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Posted: Mon, 29 Aug 2016 14:29
SEAMEO BIOTROP Call for Research Proposals for 2017 Implementation - 2948 time(s) visited
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Specific Theme and Strands
The research theme for implementation in 2017 is Sustaining and Enhancing the Integrity and Productivity of Ecosystems in Southeast Asia.

Southeast Asian countries have rich natural resources which constitute their natural capital assets for national economic and social development. However, overexploitation of these natural resources have been significantly affecting the capacity of their ecosystems to provide goods and services that are fundamental to supporting people's livelihoods including other living organisms. In 2012, the Asian Development Bank Institute reported that Asia is "confronted by serious environmental problems that threaten to undermine future growth, food security, and regional stability."

With the increasing trend in consumption and disposal of natural resources due to the rapidly growing and urbanized population, the region now faces the prospect of a dwindling supply of goods and services unless corresponding replenishment and growth to the environmental base are also occurring. Evidences from several studies also reveal that many ecosystems are experiencing degradation due to poor development planning, spread of invasive species, and the impacts of climate change.

Ecosystem degradation is one major factor that limits societies in achieving their sustainable development goals. Deliberate research on how to sustain and enhance goods and services derived from ecosystems could bring about informed decision-making among governments in the region, formulating sound policies and providing appropriate investments and institutional reforms for more sustainable and effective ecosystem management.

Ecosystem focus
This call for proposals would like to focus the research theme on any of the three ecosystems, namely: forests, agriculture, and mangroves especially those that are needing restoration and rehabilitation.

Southeast Asia's forest and mangrove areas have been declining rapidly. Population growth, expansion in infrastructure development, logging, and investments in industrial agriculture and other land uses (e.g., oil palm plantations, shrimp farms or rice cultivation) are primary drivers of forest and mangrove conversions. Occurrence of forest fires, whether natural or human-induced, also contributes to the loss of forests. Although some restoration and expansion efforts are taking place, these drivers continue to exist due to conflicting priorities, lack of adequate resources, and research-based information to improve policy-making, law enforcement, and governance of these ecosystems. With degradation of these ecosystems, there are growing concerns about loss of biodiversity and habitat, shortage of food, water, fiber and fuel, as well as increases in greenhouse gas emissions.

The same can be said about agroecosystem because of too much use of pesticides and herbicides, increasing rate of salinity, impaction, etc. A significant number of farm lands in the region have become idle and unproductive because of these factors. This certainly affects food productivity and security.

Theme Strands
Research proposals could fall under any or a combination of the following theme strands:

1. Ecological restoration
Ecological restoration is becoming increasingly important worldwide as a way to reinstate the integrity of species and ecosystems while simultaneously enhancing human welfare. Research on this strand could include: understanding and minimizing the difference between natural and anthropogenic disturbances (e.g., forest fires, flooding, introduction of invasive plant and animal species, pollution, climate change, etc. ) which interfere with the functioning of an ecosystem at spatial and temporal scales; determining the resilience of an ecosystem; use of emerging concepts in new and successful restoration technologies and performance standards; assessment of current restoration practices; ways of initiating, assisting or accelerating ecological succession processes after a disturbance; investigating the role of soil physical and microbial processes (e.g., using mycorrhiza, probiotics, etc.), genetics, societal participation and local traditional knowledge, etc.

2. Ecological protection and conservation
This strand would generally refer to measures to protect and conserve elements of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem structure and functions from further degradation, enhance landscape and habitat connectivity, and build resilience to disturbance. Research on this strand could include: resilience analysis and management; adaptive resource management; ecosystem health assessment and monitoring; landscape connectivity analysis and restoration planning; mapping and inventory of residual native forests, biodiversity hotspots and other sensitive areas; environmental risk analysis and impact assessment, preserving genetic diversity and genetic improvement; analysis of and compliance with current environmental protection and conservation policies; prevention and control of invasive species, mine-site rehabilitation pollution, forest fires, etc.

3. Ecological sustainability and productivity enhancement
This strand focuses on the wise and efficient use of natural resources in the short-term so that these resources and ecological processes are available, maintained as well as can be increased in the long-term for society’s needs and better quality of life. Research under this strand could include: determining appropriate land-use and production options, the value of environmental services including water and catchment systems; payment for environmental services; agroforestry and novel crops using native species; sustainable use of species, renewable resource use/harvesting; policy development to support government and NGO programs in sustainability, etc.

Research Duration
The project must be implemented within a 9-month period, most likely to start from March to November 2017.

General Framework of Implementation
  1. The research proposal should have a budget not exceeding Rp100,000,000.
  2. The research proposals shall be subjected to external review by a committee that SEAMEO BIOTROP shall form following a set of criteria that the Centre currently uses as follows:
    1. Relevance of the Proposal (15%)
    2. Scientific Rigor of the Proposal Components (60%)
    3. Research Capability of the Proponent/s (10%)
    4. Feasibility of the Period of Implementation (5%)
    5. Budget Feasibility (10%)
  3. The proposal must have the following components:
    1. Title (The title of the project must be clear, concise, and attractive to generate interest/participation from all actors that are expected to be involved in the implementation of the project)
    2. Background/Rationale (This section should clearly specify the issues and concerns that the project would like to address. Why is it important to undertake the project? Who will benefit and how?)
    3. Objectives (The objectives must be concrete enough against which the project’s success or failure can be assessed)
    4. Review of Related Literature (This must situate the proposal on the current body of knowledge on the subject of the research. Related literature to be cited in the proposal must not be older than 5 years)
    5. Components and Methodologies (This section must answer how the project objectives can be achieved with the components and methodologies that the project would adopt. It should also specify the partners that would be involved in the implementation of the project)
    6. Timetable of Activity Implementation (This would specify the overall duration of the project broken down into specific time allocation to undertake the various components and activities)
    7. Monitoring and Evaluation (This section should specify the way the progress of the project would be assessed according to its objective and timeframe by component, and including the people who will be involved)
    8. Expected Outputs and Outcomes (This section should enumerate the concrete/tangible outputs and outcomes that the project is expected to produce in relation to its objectives)
    9. Estimated Budgetary Requirements (The budget must include among others personnel services, travel, materials, equipment and facilities rentals)
  4. Together with the project proposal, the following documents must also be submitted to BIOTROP:
    1. Application Letter addressed to BIOTROP Director
    2. Curriculum Vitae of all research project team members
    3. Letter of Endorsement from the immediate supervisor of the lead research project proponent and also of the research partner from another country
  5. The research team shall be under contract with SEAMEO BIOTROP within a 11-month period broken down as follows: 1 month for pre-implementation, 8 months for during implementation and 1 month for post-implementation phases of the research project. The contract specifies the proponent’s duties and responsibilities, including those that have been mentioned above and other legal and administrative procedures towards ensuring the completion of the research project.
  6. Disbursement and use of research fund shall follow DIPA regulations from the Government of Indonesia.
  7. Other than a completion report, the lead research proponent is expected to submit a draft of an article on the research project results three months after its completion for publication in BIOTROP’s journal, BIOTROPIA. The journal has been indexed by Scopus since 2012.

Application Deadline: 28 September 2016

Applicants are advised to send the complete set of application documents to:
Dr. Jesus C. Fernandez
Deputy Director for Programme and Marketing
SEAMEO BIOTROP
Email: j.fernandez@biotrop.org
Jln. Tajur Raya Km 6, Bogor 16134, Indonesia
Telp: 0251-8323848

References:
Southeast Asian Forests and Forestry to 2020: Subregional Report of the Second Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook Study 2011
http://www.unep.org/vitalforest/Report/VFG-15-The-forests-of-southeast-asia.pdf (Accessed 18 June 2015)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resilience_(ecology) (Accessed 19 June 2015)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecologically_sustainable_development (Accessed 20 June 2015)
http://www.green-innovations.asn.au/ecolsust.htm (Accessed 21 June 2015)