School of Agriculture and Food Sciences Student, Sharif Ahmed Mukul
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences Student, Sharif Ahmed Mukul

The School of Agriculture and Food Sciences would like to congratulate Sharif Ahmed Mukul (PhD candidate) on being awarded the Commonwealth Forestry Association (CFA) Young Scientist Research Award. The CFA recognises the fundamental importance of scientific research in the development of our understanding of the growth of forests and their value to society and our planet. This award provides financial support to students undertaking forest-related research in pursuit of an academic qualification. Two awards are awarded per year.

Mukul’s research topic “Shifting cultivation in the upland Philippines: biodiversity and carbon stock assessment, and integrating ecosystem services trade-offs in land-use change decisions” and his principal advisor is Associate Professor John Herbohn. His research will look at the Philippines, being one of the tropical developing countries in south-east Asia, have long been considered as, ‘hottest of the biodiversity hotspots’ and houses some of the worlds’ most critical and endemic flora and fauna. However, like many tropical developing countries, in last years, substantial deforestation has occurred in many critical watersheds in Philippines that cause severe social and environmental problems in and outside these watersheds. So far, country’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has identified 3,882,808 ha in critical watershed needing immediate rehabilitation, which will cost more than A$3.7 billion. Past watershed rehabilitation activity in the country however had limited success, mainly due to lack of understanding on socio-economic aspects of the project, complex land-use interests and scarce data regarding land-use/cover dynamics.

The current project will try to investigate the land-use/cover dynamics in one of the strategically important watershed area namely; Cabulig watershed within the Claveria Municipality (Misamis Oriental; DENR region -10), covering an area of about 250 sq km. Study will also investigate plant diversity and certain ecosystems functions (i.e. carbon sequestration in plants and soil and prevention of nutrient loss and soil erosion) provided by the identified land-use/covers that will then be used to perform a trade-off analysis between land-use/cover change, biodiversity and selected ecosystem functions.

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