Tuesday, 01 December 2015 on 4:36am

BIOTROP's 2nd International Conference Tackles Ecological Restoration in Southeast Asia

BIOTROP convened 137 researchers and practitioners from 12 countries to share lessons, address challenges, and generate commitments on strengthening ecological restoration for sustainable and integrated development in Southeast Asia during its Second International Conference on Tropical Biology held on 12-13 October 2015 at its Convention Hall in Bogor.

With the theme “Ecological Restoration in Southeast Asia: Challenges, Gains and Future Directions,”  the conference participants agreed to advocate a paradigm shift in ecological restoration that is more sustainable development - oriented by creating multifunctional landscapes and involving multi-stakeholder partnerships rather than just restoring degraded areas to their original conditions. They also recognized the need to explore a variety of innovative approaches and, disseminate and scale up lessons learned and best practices to broader stakeholders through effective science-policy interaction.

In opening the conference, BIOTROP Director Irdika Mansur emphasized the importance of the conference for the participants to share research results and lessons learned from ecological restoration practices that are critical for redefining environmental policies, determining and prioritizing research needs, and charting unified efforts from all sectors of society towards sustainable and integrated development in the Southeast Asian region. He also thanked the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for being the Centre’s major partner for the conference as well as the supporting institutions, namely: the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), BIOTROPICA Australia, Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB), Bangor University, Chiang Mai University Forest Restoration Research Unit (CMU-FORRU), World Agroforestry Centre Southeast Asia Regional Office (ICRAF SEARO), the British Council, and Australian National University.

The conference featured two keynote speakers during the first plenary session of the first day, namely: Mr Patrick Durst from UN FAO Regional Asia Pacific Office and Mr. Nigel Tucker from BIOTROPICA Australia, on the subtheme “Gains and Challenges in Ecosystem Restoration in Southeast Asia”. Mr Durst presented an update status of forests in the Asia-Pacific region based on the 2015 FAO’s Global Forest Resource Assessment, while Mr Tucker shared a spectrum of restoration options based on his experiences in West Java. This session was moderated by Dr Stephen Elliot from CMU-FORRU.

The parallel sessions for oral presentations focused on five sub-themes. The first parallel session was on Approaches, Techniques and Innovations in Ecological Restoration which was moderated by Dr Chongrak Wachinrat from Kasetsart University, Thailand. The second parallel session combined three sub-themes, namely: (1) Socio-economic, Cultural and Ethical Dimensions of Ecological Restoration, (2) Ecological Restoration, Biodiversity, and Climate Change, and (2) Ecological restoration policies and other legal frameworks. It was moderated by Dr Himlal Baral from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and Dr Dodik R. Nurrochmat from IPB. In total, there were 22 papers presented during the parallel sessions.

A Side Event on the topic “Restoring Land and Water Bodies Impacted by Mining Activities to Support Livestock Production” was also conducted during the first day of the conference. It featured six presentations, i.e., three from Indonesia (i.e., Directorate General of Livestock and Animal Health Services (DGLAHS) Ministry of Agriculture; Directorate Technique and Environment Directorate General Mineral and Coal Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources; and PT Berau Coal) and three from international institutions (i.e., Bangor University; Western Carolina University; and Aberystwyth University). This event was facilitated by former BIOTROP Director Prof. Bambang Purwantara from IPB and by Dr Irdika Mansur, Director of BIOTROP.

A panel discussion highlighted the second day of the conference that focused on the subtheme “Future Directions in Ecosystem Restoration in Southeast Asia”. The panelists were Dr Stephen Elliot from CMU-FORRU, Dr Morag McDonald from Bangor University, UK; Dr Dodik Nurrochmat from IPB; and Dr Sonya Dewi from ICRAF-SEARO. This session was moderated by Mr. Tucker from BIOTROPICA Australia.

Sixteen participants, mostly from Indonesia, presented their posters during the networking session. Eight institutions joined the exhibition during the Conference, namely: World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Bogor Botanical Garden, Directorate of Strategic Studies and Agricultural Policy (KSKP-IPB), TRUBUS Magazine, Plant Resources of South-East Asia (PROSEA), Hayati Journal and SEAMEO BIOTROP.

The participants come from Afghanistan, Australia, Belgium, the People’s Republic of China, Kenya, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand, UK, USA and Indonesia.

The conference was coordinated by Dr Ellyn Damayanti and Dr Dewi Wulandari, BIOTROP’s research program coordinators.

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