FMDS Conducts Research Forum on “Creating Virtual Corridors: Social Network Discovery and Landscape Patch Connectivity of Permaculture Projects and Initiatives on Facebook”

The Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS), UP Open University, organized a Research Forum entitled “Creating Virtual Corridors: Social Network Discovery and Landscape Patch Connectivity of Permaculture Projects and Initiatives on Facebook” on 27 July 2016 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm with Mr. Jabez Joshua M. Flores as the Resource Speaker. The co-authors of this study are Rick Jason Obrero, Edward Allan Foronda, Luisa Gelisan and Rikki Lee Mendiola. The Research Forum was held at UPOU Audio Visual Room (AVR).

Mr. Jabez Flores is a graduate of the Master of Environment and Natural Resources Management (MENRM) Program of UPOU.. Aside from being a Course Coordinator for the Personal Entrepreneurial Development (PED), one of the courses under the Continuing Education Program offered by FMDS at UPOU, he also serves as a Farmer Support Manager for Good Food Community, Inc. He is also an Organic Farmer and Permaculture Designer for Kainos Farm.

According to Mr. Flores, the research forum was a great opportunity for him to share his knowledge about permaculture. By sharing their study, he hopes that he can inspire others to conduct more research in this field because there are limited studies about permaculture here in the Philippines. He also wants to show other students the advantage of collaboration in conducting research.

He discussed several concepts to give a background of the study. Aside from talking about Permaculture and Permaculture Design, he also explained the concept of social network connectivity, landscape patch connectivity, concepts from landscape ecology (such as patches and corridors), and social network analysis.

In the study, the team mined data from Mr. Flores’ Facebook account to determine the connectivity of the people (his Facebook Friends) and the patches of land in his network based on the number of Facebook groups and several other factors such as the likes and comments on his posts about permaculture. They developed a scoring system which also took into account the factors mentioned before to determine who among his Facebook Friends were able to develop Virtual Corridors. Mr. Jason Obrero, one of the co-authors, explained how this can be simulated using a netlogo rumor mill simulation.

He concluded by sharing that permaculture practitioners are connected not only physically, but also virtually because Facebook realities can actually translate into the connectivity of ecological patches. He added that we should promote the types of studies which focus on the relationships of offline and online worlds because these two are actually related: whatever we do online has manifestations on the physical world. Lastly, he said that we have access to all kinds of technologies and tools right now, but it is up to us how to use these technologies for the benefit of the Earth.

Prof. Primo G. Garcia, Dean and Asst. Prof. Rita C. Ramos, Secretary to the Faculty gave the opening and closing remarks, respectively. Ms. Jeniffer F. De Pasion served as the moderator.