The geographic condition of Indonesia that has over 17 islands in the tropics, which lies between two oceans, has caused the country to have high, unique, and endemic biodiversity. It is often called as mega-biodiversity country. This abundant biodiversity, however, is yet to be explored and utlised wisely.
Thus, Faculty of Biology UGM and Biology Graduate Programme hosted a seminar on Saturday (15/7) on tropical biology to bring together biodiversity experts. Titled Biodiversity of Tropical Indonesia: Abundance and Utilisation, the event was attended by 67 experts from 10 institutions in Indonesia.
“There is as little as 10 percent of the natural rich resources in Indonesia that have been explored. What about the rest 90 percent? Hopefully, they are not lost before we get to know them,” said Dean of Faculty of Biology, Dr. Budi Setiadi Daryono, M.Agr.Sc., opening the seminar.
Three experts shared their ideas in the event; they are Prof. Dr. Jatna Supriatna, M.Sc., expert in Biology Conservation and Ecology from University of Indonesia, Juswono Budisetiawan, M.Si., Project Leader of WWF Indonesia for Teluk Cendrawasih (TNTC) Papua National Park, as well as Dr. Budi Setiadi Daryono, M.Agr.Sc.
Prof. Jatna said although Indonesia had practised and had passed on from generation to generation on how to use biodiversities for food, medication, etc, but the utilisation has not been maximum, because it has not kept abreast with technology developments. He suggested biology experts to make innovations to develop this utlisation and conservation of biodiversity in line with developments of science and technology globally.
“With such cutting edge technology, we have to change the paradigm and understanding on biodiversity from morphological description and biological characteristics to DNA description through sequencing, now moving on from reading towards writing gene and editing,” he said.
To meet these goals, he asked for political support and investment from the state, scientists, civil society, and business players so that these can form an N-helix that is going to mainstreaming biodiversity challenges and issues towards sustainable development.
Furthermore, Juswono described his experience in the conservation of shark whales in Teluk Cenderawasih National Park. Meanwhile, Dr. Budi explained the role of genetics and silviculture in the conservation of sustainable biodiversity.
Research by 28 researchers from across Indonesia were also explained in three panel sessions. All papers will be published in the Journal of Tropical Biodiversity and Biotechnology (JTBB) published by Faculty of Biology UGM.
“Hopefully, this event would be the media for sharing ideas on Indonesian biodiversities as well as enhancing the network between Biology researchers in Indonesia,” said Dr. Miftahul Ilmi, M.Si., seminar chairman also JTBB manager.