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Article: The contribution of scientific information to the conservation and management of freshwater biodiversity in tropical Asia

TitleThe contribution of scientific information to the conservation and management of freshwater biodiversity in tropical Asia
Authors
KeywordsExotic species
International river basin
Literature survey
Mekong
Sepik
Issue Date2003
PublisherSpringer Verlag Dordrecht. The Journal's web site is located at http://springerlink.metapress.com/openurl.asp?genre=journal&issn=0018-8158
Citation
Hydrobiologia, 2003, v. 500, p. 295-314 How to Cite?
AbstractTropical Asia (i.e. the Oriental biogeographic region) is the most densely populated and degraded region on Earth with the highest deforestation rates in the tropics. Flow regulation is a significant threat to riverine biodiversity in the region, and its impacts are combined with overharvesting, pollution and other sources of habitat degradation. In addition to these immediate threats, the potential impacts of exotic species and climate change are difficult to predict. Uncertainty about impact effects arises also from the fact that knowledge of the rich freshwater biodiversity of tropical Asia is incomplete, and up-to-date national or regional inventories are lacking. In part, this reflects taxonomic constraints, and a limited representation of Asian science in the international limnological and conservation literature. A survey of recent (1992-2001) international journals dealing with freshwater ecology and limnology in general, on one hand, and conservation biology on the other, reveal that the representation of scientists based in tropical Asia was extremely low. Scientists from tropical Asia authored fewer than 2% of more than 4500 papers dealing with freshwater biology; 57% of them were published in Hydrobiologia. Less than 0.1% of freshwater biology papers dealt with the conservation of biodiversity in tropical Asian fresh waters. The representation of Asian freshwater science in the conservation biology literature was also poor; 0.6% of 1880 papers surveyed. Such limited dissemination of information reflects a variety of constraints (e.g. manpower, funding, language, and entrenched attitudes), arising from sources both within and outside the region. Even the data that are published are not effectively deployed toward conservation ends. Awareness of some of the more egregious examples of overharvesting (e.g. of river turtles) in the region has increased, but strategies for the protection of riverine biodiversity remain underdeveloped. Where legislation to protect water resources has been put in place, it has been directed towards enhancing human use of water - not biodiversity conservation - and enforcement is weak. Exceptionally, the Chinese government has produced national 'Red Data Books' for endangered freshwater vertebrates, and legislation aimed at protecting species at risk, particularly from overharvesting, are in place. Huge obstacles remain, especially in the management of rivers crossing international boundaries. The Mekong River Commission (MRC) provides an example of a model for an international drainage basin that has made significant progress in establishing appropriate structures and mechanisms for sustainable development in a challenging political landscape. Not all of the Mekong riparian states participate in the MRC, and this will be essential for sustainable management. However, even within national borders, local interests can override drainage-basin perspectives. In many places in Asia, preservation of near-pristine freshwater environments is not a realistic option. Sustaining human livelihoods is an over-riding concern, and recognition of this fact must be built in to biodiversity conservation efforts. This has special implications for the management of exotic species, as the example of fish introductions to the Sepik River in Papua New Guinea shows. Notwithstanding the various factors that constrain publication by scientists in tropical Asia, we must recognise that poor dissemination research results will have consequences for the long-term preservation of the habitats and biodiversity that we study. A change in research strategy that establishes priorities, recognises the inevitability of trade-offs, and includes greater emphasis on engagement and partnerships - as in the MRC - is mandated.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/73297
ISSN
2015 Impact Factor: 2.051
2015 SCImago Journal Rankings: 1.043
ISI Accession Number ID
References

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorDudgeon, Den_HK
dc.date.accessioned2010-09-06T06:49:58Z-
dc.date.available2010-09-06T06:49:58Z-
dc.date.issued2003en_HK
dc.identifier.citationHydrobiologia, 2003, v. 500, p. 295-314en_HK
dc.identifier.issn0018-8158en_HK
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/73297-
dc.description.abstractTropical Asia (i.e. the Oriental biogeographic region) is the most densely populated and degraded region on Earth with the highest deforestation rates in the tropics. Flow regulation is a significant threat to riverine biodiversity in the region, and its impacts are combined with overharvesting, pollution and other sources of habitat degradation. In addition to these immediate threats, the potential impacts of exotic species and climate change are difficult to predict. Uncertainty about impact effects arises also from the fact that knowledge of the rich freshwater biodiversity of tropical Asia is incomplete, and up-to-date national or regional inventories are lacking. In part, this reflects taxonomic constraints, and a limited representation of Asian science in the international limnological and conservation literature. A survey of recent (1992-2001) international journals dealing with freshwater ecology and limnology in general, on one hand, and conservation biology on the other, reveal that the representation of scientists based in tropical Asia was extremely low. Scientists from tropical Asia authored fewer than 2% of more than 4500 papers dealing with freshwater biology; 57% of them were published in Hydrobiologia. Less than 0.1% of freshwater biology papers dealt with the conservation of biodiversity in tropical Asian fresh waters. The representation of Asian freshwater science in the conservation biology literature was also poor; 0.6% of 1880 papers surveyed. Such limited dissemination of information reflects a variety of constraints (e.g. manpower, funding, language, and entrenched attitudes), arising from sources both within and outside the region. Even the data that are published are not effectively deployed toward conservation ends. Awareness of some of the more egregious examples of overharvesting (e.g. of river turtles) in the region has increased, but strategies for the protection of riverine biodiversity remain underdeveloped. Where legislation to protect water resources has been put in place, it has been directed towards enhancing human use of water - not biodiversity conservation - and enforcement is weak. Exceptionally, the Chinese government has produced national 'Red Data Books' for endangered freshwater vertebrates, and legislation aimed at protecting species at risk, particularly from overharvesting, are in place. Huge obstacles remain, especially in the management of rivers crossing international boundaries. The Mekong River Commission (MRC) provides an example of a model for an international drainage basin that has made significant progress in establishing appropriate structures and mechanisms for sustainable development in a challenging political landscape. Not all of the Mekong riparian states participate in the MRC, and this will be essential for sustainable management. However, even within national borders, local interests can override drainage-basin perspectives. In many places in Asia, preservation of near-pristine freshwater environments is not a realistic option. Sustaining human livelihoods is an over-riding concern, and recognition of this fact must be built in to biodiversity conservation efforts. This has special implications for the management of exotic species, as the example of fish introductions to the Sepik River in Papua New Guinea shows. Notwithstanding the various factors that constrain publication by scientists in tropical Asia, we must recognise that poor dissemination research results will have consequences for the long-term preservation of the habitats and biodiversity that we study. A change in research strategy that establishes priorities, recognises the inevitability of trade-offs, and includes greater emphasis on engagement and partnerships - as in the MRC - is mandated.en_HK
dc.languageengen_HK
dc.publisherSpringer Verlag Dordrecht. The Journal's web site is located at http://springerlink.metapress.com/openurl.asp?genre=journal&issn=0018-8158en_HK
dc.relation.ispartofHydrobiologiaen_HK
dc.subjectExotic speciesen_HK
dc.subjectInternational river basinen_HK
dc.subjectLiterature surveyen_HK
dc.subjectMekongen_HK
dc.subjectSepiken_HK
dc.titleThe contribution of scientific information to the conservation and management of freshwater biodiversity in tropical Asiaen_HK
dc.typeArticleen_HK
dc.identifier.openurlhttp://library.hku.hk:4550/resserv?sid=HKU:IR&issn=0018-8158&volume=500&spage=295&epage=314&date=2003&atitle=The+contribution+of+scientific+information+to+the+conservation+and+management+of+freshwater+biodiversity+in+tropical+Asiaen_HK
dc.identifier.emailDudgeon, D: ddudgeon@hku.hken_HK
dc.identifier.authorityDudgeon, D=rp00691en_HK
dc.description.naturelink_to_subscribed_fulltext-
dc.identifier.doi10.1023/A:1024666627070en_HK
dc.identifier.scopuseid_2-s2.0-0344468175en_HK
dc.identifier.hkuros79193en_HK
dc.relation.referenceshttp://www.scopus.com/mlt/select.url?eid=2-s2.0-0344468175&selection=ref&src=s&origin=recordpageen_HK
dc.identifier.volume500en_HK
dc.identifier.spage295en_HK
dc.identifier.epage314en_HK
dc.identifier.isiWOS:000184071400020-
dc.publisher.placeNetherlandsen_HK
dc.identifier.scopusauthoridDudgeon, D=7006559840en_HK

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