Bogor, Indonesia - Two hundred scientists, lecturers, government officials, and graduate students participated in BIOTROP’s Third International Conference on Tropical Biology on 20-21 September 2018 at its Convention Hall to exchange knowledge and experiences on the theme “Conservation, Enhancement, and Sustainable Use of Indigenous Flora and Fauna.” The participants came from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Timor Leste.
Aimed at assessing the successes, opportunities, and gaps in the current practices, research efforts and policies related to the theme, the conference was officially opened by Dr Kirsfianti Linda Ginoga, Director of Forest Research Centre, Forest Research Development and Innovation Agency, Ministry of Environment and Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia (MoEF RI). The conference also served as the closing event for BIOTROP’s year-long golden anniversary celebration.
In her opening remarks, Dr Ginoga conveyed that we have the opportunity and responsibility to create positive growth of our tropical biodiversity and use it sustainably. To support this commitment, she encouraged all the participants and their respective institutions to establish and strengthen collaboration with each other for the protection of tropical flora and fauna.
BIOTROP Director Dr Irdika Mansur in his welcome remarks expressed his enthusiasm for the two-day conference discussion on the theme and the consensus that the participants would generate to formulate practical and sustainable ways, based on current policies and research results, to strengthen the participation and contribution of stakeholders in eliminating current problems and, at the time the same, enhancing conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and natural resources in Southeast Asia.
The conference had four subthemes, namely: 1) Diversity and Resiliency of Indigenous Tropical Flora and Fauna and Their Ecosystems, 2) Approaches, Technologies and Innovations in Conservation, Enhancement and Sustainable Use of Indigenous Tropical Flora and Fauna, 3) Socio-economic, Cultural and Ethical Aspects in Conservation, Enhancement and Sustainable Use of Indigenous Tropical Flora and Fauna, and 4) Policies and Other Legal Frameworks in Conservation, Enhancement and Sustainable Use of Indigenous Tropical Flora and Fauna. There were 94 oral and 53 poster presenters on these subthemes during the conference.
Keynote speakers during the conference were (1) Prof Mohamed Zakaria Hussin from the Faculty of Forestry of Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), on Gains and Challenges of Conservation, Enhancement and Sustainable Use of Indigenous Tropical Flora and Fauna; (2) Prof Ani Mardiastuti from the Faculty of Forestry of Bogor Agricultural University (IPB) on Diversity and Resiliency of Indigenous Tropical Flora and Fauna and Their Ecosystems; and (3) Assoc Prof Chew Fook Tim from the Department of Biological Sciences of the National University of Singapore (NUS) on Approaches, Technologies, and Innovation in Conservation, Enhancement and Sustainability Use of Indigenous Tropical Flora and Fauna.
The Panel Discussion focused on two topics, namely: 1) Policies and Other Legal Frameworks in Conservation and Sustainable Use of Indigenous Tropical Flora and Fauna, and 2) The Future Directions in Conservation, Enhancement and Sustainable Use of Indigenous Tropical Flora and Fauna. The panelists for the first topic were drh Indra Exploitasia, MSi, from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia, and Prof Enny Sudarmonowati from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Indonesia. The second panel discussion featured Dr Mastur from the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Indonesia, Mr Hartono Prabowo from Forest Stewardship Council, Mr Adi Widyanto from Burung Indonesia, and Dr Urdujah Alvarado-Tejada from Cagayan State University (CSU), Philippines.
The conference’s welcome dinner became the venue for the Centre to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Islamic University of Indonesia, as well as the extension of its MoU with Pampanga State Agricultural University. The Centre also launched two books during this event, namely: ‘Mushroom Pharming’ written by Prof Renato Reyes et al. from Central Luzon State University and ‘Ecology of Bedugul, Bali’ written by Dr Sutomo et al. from Bali Botanical Garden.
Dr Haryanto R. Putro, from the Faculty of Forestry of IPB, delivered the conference synthesis which emphasized the importance of effective conservation strategies and practices in sustaining the tropical flora and fauna, particularly the endangered ones. These efforts need contribution from all parties including local community and related government in order to establish intensive management.
During the closing program, BIOTROP recognized the participants whose papers and posters were adjudged as best during the conference. The best paper awards went to Kobsak Wanthongchai (first) from Kasetsart University, Kanthi Hardina (second) from IPB and Rohani Shahrudin (third) from Universiti Malaysia Terengganu. On the other hand, the first, second and third best poster awards went to Ms Erniwati from Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Ms Atik Retnowati from Herbarium Bogoriense and Ms Arianne Julian from Central Luzon State University, respectively.
In closing the conference, SEAMEO BIOTROP Deputy Director Dr Jess Fernandez encouraged the participants and speakers to strengthen the community of practice in conserving, enhancing, and using sustainably the region’s indigenous flora and fauna. He invited them to establish collaboration with the Centre towards this end and to join the Centre's 4th ICTB in 2020.