele, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Halle, Germany, and K.L. Heong, International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, Philippines
LEGATO conference participants
LEGATO which stands for Landscape use intensity and Ecological Engineering Assessment Tools for risks and Opportunities in irrigated rice based production systems (www.legato-project.net ) was launched in 2011 in Penang, Malaysia. Ecological engineering will provide the framework to modify farm practices to restore biodiversity and ecosystem services. In July 2012, the first conference was held in Banaue, Philippines.
On April 8 – 16 2013, the second LEGATO annual conference was held in Hanoi and participants visited the field sites in Vinh Phuc and Sapa. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Dinh Cong, Vice President of Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, Prof. Dr. Nguyen Van Kim, Vice President of VNU-University of Social Sciences and Humanities and Dr. Le Van Hung, from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, officiated the opening. Sixty-two participants from Germany (33), Vietnam (12), Philippines (5), IRRI (3), Bulgaria (2), Scotland (2), Malaysia, Spain, Thailand and Indonesia presented and discussed research on assessment of biological control services, pollination, soil improvement and cultural services in the LEGATO sites in Vietnam and Philippines.
A: Dr. Benjamin Burkhard, B: Dr. Vera Tekken
Among the presenters was Dr. Vera Tekken who discussed the state of cultural service research in LEGATO, presenting the key questions to be used to assess stakeholder perceptions of cultural services and landscape aesthetics. Dr. Benjamin Burkhard presented a comparison of the interactions between man and environment in the LEGATO landscapes, drawing attention to their recent work on stakeholder assessment of ecosystem services in the LEGATO sites. Dr. Joachim Spangenberg presented the ecosystem services (ESS) cascade and pointed out the differences in the main approaches of ecosystem services, such as the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the TEEB approach and the CICES approach of the European Environment Agency. In her update on valuation, Dr. Beatriz Rodriguez-Labajos noted that monitoring and evaluation of ecosystem services has to be used in context in order to be meaningful.
Dr. Catrin Westphal pointed out the importance of habitat heterogeneity based on preliminary results which show that pollinator biodiversity is related to landscape biodiversity and polycultures provide important nesting and foraging habitats for bees in rice-dominated landscapes. Dr. Volker Grescho provided an update on the new LEGATO Geoserver and SPOTS land use classification. In his report on simulation of vegetation dynamics using the ecosystem model, LPJmL, Paulo Oliveira pointed out the challenge of getting reliable climate data in mountainous areas. Christophe Dominik discussed the effects of landscape complexity on the biocontrol-production function in rice-dominated agroecosystems.
The award winning ecological engineering TV series initiated in Vinh Long was presented and participants were enthusiastic to extend this series to cover episodes on dragon fly (flying dragons) as predators, soil improvements and pollination services. Planthoppers continue to be problematic in Indonesia and Thailand and are mainly attributed to insecticide misuse that caused loss in biological ecosystem services.
The 2014 annual conference will likely be held in the Mekong Delta.