The 2015 NAST Environmental Science Award (NESA) went to two distinguished experts during the paper presentation of finalists and awarding ceremony on April 22, 2015 at the New World Manila Bay Hotel. The National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), the country’s foremost recognition body, conferred the award in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Mr. Arsenio B. Ella, Scientist III of the DOST- Forest Products Research and Development Institute (FPRDI) and Dr. Severino G. Salmo, III, assistant professor and chairperson of the Department of Environmental Science, Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) tied for the Award’s first prize for the second time since the inception of the award in 2001.
Ella was recognized for his exemplary contributions in the field of forest products utilization research. Spanning 41 years of hard and dedicated work as a researcher at FPRDI, Ella is credited for a number of notable R&D contributions, including the generation of technical information and technologies on exudates-producing plants that led to the formulation of standards and guidelines for improved methods of harvesting resins, such as the Manila copal (Almaciga resin), Manila elemi (Canarium resin), balau (Apitong resin), oleoresin (Benguet pine resin), and oil of palosapis (Anisoptera resin).
Ella’s initiatives contributed to the conservation of species that produce resins and to prolonging the life span of trees, sustaining and maximizing resin production, and generating scientific knowledge and technical skills in the use of non-wood forest products. Such efforts helped in the country’s programs on poverty reduction and livelihood enhancement among the more marginalized sectors of the society, especially the indigenous communities.
Meanwhile, Salmo was recognized for his important studies on the impacts of mangrove restoration program in the recovery of forest cover and its contribution to the enhancement of macrofaunal communities. His researches helped in the scientific advancement of the mangrove restoration programs in the country, most especially in the promotion of mangrove conservation program.
Salmo’s other major contributions include the: identification of restoration indicators, tracking of restoration trajectories, and, more importantly, formulation for the estimation that it will take 15-25 years for the restored mangroves to match the ecosystem structure and habitat functionality of natural mangroves. He also recommended use of more mangrove species for the restoration of mangrove forests.
NESA is given to outstanding scientific and technological researches that contribute to environmental protection and conservation. First launched in 2001 as the Academy’s contribution to the celebration of the World Earth Day, through the late National Scientist Perla D. Santos Ocampo, this award was formerly called NAST-Hugh Greenwood Environmental Science Award
On the other hand, five finalists competing for the 2015 NAST Talent Search for Young Scientists award presented their papers, including: Dr. Romar B. dela Cruz, assistant professor, Institute of Mathematics, UP Diliman, “Cheating-immune secret schemes from codes and cumulative arrays”; Dr. Charlotte Kendra D.Z. Gotangco, assistant professor, Department of Environmental Science, ADMU, “A sensitivity analysis of surface biophysical, carbon, and climate impacts of tropical deforestation rates in CCSM4-CNDV”; Rose Ann G. Franco, assistant professor, Institute of Biological Sciences, UP Los Baños, “Utilization of polyvinylphosphonic acid (PVPA) and its effect on the material properties” (S&T Media Service)