SEAMEO BIOTROP believes that its new program thrusts are current critical concerns confronting the Southeast Asian region in general. The urgency to address these concerns, particularly through research, would be significant for the sustainable development in the region. These program thrusts are also envisioned to integrate the global and regional concerns for climate change, poverty alleviation, food and nutrition security, and gender which are core themes of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDG 2030) and the ASEAN Vision 2020.
The program thrusts and their brief definition and scope are as follows:
1. Restoration of Degraded Ecosystem
Restoration of degraded ecosystem is a process of assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged, or destroyed. This is indispensable to reverse the structure and function of a degraded ecosystem, habitat area, or site for species integrity and ecosystems that put the future’s welfare as the final purpose. This program thrust may include the following topics: understanding and minimizing the differences between natural and anthropogenic disturbances (e.g. deforestation, ore and mineral mining, introduction of invasive alien plant and animal species, pollution, climate change, etc.) which interfere with the functioning of an ecosystem at spatial and temporal scales; determining the resilience of an ecosystem; use of emerging concepts in new and successful restoration technologies and performance standards; assessment of current ecology restoration practices; ways of initiating, assisting or accelerating ecological succession processes; improved understanding of the ecological, economic and socio-cultural role and importance of succession biology; investigating the role of soil physical, chemical, and microbiological processes (e.g. application of beneficial soil microorganism), genetics, resource mapping, taxonomy and inventory, etc.
2. Sustainable Management of Intensively Used Ecosystems/Landscapes
This program thrust focuses on managing areas at various scales of natural resources for productive and efficient long-term use. This may involve applying appropriate natural resource management approaches on existing ecological services and biological resources, while also adopting appropriate utilization practices to address the socio-economic and cultural needs of society toward a better quality of life. This program thrust could cover: the determination of appropriate land-use and production options, the valuation of environmental services; food/ feed and nutrition security; the use of biodiversity for enhanced and sustained production; biotechnology approach to sustain productivity; the reduction of food loss; the payment for environmental services; agroforestry and novel crops using native species; sustainable use of species, renewable resource use/harvesting; policy development to support government and NGO programs in sustainability, etc.
3. Conservation and Sustainable Use of Unique Ecosystems/Landscapes of High Biodiversity
This program thrust could generally refer to measuring, protecting, and conserving elements of unique ecosystems and/or landscapes of high biodiversity from further degradation, enhancing landscape and habitat connectivity, and building resilience to disturbance. This program thrust could cover: resilience analysis and management; rapid methodology and approaches for identifying high biodiversity and unique ecosystems; adaptive resource management; ecosystem health assessment and monitoring; landscape connectivity analysis and restoration planning; mapping and inventory of residual native forests, biodiversity hotspots and other sensitive areas; environmental risk analysis and impact assessment; preservation of genetic diversity and genetic improvement; analysis of and compliance with current environmental protection and conservation policies; prevention and control of invasive species, mine-site rehabilitation pollution, forest fires, etc.