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Asean Biodiversity: The ASEAN centre for Biodiversity

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Asean Biodiversity: The ASEAN centre for Biodiversity

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The ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) is an intergovernmental regional centre of excellence that facilitates cooperation and coordination among the ten ASEAN Member States and with relevant national governments, regional and international organizations on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefi ts arising from the use of such natural treasures.

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  1. The ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity Conserving Southeast Asia’s Biodiversity for Human Development and Survival T he ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) is an • To undertake innovative resource generation intergovernmental regional centre of excellence that and mobilization measures to pursue high- facilitates cooperation and coordination among the impact activities that will enhance biodiversity ten ASEAN Member States and with relevant national conservation in the region. governments, regional and international organizations on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits ACB supports ASEAN Member States in the arising from the use of such natural treasures. following thematic concerns that are of global and regional importance: Agriculture and food security, ACB’s goals are: including food certification and biodiversity; Access • To serve as an effective coordinative body to to, and fair and equitable sharing of benefits from facilitate discussion and resolution of cross-country biological and genetic resources; Climate change biodiversity conservation issues; and biodiversity conservation; Ecotourism and • To provide a framework and mechanism for sharing biodiversity conservation; Payment for ecosystems information, experiences, best practices and lessons services and valuation of biodiversity; Wildlife learned for efficient access of ASEAN Member enforcement; Managing invasive alien species; States; • To implement a pro-active approach in monitoring Peatland management and biodiversity; Support to the and assessing biodiversity conservation status as a Global Taxonomy Initiative; Support to the Convention strategic approach towards identifying critical issues on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Programme of Work and future trends; on Protected Areas; Managing biodiversity information • To deliver/facilitate conduct of capacity-building and knowledge; and Business and biodiversity. services and technology transfer through engaging relevant and appropriate expertise; For more information, log on to • To enhance common understanding of biodiversity www.aseanbiodiversity.org. conservation issues, strengthening ASEAN regional positions in negotiations and in compliance with relevant multilateral environmental agreements; ACB Headquarters • To promote public awareness to develop champions 3/F ERDB Building, Forestry Campus and enhance support at different stakeholder levels College, Laguna 4031, Philippines on biodiversity concerns; and Telephone/Fax: +6349 536-2865 / +6349 536-1044
  2. CONTENTS VOL. 10 NO. 1 JANUARY - APRIL 2011 7 6 9 SPECIAL REPORTS 30 Viet Nam wildlife law 6 Carl Linnaeus: enforcers build skills to The father of taxonomy combat illegal wildlife trade 7 Taxonomy – What is it? 31 Wildlife enforcement events 9 Will taxonomy survive? 11 The Global Taxonomy FEATURES Initiative 32 The Nagoya Biodiversity 13 COP10 strengthens GTI Compact 16 Enhancing taxonomic 33 Sustainable construction capabilities of Southeast Asia safeguards biodiversity and other Asian countries 38 UN Decade on 19 The status of marine Biodiversity 2011-2020 taxonomy in the Living in harmony with nature Stink Bug ASEAN region 39 Take action for biodiversity Photo by Lim Xin Yi (entry to the ASEAN-wide photo contest “Zooming 22 Dr. Rachun Pooma: in on Biodiversity”) Profile of a taxonomist Millions of species of plants and animals are known because of SPECIAL SECTIONS taxonomy. Millions more are waiting to be discovered and named. 26 Search for the ASEAN However, the dwindling number of taxonomists and the lack of resources Champions of Biodiversity for taxonomy are seriously hampering 29 FREELAND Foundation not only our chances of getting to know the world’s riches, but also to combat wildlife the conservation efforts that need trafficking in Asia taxonomic support. There is a serious need to revive interest in taxonomy. 30 ASEAN law enforcers train on taxonomy and wildlife protection policies 35 JANUARY - APRIL 2011 ASEAN BIODIVERSITY 3
  3. 64 Japan and ASEAN boost taxonomic capacities 65 ACB in Photos 65 Int’l confab links climate change and biodiversity 66 ABS protocol opens for signature 66 ASEAN presents Southeast Asia’s biodiversity report card 67 Philippines uses 52 information management to strengthen biodiversity conservation 68 Workshop discusses REDD-Plus as tool vs. biodiversity loss and climate change 69 New international treaty on LMOs opens for signature 69 Singapore starts 47 63 comprehensive marine biodiversity survey 69 Makiling “Trekathon” held 40 International Year PROFILES 70 Raise the value of forests, of Forests 2011 52 Cambodia: says IUCN Protecting forests for Phnom Samkos 70 Biodiversity in Food people Wildlife Sanctuary Awards now open 42 FAO launches 2011 55 Viet Nam: 70 UN-REDD releases first State of the World’s Ke Go Nature Reserve 5-Year strategy Forests report 59 Indonesia: 43 World Wetlands Day, Manusela National Park 71 BIODIVERSITY NEWS February 2 SOUTHEAST ASIA Celebrating wetlands BOOKMARKS 44 Water security depends 62 ASEAN and Royal FOCUS on forests and wetlands Thai foundation to 77 Bare-faced Bulbul 45 International Women’s promote biodiversity 78 Bukidnon Woodcock Day, March 8 conservation 79 Limestone Leaf Warbler Women as custodians 62 ASEAN and Germany 80 Wattled Smoky Honeyeater of biodiversity cooperate on biodiversity 46 World Water Day, March 22 and climate change World focuses on water 63 ACB launches and urbanization two new books 47 World Health Day, April 7 63 AWGNCB discusses Biodiversity ensures human ACB work plan for 2011 well-being 64 Germany supports 50 Earth Day, April 22 ASEAN in establishing A Billion Acts of Green a biodiversity fund 79 4 ASEAN BIODIVERSITY JANUARY - APRIL 2011 www.aseanbiodiversity.org
  4. Publisher Rodrigo U. Fuentes Editor-in-Chief Rolando A. Inciong Managing Editor Leslie Ann Jose-Castillo Head Writer and Researcher Sahlee Bugna-Barrer Designer, Graphic and Layout Artist Nanie S. Gonzales Circulation Assistant Angela Rose Crissie A. Metin Editorial Board Clarissa C. Arida Rodrigo U. Fuentes Rolando A. Inciong Wilfredo J. Obien Monina T. Uriarte Sheila G. Vergara Illustration by Kevin Ray Valentino ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) Headquarters About the Contributors 3/F ERDB Building, Forestry Campus Dr. Ahmed Djoghlaf is the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Prior to his University of the Philippines appointment to CBD, he served as United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Assistant Executive Los Baños, College, Laguna, Director and Director of Division of the Global Environment Facility in which he raised the profile of UNEP. Philippines He has passionately been involved within the UN system and within CBD processes. Prof. Zulfigar Yasin is a renowned marine scientist in Malaysia. Since 1988, he has been involved in Telefax: research on Malaysian seas. He led the Malaysian team to Antarctica in 2003, working with the Australian +632.584-4247 Antarctic Division. Writing from the rolling berth of the Aurora Australis, the journey was chronicled in a +6349.536-2865 Malaysian national newspaper. In 2004, Prof. Zulfigar initiated and led Malaysia’s largest scientific voyage – the ROSES Expedition (Research on the Seas and Islands of Malaysia) – through the Straits of Malacca and the E-mail: South China Sea on board the scientific research vessel, the Allied Commander. The expedition documented and contact.us@aseanbiodiversity.org explored the biological richness of the area, recognized as a marine biological hotspot. The voyage noted many first time records of organisms on Malaysia’s reefs and detailed location and the prevailing conditions of these outer reefs. To date, Prof. Yasin has received a total of 63 research grants with nine international and 15 national awards. Website: www.aseanbiodiversity.org Dr. Aileen Tan Shau-Hwai is an Associate Professor. Her research interest in marine science especially in the field of mariculture, biodiversity and conservation has earned her vast recognition both in the national ACB Annex and international arenas. She was the first Malaysian who has successfully cultured oysters from eggs and sperms through artificial spawning. She has also extended her success on other invertebrates such Ninoy Aquino Parks as giant clams, sea cucumber, nudibranch, pearl oysters and mussels. She is a pioneer researcher in mariculture and Wildlife Center involving invertebrates and has won several awards for her research on mariculture and biodiversity. Dr. Aileen has North Avenue, Diliman, published over 100 articles in various scientific journals, monographs, proceedings, conferences and seminars. Quezon City 1156 She is also involved in building human capacity where she was awarded the Best Woman Scientist for her work in Philippines guiding the women-folks in Johore Islands in earning their income through the giant clam conservation program. She is currently a faculty member at the Universiti Sains Malaysia based in Penang, Malaysia. Disclaimer: Views or opinions Dr. Noriaki Sakaguchi is the Deputy Director for Wildlife Conservation of the Biodiversity Center of Japan, expressed herein do not necessarily Naha Nature Conservation Office, Ministry of the Environment. After receiving his Ph.D. in Science at represent any official views of the Kyushu University in 1994, he started his career in the Ministry of the Environment. From 1994 to 2001, Association of Southeast Asian he was an expert in Iriomote Wildlife Conservation Center working for the conservation of the Iriomote cat. Nations (ASEAN). The authors Between 2001 and 2003, he was a long-term expert at the Biodiversity Conservation Project in Indonesia by JICA are responsible for any data or working for research and conservation of the Javan leopard and other endangered species. He then became the Assistant Director at the Wildlife Division, Nature Conservation Bureau working for endangered species conservation, information presented in their articles. CITES and invasive alien species from 2003 to 2006. After that, he was appointed Deputy Director at the Biodiversity Center of Japan where he handled the monitoring of biodiversity in Japan and international cooperation Letters, articles, suggestions and through ESABII and Asia Pacific – Biodiversity Observation Network (AP-BON). photos are welcome and should be addressed to: Dr. Filiberto A. Pollisco, Jr. specializes in forest ecology and land management/land use planning; biodiversity conservation in genetic, species and ecosystems levels; and ecotourism. He was formerly an Assistant Director/Supervising Science Research Specialist at the Philippine Council for Agriculture, The Editor-in-Chief Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) where he handled sloping land ASEAN Biodiversity Magazine management, solid waste management, organic agriculture, soil and water conservation, and project development. ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity He presently works at the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity as Program Development Specialist. College, Laguna Anjo Alimario is a writer and researcher at BusinessMirror, a Philippine-based broadsheet. He is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of the Philippines - Diliman’s B.A. in Speech Communication E-mails: program. As a researcher and writer, he covers topics such as science, learning, business, and lifestyle, rainciong@aseanbiodiversity.org among others. His passion and interest in the field of science earned him his first journalism award in the lavjose2@aseanbiodiversity.org J. Burgos Biotechnology Journalism Awards, placing second in the Best Feature Story category. sbbarrer@aseanbiodiversity.org JANUARY - APRIL 2011 ASEAN BIODIVERSITY 5
  5. SPECIAL REPORT Carl Linnaeus the father of taxonomy arl Linnaeus, also naeus’ idea was to divide University of Uppsala and appended to about 12,000 C known as Carl von Linné or Carolus nature into groups based on shared physical char- then became Professor of Botany, Dietetics and Mate- scientific names of plants and animals indicates the Linnaeus, is often called acteristics. Firstly, the three rial Medica in 1742. Around immensity of his achieve- the Father of Taxonomy kingdoms of plants, animals the same time, the Swed- ments, for such names at and was one of the most and minerals. Kingdoms ish Parliament wanted an their publication had to be influential scientists of his were divided into classes inventory of all the natural associated with descriptive time. His system resources of the country information derived from for naming, rank- which led to the publication his study of specimens and ing and classifying of Flora Suecica and Fauna earlier literature. organisms allowed Suecica in 1745 and 1746. Linnaeus’ binomial sys- for clear and easy Linnaeus’ main focus tem rapidly became the descriptions of remained his reform of bot- standard system for nam- plants, animals and any. In 1751, he published ing species. Zoological and minerals, which is Philosophia Botanica, most botanical taxonomic so straightforward which dealt with the theory priority begin with Linnae- that it is still used of botany and the laws and us: the oldest plant names by scientists today. rules the botanist must fol- accepted as valid today are Born in 1707 in low in order to describe those published in Species Råshult, southern and name plants correctly. Plantarum, in 1753, while Sweden, the young Species Plantarum followed the oldest animal names are Linnaeus showed in 1753, describing some those in the tenth edition of a keen interest in 6,000 plant species which Systema Naturae (1758), plants and flowers. introduced a new system of the first edition to use the By the age of eight, naming organisms, which binomial system consis- he was given the he extended to animals in tently throughout. Although nickname ‘the little his definitive updated Sys- Linnaeus was not the first botanist’. He studied medi- and then into orders, which tema Naturae in 1758. to use binomials, he was cine, first at the University were divided into genera the first to use them consis- of Lund and then at the (singular: genus) and then Achievements tently, and for this reason, University of Uppsala. Med- species (singular: spe- Linnaeus is remembered Latin names that naturalists icine at his time was based cies). Linnaeus gave all the nowadays primarily as the used before Linnaeus are on herbalism so it meant plants known at that time great biological name giver not usually considered valid he also studied plants. He a simpler Latin name in of the 18th century. The ab- under the rules of nomen- then became a lecturer in two parts, known as a bi- breviation “L.” for Linnaeus clature. Botany. During this period, nomial. The first part was Linnaeus identified ecol- Linnaeus began to outline the genus, followed by the ogy as a distinct area of the theory of plant sexual- species. Using this system, investigation, emphasiz- ity, which he would later use the tomato became a more ing the interrelationships in to construct his system of manageable Solanum lyco- nature as ‘the economy of plant classification. persicum. He gave binomial nature’. He was also one of names to animals five years the first naturalists to de- Linnaeus’ theory later and named thousands scribe food chains. of classification of plants and animals in his In the early 18th century, lifetime. This binomial sys- References: scientific names for spe- tem has since become the The Linnaean Correspondence cies were already in Latin, standard way of naming or- (http://linnaeus.c18.net/Doc/ but were often long and ganisms. lbio.php) unwieldy. For example, the Natural History Museum humble tomato was called The professor of botany (http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature- Solanum caule inermi her- 1n 1741, Linnaeus was online/science-of-natural- baceo, foliis pinnatis incisis, appointed Professor of history/biographies/linnaeus/ racemis simplicibus. Lin- Practical Medicine at the Philosophia Botanica index.html) 6 ASEAN BIODIVERSITY JANUARY - APRIL 2011 www.aseanbiodiversity.org
  6. SPECIAL REPORT Taxonomy – what is it? axonomy is the science of naming, help us find out more about them, and en- T describing and classifying organ- isms and includes all plants, animals able us to be sure that we are all talking about the same thing. Of course, there are and microorganisms of the world. Using names for organisms in many languages, morphological, behavioral, genetic and but it is important, for example, when dis- biochemical observations, taxonomists cussing the hedgehog to know whether identify, describe and arrange species into one is talking about the small spiny insec- classifications, including those that are tivore Erinaceus europaeus, other mem- new to science. bers of the same family, cacti of the genus Taxonomy identifies and enumerates Echinocerus, or the components of biological diversity the orange fun- providing basic knowledge underpinning gus Hydnum management and implementation of the repandum, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). all of which Unfortunately, taxonomic knowledge is far have the same from complete. In the past 250 years of ‘common’ name research, taxonomists have named about in English. For this reason the Latin ‘sci- 1.78 million species of animals, plants and entific’ name is given as a unique universal micro-organisms, yet the total number of identifier. species is unknown and probably between 5 and 30 million. How to Name a Species: Different kinds of animals, fungi and the Taxonomic Process plants and microorganisms are called dif- Taxonomists begin by sorting specimens ferent ‘species’. This reflects a real bio- to separate sets they believe represent spe- logical difference – a species is de- cies. Once the specimens are sorted, the next fined as a potentially interbreeding job is to see whether or not they already have group of organisms that can produce names. This may involve working through viable offspring that themselves can identification guides, reading descriptions interbreed. Thus, animals of two differ- written perhaps 200 years ago, and borrowing ent species, like a horse and a zebra, named specimens from museums or herbaria cannot interbreed, while animals of to compare with the sample. the same species can. Such comparison may involve external Taxonomists provide unique characters, need to dissect internal struc- names for species, labels that can tures, or even molecular analysis of the JANUARY - APRIL 2011 ASEAN BIODIVERSITY 7
  7. Photo courtesy of Green Community “Taxonomy DNA. If there is no match, the specimens may rep- How can developing coun- tries ensure that they reap onomists can offer exper- tise that is central to de- provides a basic resent a new species, not the benefits of the use of veloping the most effective understanding previously given a name. The taxonomist then has their biological diversity, if they don’t know the biolog- yet economic and environ- mentally benign eradication of the components to write a description, in- ical diversity that is being measures. of biodiversity cluding ways in which the new species can be distin- used? Taxonomy provides a basic understanding of Increased capacity build- ing, especially for devel- which is necessary guished from others, and the components of biodi- oping countries, is neces- for effective make up a name for it, in a versity which is necessary sary to identify, record and Latin format. The name and for effective decision mak- monitor invasions; provide decision making the description must then ing about conservation and current and accessible lists be properly published so sustainable use. of potential and established about conservation that other taxonomists can IAS; identify potential threats and sustainable see what has been done, and be able to identify the Taxonomy to combat invasive alien species to neighboring countries; and to access information use.” species themselves. From Taxonomic information on taxonomy, ecology, ge- finding the specimens to is essential for agencies netics and control meth- the name appearing in print and border authorities to ods. It is vital that adjacent can take several years. detect, manage and con- countries, and all countries trol Invasive Alien Species along a particular pathway Why is taxonomy (IAS). Effective control and for invasive species, can important? management measures can recognize such species and Global biodiversity is only be implemented when concur on their nomencla- being lost at an unprec- exotic species are correctly ture. Baseline taxonomic edented rate as a result and promptly identified. information on native biota of human activities, and Misidentifications can cost at the national level is also decisions must be taken money when rapid deci- important to ensure that now to combat this trend. sions need to be taken. IAS can be recognized and But how do decision mak- Networking and sharing distinguished from naturally ers decide where to estab- of experiences, information present species. lish protected areas if they and expertise can aid in don’t know what is being lowering the costs associ- Reference: protected? How do regu- ated with IAS and reduce Secretariat of the Convention lators identify and combat the need for eradication on Biological Diversity. 2007. harmful invasive species programs with early detec- Guide to the Global Taxonomy if they cannot distinguish tion and prevention. When Initiative, CBD Technical them from native species? eradication is needed, tax- Series # 27 8 ASEAN BIODIVERSITY JANUARY - APRIL 2011 www.aseanbiodiversity.org
  8. SPECIAL REPORT Will Taxonomy Survive? Photo courtesy of Green Community By Leslie Ann Jose-Castillo nly a fraction of the world’s spe- Taxonomists, an endangered species O cies have been identified owing to insufficient funding and a shortage At the Second Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on of taxonomists, according to a Brazilian study. Biological Diversity (CBD), it was realized that Scientists Fernando Carbayo and Antonio taxonomic information, as well as taxonomic Marques from the University of Sao Paulo, and curatorial expertise and infrastructure, are writing in the journal Trends in Ecology and insufficient in many parts of the world, particu- Evolution, said only 1.4 million species have larly in developing countries. Such lack was been catalogued, thus far. This leaves an es- anticipated to be one of the key obstacles in timated 5.4 million unknown to science. The the implementation of the Convention. duo estimated that it would take US$263 bil- “Taxonomists have become an endangered lion to catalogue the unknown species. species. The scientific community has been Apart from lack of funding, Carbayo and talking about biodiversity loss, climate change, Marques point to the shortage of qualified deforestation, desertification, and other envi- taxonomists as the main stumbling block to ronmental issues that confront us today. But identifying millions of unknown creatures. A one serious concern that is falling off from the taxonomist is a scientist who classifies or- global political, funding, academic and scien- ganisms according to their physical or cel- tific agendas is taxonomy. The issue becomes lular characteristics. These scientists also try more serious with the reality that taxonomists, to determine the evolutionary relationships like many endangered species, are not in- among these organisms. creasing in numbers,” Mr. Rodrigo U. Fuen- JANUARY - APRIL 2011 ASEAN BIODIVERSITY 9
  9. SPECIAL REPORT tes, executive director of the taxonomic research, outputs ASEAN Centre for Biodiver- and capacity development sity (ACB), said. needed for implementation of He added that “in a num- the Convention. “No country ber of taxonomy workshops can have all the taxonomic and trainings that the Centre capacity it requires – taxon- has co-organized, resource omy is a global science – but persons and participants for CBD implementation it is from the ten ASEAN Mem- vital that each country devel- ber States, Japan, Korea, ops appropriate capacities China and other countries all such that it has access — mention a shortage of tax- within country or otherwise onomists who can be called — to the expertise, tools and upon to identify species, de- information needed to identify scribe species that are new and monitor biodiversity and to science, determine their threats to it. The Programme taxonomic relationships, and Photo courtesy of Green Community of Work for the GTI therefore make predictions about their identifies regional and global properties.” are being lost nationally and science and profession is technical cooperation net- new graduates are no longer crippling the ASEAN Mem- works as a key mechanism Taxonomists, an being trained.” ber States’ and other Asian for meeting national taxo- endangered species The state of taxonomy in countries’ capacity to effec- nomic needs,” he said. With the aging taxonomic the ASEAN region and in oth- tively catalogue the region’s He also called on Parties workforce and the declining er parts of the world is similar biological resources. Experts to the CBD to work on mak- number of students study- with the UK’s. point to the fact that without ing tangible progress in fur- ing taxonomy, the shortage is knowledge and understand- thering regional cooperation expected to worsen. Adding Need to revive interest ing of species, it would be by establishing a strong net- to the problem is the fact that in taxonomy difficult to plan and imple- work of taxonomists and link- many trained taxonomists “Adequate taxonomy is ment biodiversity conserva- ing taxonomy to the process are under-utilized due to in- one of the fundamental tools tion efforts. of implementing the CBD. sufficient funds allocated to required for the global com- Speaking at the First Latin taxonomic study. Every ma- munity to implement the Mil- American Congress for the Collaborating to improve jor museum suffers from the lennium Development Goals Conservation of Biodiversity taxonomic capacities backlog of unstudied speci- and the development targets held in Argentina, CBD Ex- In the ASEAN region, such mens and undescribed new from the World Summit for ecutive Secretary Dr. Ahmed network is being established species, while every curator Sustainable Development. Djoghlaf underscored the key through the project “Taxo- can cite the loss of students Without sufficient long-term role to be played by taxono- nomic Capacity Building and who were interested in tax- investment in the human, mists in achieving the targets Governance for Conserva- onomy, but could not get infrastructural, and informa- of the 2011-2020 CBD Stra- tion and Sustainable Use sufficient fellowship support tion resources necessary to tegic Plan. “Taxonomy and of Biodiversity” funded by or failed to find a paying job. underpin the science of tax- taxonomic capacity are ba- the Government of Japan In the United Kingdom, onomy, the now well-recog- sic concerns for biodiversity through the Japan-ASEAN for one, it is estimated that nized taxonomic impediment conservation and therefore of Integration Fund. (For more there are only 500 taxono- will continue to prevent im- the CBD. Knowledge of what information on the project, mists. In an interview with plementation of sound, sci- species occur in what place go to page 16). The Independent, Professor entifically based sustainable, is fundamental for guiding “Through the collaboration Geoff Boxshall, zoologist at environmental management effective conservation plans among countries, we are able the Natural History Museum, and development policies,” and interventions. As cli- to mobilize and share exper- said “The collapse of tax- Mr. Fuentes explained. mate change causes range tise in the field of taxonomy onomy in the UK universi- He added that taxonomy shifts, new invasive spe- and ensure that taxonomic ties is extremely worrying, no is a critical tool for combating cies will become threatening capacities will be made ac- one is training the new gen- the threat from invasive alien and the boundaries of some cessible to the ASEAN Mem- eration of young taxonomists species and other concerns protected areas will need to ber States. Taxonomy should needed to monitor changes such as in human health. change,” he said. be revived. The challenge in biodiversity, to deliver high- Without access to support, now is to address shortfall quality research, or to meet misidentifications are made, The Global in taxonomic manpower be- the demands of industry.” costing precious money and Taxonomy Initiative fore it affects our ability to He added that “our concern time when rapid decisions According to the global conserve, use and share the is that taxonomy is not taken need to be made. biodiversity chief, the Pro- benefits of biological diver- seriously. It is not rated very Parties to the CBD recog- gramme of Work for the sity. The challenge for all: Will highly and there is very little in nize that there is a dire need Global Taxonomy Initiative taxonomy survive? What can the way of practical courses to revive interest in taxonomy. (GTI) was developed under we do to save it?” Mr. Fuen- at universities in the UK. Skills The diminishing status of this the Convention to guide the tes said. 10 ASEAN BIODIVERSITY JANUARY - APRIL 2011 www.aseanbiodiversity.org
  10. SPECIAL REPORT The Global Taxonomy Initiative “Identification of large, charismatic animals may be easy; however, the majority of organisms are insects, plants, fungi and microorganisms, which require expert skills for correct identification. Most of them have not been categorized or given formal scientific names.” Photo courtesy of Green Community overnments, through the Conven- and microorganisms, which require expert G tion on Biological Diversity (CBD), have acknowledged the existence skills for correct identification. Most of them have not been categorized or given of a “taxonomic impediment” to the sound formal scientific names. The inability to management of biodiversity. Thus, the CBD identify (or obtain identifications of) spe- established the Global Taxonomy Initiative cies is a major component of the taxo- (GTI), which aims to remove or reduce this nomic impediment. taxonomic impediment – in other words, the Simple-to-use identification guides for knowledge gaps in our taxonomic system the non-taxonomist are rare and available (including those associated with genetic for relatively few taxonomic groups and systems), the shortage of trained taxono- geographic areas. Taxonomic information is mists and curators, and the impact these often in formats and languages that are not deficiencies have on our ability to conserve, suitable or accessible in countries of origin, use and share the benefits of our biological as specimens from developing countries are diversity. often studied in industrialized nations. Identification of large, charismatic ani- There are millions of species still unde- mals may be easy; however, the major- scribed and there are far too few taxono- ity of organisms are insects, plants, fungi mists to do the job, especially in biodiver- JANUARY - APRIL 2011 ASEAN BIODIVERSITY 11
  11. SPECIAL REPORT “One aspect information and expertise available in many parts of ings or processes that may be convened. Assistance in synthesize this information. The GTI is necessarily of the GTI is the world, and thereby to bringing this information to- driven by user needs, those to ensure that improve decision making in conservation, sustainable gether, and providing other documentation to develop needs being identified in the context of Convention taxonomic use and equitable sharing the process, is provided by implementation. Taxono- information of the benefits derived from genetic resources. This is the Executive Secretary of the CBD and the Secretari- mists already produce vast amounts of basic, valuable reaches not only the first time in history that at (SCBD), which includes a information. However, the taxonomists taxonomy has had recogni- tion at such a high level in GTI Programme Officer. The other aspect of the practices of information dissemination have not al- but also international policy. dual nature of the GTI is ways done justice to the decision makers The GTI was developed that of implementation. The importance of that informa- by governments, under the adoption by the COP of a tion. One aspect of the GTI and other CBD, and is implemented particular decision does is to ensure that taxonomic by many actors including not automatically mean that information reaches not non-taxonomist governments, non-gov- the aspirations expressed only taxonomists but also users, and in ernment and international organizations, as well as within it are implemented. Countries first have to take decision makers and other non-taxonomist users, and a format that taxonomists and the insti- decisions of their own as to in a format that they can they can employ. “ tutions where they work. Taxonomy is important for what extent they will put in place policies to implement employ. In addition to effective all types of ecosystems, locally what has been de- dissemination of existing and therefore the initiative cided globally. The activi- information, generation of sity-rich but economically is a cross-cutting issue ap- ties outlined in the policies new information is also a poorer countries. Most tax- plicable to all of the work (e.g. the GTI Programme of part of the GTI. As noted onomists work in industrial- under the Convention. The Work) need to be undertak- earlier, the majority of spe- ized countries, which typi- GTI is specifically intended en by, among others, tax- cies are not yet described cally have less diverse biota to support implementation onomists themselves. and named. Any taxonomic than in more tropical devel- of the work programs of the The success of the GTI activity will at some level oping countries. Collection Convention on its thematic depends largely on the par- assist in implementation institutions in industrialized and cross-cutting issues. ticipation of taxonomists and of the Convention, be- countries also hold most Because the GTI is a part of others, and the success- cause better understand- specimens from these de- the CBD, the taxonomic ac- ful integration of taxonomic ing of biodiversity should veloping countries, as well tivities that it espouses are work with other Convention ultimately support better as associated taxonomic in support of the three aims activities. This is a challenge. decisions about conserva- information. of the Convention. Mechanisms must be estab- tion and sustainable use of Furthermore, although The GTI has a dual na- lished to support implemen- biodiversity. there is extensive taxonom- ture, encompassing both tation, and to record when Nevertheless, the GTI fo- ic work on groups such as policy and implementation. and how implementation has cuses somewhat on taxon- birds, mammals and higher Firstly, as a ‘cross-cut- taken place. Those imple- omy applied in the context plants, little is known of ting issue’ of the CBD, it is menting the GTI are by and of the implementation of the their distribution, biology part of an agreement that large not engaged in policy CBD. End-users of taxo- and genetics. It is estimat- provides the legal and po- development, and there may nomic information, be they ed that only ten percent of litical backing for activities be very tenuous links be- protected area managers, vertebrates remain to be in support of its threefold tween the implementers and scientists combating alien described, but greater than objective. This is the forum the policymakers. Taxono- species, or national govern- 50 percent of terrestrial through which the Parties to mists and their institutions ments defining access re- arthropods and up to 95 the CBD develop policy, as may not be aware of the gimes for medicinal plants, percent of protozoa are un- articulated in the decisions policy decisions that have have an important short- described. At the most con- of the Conference of the been made, and how these term need for good infor- servative estimate, there are Parties. This international can support the work that is mation upon which to base more unknown species than policy can then be used to required. their decisions. In short, known ones on earth. inform national policies by Conversely, those tasked effective implementation of the COP. with reporting on the prog- the CBD depends largely on What needs to be done? Input to the COP comes ress of the GTI (specifically taxonomic information. The GTI was created from its Subsidiary Body GTI and CBD National Focal to remove or reduce the on Scientific, Technical and Points) may not be aware Reference: “taxonomic impediment”. Technological Advice (SB- of what progress has been Secretariat of the Convention It was established by the STTA), the ‘Coordination made, or, indeed, of who on Biological Diversity. 2007. Conference of the Parties Mechanism’ of the GTI (an might be involved, since Guide to the Global Taxonomy (COP) to the CBD to ad- informal advisory group), there is generally no mecha- Initiative, CBD Technical dress the lack of taxonomic and any other expert meet- nism in place to gather and Series # 27 12 ASEAN BIODIVERSITY JANUARY - APRIL 2011 www.aseanbiodiversity.org
  12. SPECIAL REPORT Photo courtesy of the Government of Japan COP10 strengthens GTI t the Tenth Meeting of the Confer- cies management, encourages Parties, A ence of the Parties (COP10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity other Governments and relevant organi- zations to determine priority taxonomic (CBD) held in Nagoya, Japan in October needs in the other thematic areas and 2010, the Parties came up with Decision cross-cutting issues of the Convention, X/39 further strengthening the implemen- taking into account the regionally spe- tation of the Global Taxonomy Initiative cific needs in taxa and regionally deter- (GTI). The Parties recalled that the ongoing mined capacity-building needs; “taxonomic impediment” not only threatens 2. Encourages Parties and relevant orga- the generation of new taxonomic data, but nizations to make taxonomic and other also endangers the validation of taxonomic necessary data and metadata from tax- specimens and their associated data as onomic and other relevant institutions deposited in natural history collections and and organizations easily accessible and other scientific resources. They recognized their collections available in response the limited progress on taxonomic needs to the information needs identified as assessments at the national level and urged national and regional priorities such as, Parties and other Governments to conduct inter alia, information and expertise to taxonomic needs assessments, where ap- manage invasive alien species and en- plicable, with particular regard to the full dangered species; range of end-users and their need for taxo- 3. Recognizing the need for better and nomic support in the implementation of all more comprehensive data of species relevant articles and work programs of the distribution at bioregional scale, urges CBD. Parties and invites other Governments The salient points of Decision X/39: and organizations, to better coordinate 1. Acknowledging the progress made at their taxonomic research in biogeo- the global level with determining priority graphic regions, and to share and ex- taxonomic needs for invasive alien spe- change, new and existing information; JANUARY - APRIL 2011 ASEAN BIODIVERSITY 13
  13. SPECIAL REPORT 4. Further urges Parties niques commonly maximized for a wide 11. Further recognizing that and invites other Gov- used in taxonomy, range of biodiversity taxonomic capacity is ernments and orga- such as DNA bar- assessments, encour- crucial for the imple- nizations to increase coding among oth- ages Parties and other mentation of all relevant the knowledge base ers; Governments to en- articles and work pro- on ecological range c. Training courses hance the activities of grams of the Convention and the condition of both for the users of institutions related to and that the taxonomic the species in order to taxonomic informa- taxonomy to provide capacity to inventory better meet the user- tion and for young job opportunities and and monitor biodiver- needs in respect of bio- professional taxon- incentives for young sity, including the use of indication of ecological omists; taxonomists and to new technologies, such health; d. Scientific collections strengthen the taxo- as DNA barcoding and 5. Requests the Execu- in developing coun- nomic capacity to con- other relevant informa- tive Secretary of the tries, particularly duct appropriate train- tion technology is not CBD with the assis- the least developed ing for parataxonomists adequate in many parts tance of the Coordina- countries and small and relevant end-users of the world, invites the tion Mechanism for the island developing of taxonomy at nation- Global Environment GTI and in collabora- states among them, al, regional and global Facility, Parties, other tion with relevant inter- and countries with levels; Governments, and national organizations, economies in transi- 10. Invites Parties, other other international and to hold capacity-build- tion Governments and in- funding organizations ing training workshops 8. Recognizing the im- ternational and funding to put higher priority for in all sub-regions and portance of exchange organizations to carry funding to GTI propos- regions as needed; of taxonomic voucher out implementation of als; 6. Urges Parties and in- specimens for non- the program of work for 12. Welcoming the prog- vites other Govern- commercial biodiversity the Global Taxonomy ress on the establish- ments to endorse research, encourages Initiative with special ment of a Special Trust GTI-related project Parties, other Govern- attention to national Fund for the Global proposals relevant to ments and organiza- and regional invento- Taxonomy Initiative their national biodi- tions to find ways of ries of all organisms, and acknowledging versity strategies and facilitating and benefit- i.e. plants, animals and the work of BioNET- action plans prepared ing from regional and microorganisms; INTERNATIONAL and in collaboration with sub-regional scientific national, regional and and technical collabo- global partner organi- rations in accordance zations and networks, with relevant national to facilitate the process legislation and relevant of project funding by requirements where the Global Environment applicable with due Facility and through regard for the need to other relevant sources address changes in of funding; use and intent other 7. Urges Parties and in- than taxonomic and vites other Govern- subject to the out- ments to facilitate the comes of the negotia- development of capac- tion on the international ity, in collaboration with regime on access and global, regional and benefit-sharing under sub-regional networks, the Convention; as needed in: 9. Recognizing that the a. The use of share- number of professional able taxonomic taxonomists is pre- knowledge, and as- dicted to decrease and sociated materials, that the rapid accumu- by enhancing the lation of information in management and DNA sequences will use of in-country require an expansion collections of refer- of taxonomic expertise enced specimens, to reliably identify the subject to the pro- taxa from which the visions of Article 15 sequences derive; al- of the Convention; lowing potential of new b. Molecular tech- technologies to be Photo by Lim Xin Yi 14 ASEAN BIODIVERSITY JANUARY - APRIL 2011 www.aseanbiodiversity.org
  14. SPECIAL REPORT tive approaches to sistency between accelerate the taxo- the planned activi- nomic workflow of ties relevant to ca- discovery and de- pacity-building in scription; program of work for c. Using digital and the GTI and the out- molecular infra- come oriented deliv- structure tools to erables contained in integrate taxonom- decision IX/22; ic data with other b. Taxonomic needs types of life science and capacities as information, thus already reported; also broadening the c. The relevant stake- products available holders and resourc- to support identi- es required as well fication and other as possible funding services; mechanisms; and d. Prioritization of tax- d. Taxonomic needs onomic efforts ac- and priorities for the cording to scientific thematic areas and knowledge gaps other cross-cutting Photo by Rayvin Tamisin and user needs; issues for the Con- e. Making communi- vention, in particu- relevant networks and progress report; cation and outreach lar for the work on organizations and 13. Welcomes the section standard practice, protected areas and Parties contributing on taxonomy as part and using Internet invasive alien spe- to the development of the statement and media platforms to cies; and present and promotion of the recommendation from reach the public and the draft progress sponsorship strategy UNESCO International others; report to the COP at and global campaign, Year of Biodiversity f. Training a new gen- its eleventh meeting, as elaborated in the Science Policy Confer- eration of taxono- and requests the progress report on the ence, held at UNESCO mists, able to work Subsidiary Body on establishment of a spe- Headquarters, Paris flexibly and collab- Scientific, Technical cial fund for the Global from 25 to 29 January oratively and taking and Technological Taxonomy Initiative: 2010 and urges Parties stock of new and Advice to review the a. Invites Parties and and invites other Gov- emerging technolo- draft strategy prior to other Governments ernments and relevant gies and tools; the eleventh meeting and organizations to organizations to sup- g. Appreciating the of the Conference of respond urgently to port and implement, valuable contribu- the Parties; make the trust fund as appropriate, in ac- tions of taxonomy 15. Requests the Executive operational before cordance with all three and recognizing it Secretary of the CBD the eleventh meet- objectives of the CBD as a branch of cut- to develop a standard ing of the Confer- and, where applicable, ting-edge science; format for taxonomic ence of the Parties; with prior informed 14. Requests the Execu- needs and capacity as- b. Requests the Ex- consent and/or ap- tive Secretary in con- sessments for use by ecutive Secretary of proval and involvement sultation with Coordi- Parties; and the CBD, in accor- of indigenous and local nation Mechanism for 16. Requests the Executive dance with Decision communities, as well the Global Taxonomy Secretary of the CBD IX/22 to propose as relevant national leg- Initiative, national focal in consultation with the the formal consti- islation, the following points for the Initiative Coordination Mecha- tution of a steering recommendations for and relevant institu- nism for GTI and the committee reflect- scaling up and sustain- tions, bodies and orga- ad hoc technical expert ing regional balance ing taxonomy resulting nizations, to develop a group on post-2010 and other appropri- from this Conference: comprehensive capac- indicators to consider ate expertise to fa- a. Supporting indig- ity-building strategy for developing an indicator cilitate identification enous and local the Global Taxonomy in order to assess the of suitable funding communities in cap- Initiative at global and progress on the imple- sources and assist turing and preserv- regional levels that ad- mentation of the pro- the operationaliza- ing their taxonomic dresses the Strategic gram of work for the tion of the Special knowledge; Plan for Biodiversity Initiative as needed. Fund taking into ac- b. Applying cybertax- 2011-2020, taking into count the sugges- onomy, molecular account: Reference: SCBD tions included in the and other innova- a. The need for con- JANUARY - APRIL 2011 ASEAN BIODIVERSITY 15
  15. SPECIAL REPORT Enhancing taxonomic capabilities of Southeast Asia and other Asian countries By Dr. Filiberto Pollisco, Jr. and Dr. Noriaki Sakaguchi* t the Sixth Conference of the cision, Parties to the CBD were “urged to A Parties (COP6) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), an promote and carry out the program of work through coordination of its implementations operational program of work for the Glob- with existing partners and initiatives, desig- al Taxonomy Initiative (GTI) was endorsed nation of national GTI focal points, provision through COP6 Decision VI/8, Paragraph 5. of updated information about legal require- The program of work set the objectives and ments for exchange of genetic and biologi- provided the rationale for the choice of the cal specimens and about current legislation operational targets. The COP VI/8 decision and rules for access and benefit-sharing in concluded that fast and successful imple- terms of the needs for the GTI, and initia- mentation of the program of work will, to a tives of setting up of national and regional large extent, depend on coordinating it with networks to aid the Parties in their taxo- existing national, regional and global initia- nomic needs in implementing the CBD.” tives, partnerships and institutions such as, among others, the Global Biodiversity Expanding taxonomic capacities Initiative Facility (GBIF) and BioNET-Interna- During CBD-COP10 held in Nagoya, tional; and taxonomic capacity building at Japan last October 2010, the Parties rec- the national and regional levels. ognized that the number of professional At the CBD-COP9, the program of work taxonomists is decreasing and that the was adopted as Decision IX/22. In this de- rapid accumulation of information in DNA “Taxonomic knowledge is indispensible not only for research activities but also for assessment and monitoring of biodiversity to evaluate the results and impacts of policies.” Participants to the Plant Taxonomy Internship Program tour the laboratory in Bangkok’s Royal Forestry Herbarium 16 ASEAN BIODIVERSITY JANUARY - APRIL 2011 www.aseanbiodiversity.org
  16. Dr. Edwino S. Fernando of the University of the Philippines Los Identifying corals during the Coral Taxonomy Training at the Banos supervising AMS participants during the Plant Taxonomy Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang Internship Program Identifying plants in Cibodas Botanic Garden, Indonesia Resource person and TRAFFIC-SEA Deputy Regional Director Mr. Chris Shepherd showing a python to AMS participants sequences will require an ESABII Taxonomic knowledge is A Regional Workshop expansion of taxonomic The goal of ESABII is to indispensible not only for re- on GTI participated by expertise to reliably identify contribute to the implemen- search activities but also for the ASEAN + 3 Member the taxa from which the se- tation of the CBD Strategic assessment and monitoring Countries (ASEAN Member quences are derived from. Plan for Biodiversity 2011- of biodiversity to evaluate States, Japan, China and COP10/Decision 39 en- 2020, including the Aichi Bio- the results and impacts of Republic of Korea) was con- couraged Parties and other diversity Targets, through the policies such as the Aichi ducted in the Philippines in Governments to “enhance development of biodiversity Targets and the National May 2009. The workshop the activities of institutions information and taxonomic Biodiversity Strategy and assessed the taxonomic related to taxonomy to pro- capacity building needed for Action Plans (NBSAP). needs in the conservation vide job opportunities and developing policies in the At the country level, and sustainable use of bio- incentives for young tax- conservation and sustainable taxonomic capacity of the diversity in the area of train- onomists and to strengthen use of biodiversity in East and Customs authorities is es- ing and capacity building. the taxonomic capacity to Southeast Asia. sential in law enforcement The workshop also crafted conduct appropriate train- Basic data is crucial in of the Convention on In- a regional action plan in ac- ing for parataxonomists and developing and implement- ternational Trade in En- cordance with the Program relevant end-users of tax- ing policies for the conser- dangered Species of Wild of Work of the GTI. It was onomy at national, regional vation and sustainable use Flora and Fauna (CITES) the first ASEAN GTI regional and global levels”. of biodiversity. Information, and laws on invasive alien workshop jointly organized Responding to the CBD- however, is scattered and species. However, as men- by the ESABII through the COP’s call for the need for not easily accessible to tioned above, lack of taxo- MoE-J, ACB and the French taxonomic information and policy and decision mak- nomic capacity and human Government through its em- capacity building efforts, the ers in East and Southeast resources in such fields bassies in the Philippines East and South East Asia Asia. Thus, ESABII aims have been standing in the and Thailand. The work- Biodiversity Information Ini- to gather scattered infor- way of proper implementa- shop was supported by tiative (ESABII) was started mation, develop useful in- tion. various French, Japanese in January 2009 in collabo- formation database, and and other local and inter- ration with the ten ASEAN make them easily acces- Collaborating for national institutions such as Member States, China, Ja- sible to policy and decision taxonomic capacity L’Institut de recherche pour pan, Mongolia, and Republic makers through its website. As part of taxonomic ca- le développement (IRD), Le of Korea and six organiza- The information on threat- pacity building efforts in the Centre de coopération in- tions including the ASEAN ened species and migratory region, ACB and the Minis- ternationale en recherche Centre for Biodiversity water-birds, for example, is try of Environment of Japan agronomique pour le dével- (ACB), and the Secretariat of currently being developed (MoE-J) are collaboratively oppement (CIRAD), HNMN, the CBD. In December of the by the Ministry of the Envi- conducting taxonomic ca- Global Biodiversity Informa- same year, ESABII crafted its ronment, Japan under the pacity building programs in tion Facility, Japan Interna- strategy and work plan. ESABII Strategy. Southeast Asian countries. tional Cooperation Agency JANUARY - APRIL 2011 ASEAN BIODIVERSITY 17
  17. SPECIAL REPORT potential resources, and second, in the formulation of suitable mechanisms that will regulate industrial and commercial utilization and production of these resourc- es to ensure use efficiency and sustainability in the fu- ture, in compliance with the CBD requirements and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. It will also protect and strengthen the cultural identity, spiritual values and appreciation of biodiversity among the peo- ples of ASEAN + 3 countries while boosting opportuni- ties for livelihood, business, ecotourism, education and research in the region. Ulti- mately, it will contribute sig- nificantly to the global efforts to meet the UN Millennium Cyathea contaminans Development Goals on the environment and achieve a significant reduction in the (JICA), and the University of life. The three workshops dia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, rate of biodiversity loss by the Philippines Los Baños. trained 94 young scientists Viet Nam and Thailand) will 2020, as a commitment to from all over Southeast immerse themselves in the the 2011-2020 Aichi Strate- Taxonomic capacity Asia, with participants from Phuket Marine Biological gic Plan. building and governance China, Japan and the Re- Center for the corals group, The lack of trained human for the sustainable use public of Korea. and in the Bangkok Royal resources and inadequate of biodiversity The three taxonomic Forestry Herbarium for the capacities on taxonomy has As an offshoot of the first training programs were part plants taxonomy group, been stressed as one of the workshop, the ACB, with of the ESABII activities. both in Thailand, to expe- obstacles in the implemen- support from the Japan- In February 2011, the rience a more advanced tation of CBD commitments, ASEAN Integration Fund MoE-J conducted a Na- and hands-on form of taxo- especially in the ASEAN re- (JAIF), launched a project tional Training on CITES nomic activities. At the end gion. But with taxonomic aimed at increasing the Policies and Species Iden- of the one-month internship cooperation among ASEAN number of taxonomists in tification in Ho Chi Minh, program in June 2011, the Member States and with the Southeast Asian region. Viet Nam in collaboration participants are expected its dialogue partners going The project on “Taxonomic with TRAFFIC-SEA and the to draft scientific articles, in into high gear, taxonomy in Capacity Building and Gov- ASEAN-Wildlife Enforce- publishable format, about Southeast Asia has a bright ernance for the Sustain- ment Network. Four Viet- their chosen group of plants future. able Use of Biodiversity” namese trainers, who par- or corals. The articles will has already implemented ticipated in the Training of be reviewed by a panel of References: three training programs on Trainers in Kuala Lumpur, taxonomy experts. The ASEAN Conference on Coral Taxonomy held in trained 37 participants from products of the internship Biodiversity 2009 Brochure the Universiti Sains Malay- Customs and Environment program are a checklist of Convention on Biological sia in Penang; Terrestrial Police and other stakehold- a particular group of plants Diversity documents: COP Plant Taxonomy held at the ers. Utilizing the knowledge or corals, a revision of pre- Decision VI/8; COP Decision Research Center for Biol- they gained from the Kuala vious literature of a particu- IX/22; COP X/Dec/39 ogy in Bogor, Indonesia; Lumpur training, the four lar taxon, or a synopsis of a and the Training of Trainers Vietnamese trainers fa- selected species or genera * Dr. Filiberto Pollisco, Jr. on CITES Policies and the cilitated the whole training of plants or corals. is a Program Development Specialist with the ASEAN Identification of Threatened course. Centre for Biodiversity Species (Reptiles) held in Part of the series of train- Bright future and Dr. Noriaki Sakaguchi Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in ing programs is the Intern- for taxonomy is Deputy Director for partnership with TRAFFIC- ship for Corals and Plants Taxonomic classifications Wildlife Conservation, Naha Southeast Asia, an orga- Taxonomy. Participants of biological resources is vi- Nature Conservation Office, nization against trafficking from five priority ASEAN tal, first, in the comprehen- Ministry of the Environment and illegal trade of wild- Member States (Cambo- sive identification of these of Japan. 18 ASEAN BIODIVERSITY JANUARY - APRIL 2011 www.aseanbiodiversity.org
  18. SPECIAL REPORT The status of marine taxonomy in the ASEAN region By Dr. Aileen Tan Shau-Hwai and Dr. Zulfigar Yasin* “The marine areas surrounding the ASEAN region are at the heart of the world’s biodiversity. The diverse habitat found here are home to thousands of species of plants and animals, which range from the smallest planktonic life to large migratory marine mammals. Much of the human population here derives their food, wealth, tradition and livelihood from the seas.” Photo courtesy of Conservation International he ten ASEAN Member States are Rich marine biodiversity T located between two major oceans – the Indian Ocean and the Pacific The marine areas surrounding the ASEAN region are at the heart of the world’s biodi- Ocean, and surrounded by three main seas. versity. The diverse habitat found here are The Andaman Sea is on the northwest, the home to thousands of species of plants South China Sea lying in the middle of the and animals, which range from the small- region, and the Philippine Sea on the east. est planktonic life to large migratory marine In addition, there are several other seas mammals. Much of the human population such as the Gulf of Thailand, Sulu Sea, Su- here derives their food, wealth, tradition lawesi Sea and Java Sea. and livelihood from the seas. Of the world’s JANUARY - APRIL 2011 ASEAN BIODIVERSITY 19
  19. SPECIAL REPORT 17 mega-diverse countries, pines, Singapore, Thailand Table 1. Museums with depository of marine organisms three are found in the region, and Viet Nam, with par- in the ASEAN Member States. namely, Indonesia, Malaysia ticipants from the ASEAN and the Philippines. Over- countries. Country Name of museum all, the ASEAN region has In addition to tradition- Malaysia Marine Science Laboratory Collection, Universiti Sains unique and highly diverse al methods of taxonomy, Malaysia biological resources. more modern approaches Marine Ecosystem Research Centre, Universiti Kebangsaan Another rich marine like molecular taxonomy Malaysia area is the “Coral Triangle”, and genome mapping have Institute of Biological Sciences, University Malaya bounded by the marine re- recently become more pop- gion from Malaysia to the ular. These new approach- Viet Nam Institute of Oceanography, Nha Trang west and Papua New Guin- es need to be encouraged Thailand Bangkok Seashell Museum ea to the east, is character- for a more comprehensive ized by the richest seas in study and identification of Biological Science Museum, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai the world from the perspec- marine species. tive of marine biodiversity. However, there are very Chulalongkorn University of Museum of Natural History, Almost all the major tropical limited depository areas in Bangkok marine habitats are repre- the ASEAN region for ma- Kasetsart University of Museum of Fisheries sented here which include rine organisms and much (Natural History), Bangkok the coral reefs, the sea less the archived reference Kasetsart University’s Zoological Museum, Bangkok grass beds, the mudflats, collections. To date, Thai- the mangrove forests, the land has the most number Mahidol University’s Mollusk Museum, Bangkok continental shelf and the of depository areas with re- Phuket Seashell Museum, Phuket deep sea. gards to marine specimens, Phuket Marine Biological Centre Reference Collection which are mainly located at Taxonomy and museums the Phuket Marine Biologi- Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Natural History in the ASEAN region cal Station and in the local Museum, Prince of Songkhla University, Hat Yai Although the ASEAN re- universities. One of the Rattanakosin Natural History Museum, Kasetsart gion is located in the heart most referred museums in University, Bangkok of the world’s most diverse the ASEAN region is the Thai Island and Sea Natural History Museum, Chonburi area, the science of tax- Raffles Museum of Biodi- Singapore Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National onomy and systematics in versity Research, located University of Singapore this region is still in its devel- at the National University of opmental stage. Taxonomic Singapore. Table 1 shows Philippines UPLB Museum of Natural History, University of the research in general appears some of the museums Philippines, Los Banos neglected. The field of tax- where marine specimens National Museum of the Philippines (Zoology Division) onomy, although providing are deposited. Indonesia Indonesia Institute of Sciences (LIPI) the foundation for biodiver- The Phuket Marine Bio- sity conservation, has yet logical Centre (PBMC) lo- to receive the necessary re- cated in Thailand, although sources and incentives to at- not known as a museum, tract more researchers and has a vast collection of experts, thereby enhancing marine specimens which research in this field. had been identified both by Serious efforts are need- international and local tax- ed to bring back the science onomists. PMBC has also to its rightful place to prog- conducted many taxonomy ress systematically with oth- training workshops for both er areas of study for which local as well as the interna- taxonomy is the key. Under tional researchers. the auspices of several in- Most of the museums are ternational programs such supported by scientists and Japanese Society for Pro- research staff instead of full- motion of Science (JSPS), time curators. There are five Natural Geography in Shore curators based in Raffles Areas (NaGISA), UNESCO, Museum of Biodiversity Re- IOC-WESTPAC and the search specializing in crus- Danish International Devel- taceans, fish/amphibians/ opment Agency (DANIDA), reptiles, herbarium, bird/in- taxonomy workshops had sect/mammal/molluscs and been organized in some of cnidarians/crustaceans/ the ASEAN countries like echinoderms. The National Indonesia, Malaysia, Philip- Museum of the Philippines Photo by Rhoda Tayag 20 ASEAN BIODIVERSITY JANUARY - APRIL 2011 www.aseanbiodiversity.org

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