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Rhizophora and Sonneratia mangroves,
Micronesia (Tim Laman)

The ecological crisis

We are entering the age of perpetual environmental crisis, with multiple factors interacting to produce serious threats to human well-being. Over the past few years, people have woken up to the reality of anthropogenic climate change, and we are now discovering that we are already too late to prevent major temperature and rainfall changes. Climate impacts on agricultural land and steadily increasing human population have caused serious food shortages, and are driving new conversion of tropical forests to farmland. Fossil fuels are a major carbon source, and their finite stocks are increasingly expensive to extract, leading to increased demand for tropical biofuels. Because these processes directly threaten human development and survival, attention is being drawn away from their impact on natural ecosystems and tropical biodiversity. This meeting will highlight the threat to the survival of tropical biodiversity from the synergistic effects of food and energy shortages and climate change. In parallel, we will discuss and broadcast the many ways in which tropical biodiversity and ecosystems are fundamentally important for sustainable human development.


The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation is the world’s largest professional society devoted to the furtherance of tropical biology and tropical conservation. It was founded in 1963 to promote research and to foster the exchange of ideas among biologists working in tropical environments. The ATBC published the journal Biotropica. ATBC has grown into a truly global organization with members from over 100 countries. In 2006, an Asia-Pacific Chapter was formed to further these objectives in this region, but the general annual meeting has not yet met in Southeast Asia.

ATBC 2010 in Indonesia

The biological nature of Indonesia is unmatched in the world. The range of ecosystems is astounding, from the world’s most diverse coral reefs and most majestic tropical rain forests to tropical dry forest and alpine meadows. The archipelago has played a major role in the development of evolutionary and ecological theory, through A. R. Wallace’s travels, and studies of the recolonization of Krakatau volcano. To experience this `biological paradise’ is for many biologists a professional dream. We invite you to realize this dream, by attending the ATBC 2010 meeting, and then visiting some of Indonesia’s biological and cultural wonders.

Within Indonesia there are many active biologists, in government institutions, universities, and NGOs, as befits the fourth most populous country in the world. By hosting an ATBC annual meeting in Indonesia, we hope to spread cutting edge research findings to local and regional biologists, and to the general public, as well as to facilitate new friendships and partnerships that will lead to increased research on Indonesia’s amazing biodiversity and ecosystems. In turn, we hope that this increased activity will have a strong positive effect on education and conservation, helping Indonesia, and other tropical countries, face the imminent food, energy and climate crisis.