International scientists to meet in Lanka on tropics crisis

by

International scientists will meet in Sri Lanka in September to discuss saving life forms in the tropics, where 80 per cent of all species live and where the greatest threats to biodiversity lie. Published on SundayTimes on 16.06.2019 http://www.sundaytimes.lk/190616/news/international-scientists-to-meet-in-lanka-on-tropics-crisis-353692.html 

Tropical region is home to diverse habitats (c) Ruchira Somaweera

“About 200 world-renowned scientists are expected to participate in this conference, organised by the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC)’s Asia-Pacific Chapter,” Dr. Enoka Kudavidanage, conference chair and ATBC country representative said.

Discussions will take place with a heightened sense of urgency as a key United Nations study predicts that 1 million species risk extinction.

“The bonds that hold Nature together may be at risk of unravelling from deforestation, overfishing, development and other human activities,” National Geographic stated, reporting on the results of the UN Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services issued in May.

The tropics, which encompass 40 per cent of the Earth’s surface area, has diverse habitats ranging from rainforests to deserts, savannah to mangroves that are threatened by deforestation, overfishing, poaching, climate change, pollution and invasive alien species.

The knowledge aired at the conference would help scientists dealing with biodiversity problems in Sri Lanka, conference co-chair, Dr. Sampath Seneviratne of the University of Colombo, said.

The event would be a good opportunity to put Sri Lanka at the “focal point of conservation science at this important juncture”, said Professor Savitri Gunatilleke, Emeritus Professor at the University of Peradeniya.

Dr. Gunatilleke, who was awarded Honorary Fellowship of the ATBC in 2016, the first Sri Lankan to be honoured thus, pointed out that this country had a number of “renowned conservation scientists and many young researchers who aspire to be successful scientists of tropical biodiversity”.

The ATBC conference, the first of its kind to be held in Sri Lanka, will take place at MAS Athena, Thulhiriya from September 10-13. Visit http://atbcap2019.org/index.html for details.

Founded in 1963, the ATBC is the world’s largest and oldest academic society dedicated to the study and conservation of tropical ecosystems. As many as 65 countries are involved in its activities.

Meanwhile the much-hyped World Wildlife Conference (CITES COP18) has been postponed to October pending security clearance following the Easter Sunday bomb attacks.

Authorities hope this conference, which hundreds of foreign scientists are expected to attend, will boost the tourism industry which was devastated by the bombings, carried out by Islamic militants in churches and hotels on April 21.

Most of the earth’s biodiversity hotspots are in tropical region

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: