Photo credit: Harriet Ibbett
Author: Harriet Ibbett
Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Asian-Pacific Chapter Meeting of the Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation. The conference was set against a beautiful botantical backdrop in the tropical gardens of Xishuangbanna, a relatively ‘small’ (just 1 million people!) city nestled in a southern corner of China’s most biodiverse province; Yunnan.
The theme of the conference was “Past, Present and Future of Asian Biodiversity” and indeed the conference featured a wide range of talks. From the formulation of the Himalaya several million years ago and the development of pollinator population networks to a fascinating panel discussion on novel technologies and their potential to revolutionise the future of fieldwork, with drones being used to count orangutans, DNA extracted from leeches to identify species presence and isotopes adopted to identify animal product origins.
Who better to discuss research with than the very people whom we hope to help?
I learnt of multiple new species & subjects – for example did you know in Hong Kong they have an invasive population of Yellow Crested Cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea)? A critically endangered endemic from the islands of Indonesia now proliferating amongst the skyscrapers of Central after escaping from the pet trade!
The conference was my first opportunity to present preliminary findings from the fieldwork I have been conducting in Cambodia over the last few months – and who better to discuss research with than the very people whom we hope to help?
My talk, entitled “Searching for Snares – how much effort is enough?”, focused on explaining our experimental approach and how we hope to determine how law enforcement teams should best be deployed to remove snares. The audience were very receptive and fielded multiple questions at the end – a reassuring sign of interest!
Undoubtedly the most valuable aspect of any conference is the opportunity to make face to face connections, to explore research ideas, to stimulate discussion and to strengthen science. I left China with a mind brimming with new ideas, a notebook of references and a pocket full of contacts to follow up!