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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
Cycle 1 (2011 Deadline)

Strengthening research and teaching capacity of the Andalas University in climate change and natural resources management 

PI: Rudi Febriamansyah (Andalas University)
U.S. Partner: Brendan Buckley (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University)
Project Dates: June 2012 - December 2015

Project Overview 

 Indonesia Partnership Tree Ring C
The PEER team preparing tree ring samples (Photo courtesy of Dr. Febriamansyah)

Climate change has results in significant impacts on environment, water availability, and safety. Millions of people are affected by drought and floods every year in many part of the world, with widespread impact on. Specifically in West Sumatra, the impact of climate change includes sea level rise along the coast that has affected the livelihood of small scale fisheries, as well as the changed rainy season that has influenced the cropping pattern, decreased land productivity, and even affected the stability of the water supply for three electric power plants.
Given the importance of these impacts for Indonesia, it would be useful to upgrade the capacity of Andalas University faculty and research staff members to understand the linkages among the natural systems involved in order to create better solutions and recommendations for local government or community action. One important element in understanding these linkages includes exploring climate variability over a longer period of time and its connection with the characteristics of ecology, environments, and human activities over that time period. The advanced techniques and technologies for tree-ring analysis developed by experts at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observation (LDEO) of Columbia University seem appropriate for application in West Sumatra province.
In this regard, the overall goal of this proposed project is to develop a sustainable and adaptive natural resources management system in West Sumatra province through cooperation between Columbia University and Andalas University integrating natural and social sciences approaches. Activities to achieve this goal are: (1) joint research between Andalas staff and LDEO experts on reconstructing climate variability in West Sumatra through tree-ring analysis, (2) support for two PhD students and four M.Sc. students on climate change, watershed management, water supply studies, and agriculture system studies, (3) development of the tree-ring research laboratory at Andalas, (4) organization of seminars and conferences for disseminating the results of the studies, (5) provision of training for Andalas staff, research students, and laboratory technicians, and (6) organization of a workshop for teaching module development.
Summary of Recent Activities
Rudi Febriamansyah visited his U.S. partner Dr. Brendan Buckley and other counterparts at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University April 5-25, 2014. Through discussions with LDEO researchers, he learned two important methods in tree ring studies, specifically, using matrix paper for cross-dating the ring width before measuring the width with instruments and using MATLAB software to analyze the correlation of the ring width with climatic data to develop the climate reconstruction model. In addition, he used the reference library at LDEO to obtain many journal articles and data sources unavailable in Indonesia. During the visit, Dr. Febriamansyah also made a presentation about his research, which led to his receiving many valuable suggestions on how to focus his further work both geographically and in terms of tree species.

While at LDEO, Dr. Febriamansyah got acquainted with Dr. Buckley’s research assistant, Mr. Mukund Palat Rao, whose experience conducting tree-ring research in India and Vietnam fits well with the Indonesian team’s current PEER-funded work. Thanks to their meeting during the visit to LDEO, Dr. Febriamansyah was able to invite Mr. Rao to stop off at Andalas University on his way home from a conference in Malaysia in May 2014. During that visit, he helped Dr. Febriamansyah’s research students analyze their ring samples and trained them how to use MATLAB programming in correlation and image map analysis.
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Yusniwati in the research field site on adaptive onion in Saniang
(Photo courtesy of Dr. Febriamansyah)

Participants of the workshop on Problem Based Learning, November 2013.

1-90 Yusniwati in Simawang.jpg1-90 USAID sign.jpg

 Dr. Yusniwatio in the research field site on adapative paddy in Simawang (Photo courtesy of Dr. Febriamansyah)

 (Photo courtesy of Dr. Febriamansyah)