The World Agroforestry Centre in partnership with the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) conducted the International Course on Community-based Integrated Watershed Management last May 30 to June 8, 2012 held at IIRR, Silang, Cavite. Watershed are good planning and monitoring unit since all processes that affects the amount of erosion and sediment yield, as well as the quantity, quality, and timing of streamflow can be monitored efficiently. The training was attended by chief and director of the Ministry of Energy and Water, and FAO Community Irrigation Mobilizers from Afghanistan. Researcher Leo Kris M. Palao of ICRAF, involved in the Ridge to Reef project, served as resource person/speaker on watershed concepts and measurements, land management options, land suitability assessment, and geographic information system (GIS) as a tool for watershed management.
Basic watershed concepts, principles, and factors affecting watershed behaviour were introduced to the participants. Watershed characteristics, description, and measurement (i.e., biophysical, soil characteristics, land capability, climatic features, hydrology, vegetation, and socioeconomic) were discussed as part of watershed characterization for better understanding of drivers of various hydrologic processes in a watershed. Importance of monitoring was emphasized as an important aspect in watershed management to gain a deeper understanding of the behaviour of each basin and sub-watersheds.
Different types of land management, factors affecting land management, and relationship of vegetation manipulation to streamflow and erosion were discussed as part of the land management options session. On the other hand, basic concepts on and tools for land suitability assessment were discussed during the land suitability assessment session.
On GIS session, the training materials was customized to address the needs of the participants. MapWindow, an open-source GIS software, was used throughout the session. Participants were trained to delineate the watershed and river network using the Advanced Terrain Analysis Using Digital Elevation Models (TAUDEM) in MapWindow 4.8.6. For the GIS training to be relevant the spatial materials prepared is from Afghanistan. Administrative boundaries from Afghanistan was derived from Global Administrative Boundaries (GADM) (available in the worldwide web, accessed in: http://www.gadm.org/), and the Digital Elevation Model 90-meter resolution (SRTM_50_06 covers portion of Afghanistan) (Jarvis, et al., 2008) was derived from CGIAR-CSI (available in the worldwide web, accessed in: http://srtm.csi.cgiar.org). The participants were advised that the administrative boundaries from GADM are not official, hence some inaccuracy on the actual boundaries may be encountered. DEM of Afghanistan was used in the watershed and river network delineation of Helmand River Basin. The participants learned some of the geoprocessing tools. Geoprocessing is useful to identify the extent of administrative boundaries covered by each subwatersheds for watershed management.
The participants visited the FAO-funded Carbon Market Project and USAID-funded Mainstreaming Climate Change Adaptation to Biodiversity Conservation Project site of the World Agroforestry Centre in Kalahan, Nueva Viscaya, Luzon, Philippines. Researcher Alfie A. Torres, involved in the latter project, coordinated the site visit of the participants to the Kalahan Forest Reserve through the Kalahan Education Foundation - an NGO based actively supporting local stakeholders of Kalahan Forest Reserve. The project site that was visited has various community-based programs and projects for environmental management. The site served as a good case study for the participants to gain understanding on the experience (i.e., opportunities, success stories, and challenges) of a community-based type of management.
Watershed management has been increasingly been given attention due to climate change, especially extreme events. Understanding the behaviour of each watersheds/sub-watersheds - streamflow response to rainfall events, impact of land use to erosion, sediment yield, and timing of streamflow - will enhance the adaptive capacity of local stakeholders and government. The adaptation scheme can be in the form of direct interventions, policy rectification, or management adjustments, or combination thereof. It is hoped that the experience and knowledge gained by the participants in the training will enhance their capacity to manage their watersheds and implement various land management schemes that are responsive to the needs of local stakeholders.
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