Emphasizing the importance of understanding the effects of invasive alien plants, SEAMEO BIOTROP hosted a training course titled "Biodiversity Protection from Invasive Alien Plant Species" on October 23, 24, and 27, 2023, at the SEAMEO BIOTROP Campus. The course aims to promote awareness and provide technical expertise on identifying and mitigating the impact of invasive alien plant species on biodiversity.
Beginning from the recognition of how weeds in agricultural agrosystems impair both the quality and quantity of agricultural production, the understanding of invasive alien plants' effects has evolved. Over time, the damage of these invasive species became evident as they significantly reduced biodiversity. Due to the absence of their natural predators in new ecosystems, these invasive plants consistently outcompete native species.
SEAMEO BIOTROP's commitment to weed control since its foundation expanded with the emergence of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). With some weeds being categorized as invasive alien plant species, the need for a wider perspective became evident. Although initially promising, the extensive use of herbicides has increasingly led to herbicide-resistant weed issues. As the field of weed science advanced, distinctions between fundamental and applied research became ambiguous.
Ir.Medrilzam, M.Prof. Econ, Ph.D from the The Ministry of National Development Planning opened the training. He highlighted the importance of managing invasive alien species in his opening address and emphasized Indonesia's rich biodiversity and the economic potentials it offers, stating, "Biodiversity is also our economic assets; we need to see biodiversity as a sustainable economic potential." He cited figures from KKP, revealing that 58 aquatic invasive alien species have proliferated, with almost 50% of national parks in Indonesia being invaded by 2809 species of invasive alien plants. The cost of managing the adverse impacts of these invasions surpasses 423 billion USD. He further suggested several strategies, including capacity building, economic loss analysis, collaborative action, public awareness campaigns, and media engagement.
Dr. Zulhamsyah Imran, in his introductory speech, emphasized the course's objectives, “This training course seeks to disseminate knowledge regarding invasive alien plant species, address their identification, and explore mitigation strategies for their effects on our biodiversity. We hope to empower participants to enhance their capacities in preventing and mitigating invasive alien plant species."
Prominent experts, including Dr. Soekisman Tjitrosemito, Dr. Sri S. Tjitrosoedirdjo, Dr. Rhomi Ardiansyah, Prof. Dr. Ir. Dadang, M.Sc, Dr. Aulia Nusantara, Dr. Titiek Setyawati, Decky Indrawan Junaedi, M.Env., Ph.D., and Dr. Michael Day, contributed to the course by sharing their insights on various related topics.
During the closing ceremony, Ibu Sintia as the participant representatives stated that, “This training has provided invaluable insights, facilitating idea exchanges with speakers and peers. It also expanded our regional and international networks.” The course was attended by 98 participants from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand.
The training was closed with field trip visit to Gunung Gede National Park on 28 October 2023. Dr. Soekisman Tjitrosemito and Mr Saiful Bachri coordinated this training course.