Understanding drivers of biodiversity loss in Tropical East Asia

Associate Professor Alice C. Hughes, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, will present the Department of Biological Sciences seminar with a talk entitled, "Understanding drivers of biodiversity loss in Tropical East Asia".

Despite their high levels of biodiversity and endemism, the Asian tropics are frequently overlooked in global discourse on tropical biodiversity loss.  The fact is that much of Asia has reached a point of almost no return with much of its native biodiversity, with rates of undocumented road building in many parts of the region (i.e. 90% or roads in central Kalimantan are unmapped) symptomatic of the rapid rates of deforestation, and the rapid exploitation of native resources and species in these regions.  This talk will explore the various threats to the region’s biodiversity, priorities for action and implementation using various approaches, and the major barriers to implementing the necessary policy and management protocols to secure a future for the region’s biodiversity.

There will also be discussion on the relative responsibilities of the West, as the end-buyers of many products and the role of intergovernmental agreements in trying to enforce various regulations (i.e. SDGs, Aichi targets) to try to change the trajectory of this region, and its threatened biota.


Alice is an Associate Professor and leads the Landscape Ecology group at Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences. She’s worked extensively across the Tropics, and previously held positions in Thailand, Australia, Costa Rica, and the UK before moving to China.  Her work focuses on patterns of biodiversity and drivers of biodiversity change, at various spatiotemporal scales in order to develop pro-active management strategies that aim to mitigate the impacts of human activities on biodiversity.

Thursday, November 30, 2017 - 13:00

HW Pearson Lecture Theatre 1, Upper Campus, UCT