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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)
US Partner: Brendan Buckley (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University)
Project Dates: June 2012 - May 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
During the last quarter of 2013, the research team continued collecting tree ring samples for analysis for the purpose of reconstructing climate variability. Because of the intensity of the recent rainy season this activity is now expected to continue until March 2014. Meanwhile, co-PI Dr. Yusniwati and her team started their experimental research trying to find the adaptive variety of the red onion. This research is done with the assistance of an undergraduate student and a local farmer at the study site. Master's degree candidate Ms. Yumama has been working with a local farmer while conducting her experimental field research trying to find a suitable rice variety for an area impacted by climate change. PhD student Mr. Refdinal will concentrate his study on how climate change affects farmers in the study site. Focusing on socioeconomic impacts of climate change, he is now conducting research in the surrounding Singkarak Lake area trying to understand local farmers’ adaptive livelihood strategies. The team continued their outreach and training activities as well. As planned, during November 22-23, 2013, an intensive workshop on Problem Based Learning in climate change and natural resources management was conducted in Padang in collaboration with Dr. Kamarza Mulia and Dr. Elsa Krisanti (fellow PEER Science grantees from Universitas Indonesia). By the end of February 2014 the team is expecting to conduct a short training program for laboratory and teaching assistants on wood anatomy and tree ring analysis. This training program will be coordinated with the biology study program at the Faculty of Science in Andalas University. PI Dr. Rudi Febriamansyah has confirmed his plans to visit his U.S. partner Brendan Buckley and colleagues Dr. Roseanne D'Arrigo and Dr. Edward Cook at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Tree Ring Lab in Palisades, NY, in April 2014.  During this visit, Dr. Febriamansyah will discuss the preliminary findings of his research, further the research agenda, and prepare his findings for publication in an international journal.
  1-90 other photos.jpg1-90 PBL workshop2.jpg  

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)