Friday, 12 June 2009 on 9:23am

Fifth Regional Training Course on Biodiversity and Conservation of Bryophytes and Lichens

Fifth Regional Training Course on

BIODIVERSITY AND CONSERVATION OF
BRYOPHYTES AND LICHENS

14-24 July 2009
Bogor, Indonesia

Background

The first regional training course on the biodiversity and conservation of bryophytes and lichens in Southeast Asia was successfully conducted at the SEAMEO BIOTROP campus Bogor, Indonesia in October 2001, the second one in September 2003, the third one in 2005 and the fourth in 2007. The participants came from diverse backgrounds and included post graduate students, school teachers, university professors, government workers, nature forest park rangers and research assistants. One of the recommendations in the training course is that SEAMEO BIOTROP should conduct the regional training course on cryptogams regularly. This training course will be the fifth in the field of cryptogams.

There are several good reasons for holding this training course in Bogor. Firstly, Southeast Asia is a major hotspot of biodiversity, it holds about 25% of the world’s organisms, including bryophytes and lichens. The number of persons having knowledge of bryophytes and lichens in Southeast Asia is still very low and there is a great need for capacity building in this field.

Tropical forests make up about half of the world’s forests which are rapidly being destroyed. Tropical forest, because of their complexity and variety of microhabitats, usually harbor a rich diversity of bryophytes and lichens. Even though they are often small and conspicuous, especially in the lowland forest, they may play a significant role in the forest ecosystem. Thick bryophytes mats on trees capture rainwater, especially in the mountain forest, and help to keep humidity in the forest. They serve as substrate for the establishment of vascular epiphytes, especially orchids, and offer shelter to a great variety of invertebrates (insects, snails) and microorganisms, including the nitrogen-fixing blue green algae.

Bryophytes and lichens are also valuable as sensitive pollution monitor and are sources of unique chemical compounds, some which show significant antibiotic or other pharmacologically interesting activities.

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