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Biodiversity Conference Highlights Indonesia’s Resources

by Portal Web Editor last modified Jan 10, 2013 07:31 AM
Contributors: Fidelis E Satriastanti
When Jul 19, 2010 05:05 PM to
Jul 23, 2010 05:05 PM
Where Bali, Indonesia
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Bali, Indonesia-  Hundreds of scientists from around the world gathered on Monday in Bali, where Vice President Boediono opened the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation Conference, the longest-running event of its kind in the world.

Attendees at the conference, which runs through Friday, will use the backdrop of Indonesia, home to some of the most spectacular biological diversity on earth, to discuss issues related to tropical biology and conservation, including ways for local biologists and politicians to work together to protect the country’s rich biodiversity.

Teguh Priyono, a taxonomist from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), said he hoped the conference would help policy makers wake up to the importance of protecting biodiversity.

“We hope that this meeting raises awareness about the issues of climate change and biodiversity, so that policy makers will consider scientific research when making their decisions,” he said.

Terry Sunderland, an expert at the Bogor-based Center for International Forestry Research, said forests were mainly valued for their timber and land, not for their biodiversity.

“People take biodiversity for granted,” Sunderland said. “We can’t estimate things like natural capital until we understand the value of it. It’s like we jump from the 18th floor and don’t realize we’re in crisis mode until we reach the ninth floor. It’s the same thing with biodiversity.”

He said that this lack of awareness could lead to very serious consequences.

A recent study by the United Nations Environment Program concluded that more than one billion people rely on products, income and nutrition derived from biologically diverse forests and that 75 percent of the world’s population depends on health care products that originate in these same forests.

In economic terms, the annual global trade in non-timber forest products adds up to $90 billion, and products derived from the genetic material of shrub and tree species are worth an estimated $500 billion per year.

Based on the UNEP study, annual losses due to the destruction of ecosystems amount to $5 trillion.

Indonesia is home to more than 30,000 recorded species of plants and over 3,000 mammal, bird, reptile and amphibian species.

Teguh said this year’s conference in Bali was a stepping-stone to talks on biodiversity scheduled for Nagoya, Japan, this October, where Indonesia’s natural resources will be a main topic.

More information about this event…

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