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  • Association AffairsPacific Science Association

PABITRA Activity 2003

[Contributed by Dr. Dieter Mueller-Dombois, Chair of the Ecosystem Division of the PSA Task Force on Biodiversity]

The Pacific-Asia Biodiversity Transect (PABITRA) Network is a program of the Ecosystem Division in the PSA Task Force on Biodiversity. Its aim is to collaborate with resident Pacific Islanders on biodiversity research and ecosystem conservation. Its research strategy is two-fold: to encourage comparative studies across Oceania in ecosystems that belong to the same biomes (the horizontal strategy) and to study selected island landscapes from the mountains to the ocean (the vertical strategy). After establishing the "Gateway Transect" in Fiji during 2002 and conducting the PABITRA Symposium/Workshop on "Island Landscapes under Global Change" at the 20th Pacific Science Congress in Bangkok, March 2003, PABITRA received new funding from the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN).

During 2003, PABITRA activity was focused on Samoa. An Initial Synthesis Meeting was arranged by Dr. Nat Tuivavalagi at the National University of Samoa (NUS) in Apia, in June 2003. This was followed by a Joint Analysis and Biodiversity Field Training Workshop in Samoa from November 25 to December 5, 2003, beginning with Dr. Art Whistler presenting an illustrated talk on the flora and vegetation of Samoa. The open forum continued the next day with PABITRA-related presentations. They included three experts each from Fiji and Samoa, one each from Guam and Japan, and five from Hawai'i. These meetings drew about 40 participants, many of whom got involved in discussions. The following week was spent in Savai'i with a group of ten pre-selected Samoan students and government officers and ten overseas collaborators. Here, we visited three mountain-to-ocean landscape transects, designated as Matavanu, A'opo, and Taga. We also visited the twice hurricane-disturbed Falealupo forest preserve at the NW tip of Savai'i. We stayed two nights each in three coastal villages, where we were received with welcome ceremonies by the villagers. We explained the PABITRA objectives to them and thereafter received permission of access to their lands.

In the field we discussed and exercised a number of biodiversity assessment techniques at different locations to provide the students their first hands-on experience. The landscape approach to biodiversity assessment via ecosystem entitation was clarified in the field by interactive heuristic procedures. A last full day was spent at NUS, writing and presenting reports. In a closing ceremony Certificates of Participation were handed to the ten Samoan students and government officers after they had given a short oral presentation on their learning experience during the workshop. [End Page 345]

This workshop is now summarized on an illustrated two-panel poster on the PABITRA website It is found here under Joint Analysis Workshop together with a student report by Mila Misa. A follow-up report on the 2002-2003 PABITRA activities was presented at the DIVERSITAS in the Western Pacific and Asia (DIWPA) meeting in Kyoto at the end of December 2003, and is found under Background Papers and Information.

Task Force on Global Environmental Change Activities [Contributed by Prof. Congbin Fu, Chair of the PSA Task Force]

Two international conferences were convened during 2003 in spite of a number of problems, such as the SARS outbreak.

With support from the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research and other funding the Symposium [2.1] on "Adaptation of Asia and Pacific to Global Change in the 20th Century" was held at the 20th Pacific Science Congress in Bangkok in March 2003. Approximately 40 scientists from China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, Sweden, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and U.S.A. participated. The symposium was aimed at discussing the adaptation of the APN region to global change and to make suggestions for projects for further study. The symposium was divided into three sessions: regional aspects of global change in the Asia-Pacific region; impact assessment of global change on socio-economic development; and strategic adaptation to global change and 39 oral and 5 poster presentations were made. A Proceedings volume is forthcoming.

The 3rd Workshop on Regional Climate Model (RCM) Studies that was originally scheduled for April 2003 was...


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