Wednesday February 23, 2011
Scientists cannot be greedy when preventing biodiversity loss
By CALVIN YEO
KUCHING: It is the responsibility of scientists to work closely with government bodies and developers on the best way to prevent biodiversity loss due to development.
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) vice chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Khairuddin Abdul Hamid said it was for this reason that Unimas completed a multi-disciplinary assessment of Kuching Wetland National Park last year where the data obtained was used to produce a management plan which had been accepted by the state government.
“Gone are the days when as natural historians we could greedily collect and catalogue endless specimens purely for the sake of expanding our knowledge of biodiversity, ” he said at a regional workshop in determining and quantifying threats to coastal cetaceans at Permai Rainforest Resort here yesterday.
His speech was read by his deputy for students affairs Associate Professor Dr Mohd Fadzil Abdul rahman.
Khairuddin said the Sarawak Dolphin Project under Unimas’ Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation (IBEC) and founded in 2008 was taking the similar approach.
“After two years of study aimed at identifying the core habitats and habitat features of the coastal dolphins and porpoises in Sarawak, they are now turning their attention towards means to diagnose and quantify the threats these animals and their habitats face.
“One of the Master’s students will be looking closely at fisheries interactions while the other will be looking at water quality parameters and how these affect dolphin distribution,” he said.
He said the strength of modern times had also made the protection of biodiversity and environment less restricted to only the academic elites.
“Through collaboration with stakeholders, we will be able to design effective conservation and management strategies,” he said.