An article by Freddy Pattiselanno and Agustina Y.S. Arobaya, The Jakarta Post.

The 51st annual meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) was held in Cairns, Australia, from July 20 to 24.

When the ATBC was founded as the Association for Tropical Biology in July 1962, it aimed to promote and foster the exchange of ideas among biologists working in tropical environments.

The ATBC has also actively supported regular publications and academic symposia to build global networks of tropical biologists and conservationists.

This reflects the strong desire of the association to balance conservation and biological diversity with human welfare in the tropics.

About 600 scientists from 47 countries with different backgrounds discussed and addressed various issues from climate change to molecular and evolutionary perspectives of biota species during the ATBC meeting, which was themed “The Future of Tropical Biology and Conservation”.

We also noted that scientists from various parts of the world were concerned about biodiversity conservation in Indonesia.

First, during a session on bushmeat and the wildlife trade in Asia, half of the presenters talked about the bird trade in Sumatra. They underlined the need to find a recipe to combat the wildlife trade, particularly on that island.

Second, there was a discussion on forest ecology as a result of extractive industries, with various examples from Sumatra and Kalimantan.

Forest conversion for logging, oil palm plantations and mining is the biggest threat to biodiversity worldwide, including Indonesia.

In terms of an evolutionary viewpoint, the advance of molecular approaches has been confirmed in facilitating conservationists to establish a tree community across the Indonesian archipelago.

A series of studies are currently being conducted to assist scientists with their forest restoration programs.

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