Grant Recipients Conference, Vietnam 2015
1. Objectives of the RSG Conference
The Rufford Small Grant Recipients Conference has been held during 31st January & 1st February 2015, at the University of Science, Vietnam National University - Ho Chi Minh City. It was organized by the Rufford Foundation, the University of Science in collaboration with Vietnam Wildlife Tours & Research.
The Rufford Small Grant Conference aimed:
(1) Exchange knowledge, ideas, and experience in doing research;
(2) Discuss about current research issues/challenges;
(3) Create invaluable networking opportunities; and
(4) Increase communication and information between Rufford Foundation and its grant recipients.
2. Conference proceedings
Preparation for the Rufford Small Grant Conference carried out since October 2014. The online announcement of the Conference was delivered via emails of the Rufford Small Grant recipients and via the website: http://rufford.vietnamwildtour.com/. All information of the Conference, including background, agenda, guidelines, key contacts, logistics, registrations, and abstracts were updated online.
In total, 42 online applications with 23 topics and abstracts were submitted and 17 grant recipients participated and gave their presentations for the Conference. The presentation abstracts and schedule of the speakers during the Conference are presented (Appendix 2 & 3).
The Conference brought together around 40 participants from 4 universities, 3 research institutes, 6 organizations, and 3 countries (Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam), including young researchers, lecturers, and undergraduate students (see Appendix 1 for list of participants). The conference has raised opportunity to provide a forum for many grant recipients and young researchers from different organizations, institutes. They met together, shared their success stories of the small grants and learn how to enhance their performance in doing researches and exploring the research results.
3. Some key impacts of Rufford Small Grants
Most of the researches who received the Rufford grants were young and at the beginning of career period. Said by Luu Hong Truong, the Rufford small grants were seeds for growing up researchers. Among of 17 presentations discussed in the Conference, 10 topics were related to plants and wildlife conservation, 7 topics were related to ecosystem conservation and conservation education. These kinds of work were often difficult to fundraise for doing research.
Almost the topics shown the lack of biodiversity, distribution, and ecological information and incompetent staffs in Vietnamese protected areas. With supports from Rufford foundation, the status was improved. The data gaps were filled. Knowledge about biodiversity and ecological of the rangers and conservation staffs, and local people were enriched through the trainings.
The research on biodiversity in Takou Nature Reserve conducted by Luu Hong Truong was a good example for developing replicable models afterward. He could raise fund for 3 other projects for doing follow-up researches in Takou area.
The environmental education activities in northern Vietnam conducted by To Kim Lien and the using communication tools for bats conservation performed by Ly Quoc Dang were obviously gave foundation background about conservation for children, the next generation of conservationists. One undergraduate student were trained through research on flying foxes conducted by Vu Dinh Thong.
In total, there were at least 25 papers, 3 books, and a series of 7 volumes related to biodiversity conservation were published or being in progress for relevant journals as results of the discussed researches.
Summary of Presentations
The opening of the Conference was happened with welcome speeches of Prof. Dr. Nguyen Du Sanh, Dean of Biology Faculty and then Mr. Nguyen Hoai Bao, conference given an opening remark
The first speaker, Luu Hong Truong, from Southern Institute of Ecology, presented about his study which supported by the Rufford Small Grant, in Takou Nature Reserve. He emphasized the data deficient status versus threats to biodiversity and medicinal plants and incompetent staffs in Takou Nature Reserve. He also mentioned about the 3 projects afterwards which helped him obtain great achievements in training the staffs and local people, providing a foundation data of biodiversity in Takou and publishing at least 10 papers, 2 books, and a series of 7 volumes will be published. He also emphasized roles of the Rufford Small Grant for the young scientists at the early career period as seeds of plants.
The second speaker, JirapornTeampanpong provided information about habitat use and behaviour of Oiental-pied Hornbill in the Tenasserim Western Forest, Complex Corridor, Thailand. After introduced Hornbills in Thailand, she talked about trees and fruits which the hornbills use as potential dwellings and foods. She also figured out the habitat use trends of the hornbills related to attitude, slope, distance from evergreen forest and from human disturbances, presence/absence of fruit trees and nest trees, crown cover and threats due to human.
One participant considered about toxin in one of the nest trees that showed in the presentation but the author were not sure about this issue. Answering questions mentioned about species richness and immigration of the Hornbills, JirapornTeampanpong said there were 13 species of Hornbill recorded in Thailand. These birds were associated with big trees and they moved between Thailand and Malaysia for food.
Another young ornithologist Nguyen Hao Quang concerned about genetic diversity in Red Jungle fowl in Vietnam. With many interesting sampling and data analysing methods, his results showed a status of metapopulation in Red jungle fowl in Vietnam. This chicken has a small area of home range (less than 5 km). The results suggested a warning of threats of gene loss in other rare pheasants.
Nguyen Hao Quang gave more evidence for responding to a concern about hybrid species in Red Jungle fowl in the study area.
Moving to another group of flying animals, Vuong Tan Tu discussed on comparative phylogeography of bats in Southeast Asia. Information about species richness, endemic species, ecological roles, and threats of bats in the area were introduced. Causes of bat diversity and population declines were mentioned as well. Preliminary results from the phylogeography works reveals potential cryptic species complexes and new species. At least 3 papers about this data will be published.
Vu Dinh Thong discussed on another field of bat study. He talked about conservation of flying foxes in Vietnam. He emphasized the impressively increased in number of new species or new records in Vietnam during the last 2 decades. Lack of ecological information and bat conservation status, major threats, study approach, and problems in improper taxonomy of bats were mentioned. As results of these works, 3 manuscripts are preparing for national and international journals and 1 undergraduate student will finished by 10/2015.
Hoang Mai Thach spoke on the Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey conservation activities in Na Hang Nature Reserve, Tuyen Quang Province, Vietnam. He gave information about habitats used by the monkeys and their highly threatened population status, and training program for rangers and CPG members in Na Hang. He also pointed out current threats to the monkey populations and weakness in conservation activities of Na Hang Nature Reserve’s managers in the past decade.
On behalf of biologists who study on marine mammals, Vu Long represented his research on Cetaceans in Kien Giang Biosphere Reserve, Vietnam. He discussed on distribution, population, behaviour of whales and dolphins in Kien Giang, and knowledge of the local people about these marine mammals. The presentation was ended with expected to do more research on acoustic and genetic on dolphins and establish a network for collaboration.
Nguyen Quang Truong began his talk about herpetological exploration in northern Vietnam by two opposite outlooks, many new species of amphibians and reptiles have been discovered recently versus a number of species of these animals fall into threatened status. Causes of amphibian and reptile declines were figured out. Achievement that he obtained from his surveys was great with at least 5 new discoveries and 6 new records for Vietnam. These were or being in progress published on relevant journals.
Nguyen Thi Thanh Thuy discussed on solutions for sustainable management of mangrove and sea grass beds at Thuy Trieu Lagoon, Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam. The serious destruction status of mangrove and seagrass beds in the area and their causes were recognized. The suggested solutions were co-management mechanism in which both the local people and the managers could get the best benefit through sustainable aquaculture and fishing activities; establishing a local volunteer guard team who take responsibility for biodiversity conservation in exploiting the resources; and sustainable management zones within the study area.
Le Mai Son introduced remote sensing and GIS technology for monitoring mangrove forest rehabilitation in Can Gio. Changes of the mangrove forest and land use in the study area, over the time were recorded by satellite data such as dense forest areas expanding, agriculture land area converting into forest. This series of data could explain the human impacts on the forest and useful for management actions. In recommendation part, he suggested developing oriented tourism and concerning on economic and ecological aspects of the tourism model.
After the presentation, he continue to make clear how to choose locations for data collection that based on map and observation in the field.
Nguyen Duc To Luu brought to the Conference his achievements in conifer trees conservation in Hoa Binh – Son La limestone corridor. He talked about diversity of conifers and highlight main threat to conifers in the study area, how he conducted the work in both in-situ and ex-situ approaches. Conifer club, one guidebook for conifer species and online data from the website: thiennhien.net are his successful.
After the talk, Nguyen Duc To Luu continue explained more details about activities of the conifer club. One idea of comparing how different in conifers in Xuan Nha, northern Vietnam and in Da Lat, a similar region in the south of Vietnam was suggested.
Nguyen Van Toai provided a case study of developing ecotourism in the Bu Gia Map National Park. He talked about diversity of landscapes, animals, and plants, harmony of local people living with the nature within the park, their customs and indigenous knowledge. He expected that both the local people and the national park manager could get benefits in cooperating in doing ecotourism in the park.
In discussion part, an idea about develop introducing plants which have special function for disease treatment for the program was suggested but Nguyen Van Toai said that idea was not applied in his project. Another concern about problems from announcement about any special function of a plant.
Prabin Busal introduced a case study of Agroforestry system in Nepal. He explained the agroforestry concept, why and how this system was set up in Nepal. The system could help to link the local farmers with the forest and agriculture officers. The officers could get technical and logistic supports and the local people could enrich their knowledge through activities of this system as well.
Luong Quang Hung discussed on how to enhance capacity of the provincial government and partners to promote conservation through education in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. The results highlighted new concepts of collaboration of many departments, partners in assisting conservation activities in Vietnam and benefits in making decisions on natural resource conservation that the managers could get.
To Kim Lien introduced activities related to environmental education in northern Vietnam. She conducted workshops, programs, and trainings which help high school teachers and staff involved enhance their performance in teaching. She showed positive responding of teachers and student to her works as well. She ending her talk with challenges in expanding the program to many kinds of activities and in many places.
Responding to question concerned about experience and how to develop the activities in the future, To Kim Lien shared her wondering about disadvantages in curriculum developing, teachers and staffs training without supported funds. She also suggested should choose locations where have the same characters such as near to national park or protected area or buffer zones from her case for practice.
Ly Quoc Dang gave a case study for using communication tool in conservation education. He used bats conservation as objective of the education program. He explained what is conservation education, communication, and tools for communication before introduced the implementation strategies and shown the activities which attracted the local people and tourists’ concern on the bat conservation.
In discussion part, Vu Dinh Thong gave more information about status and threats to populations of bats after a fire accidence at the Bat pagoda where Ly Quoc Dang applied his research.
Bernard Kervyn talked about waste management issue in Vietnam. He point out problems of waste processing centers, transport and recycling waste cost and challenges in finding a good solution because there were lack of policy related to waste that could help reduce the use of plastic bags, waste dumping sites in rural areas, and encourage waste recycling.
Follow up the discussion, Bernad Kervyn and his colleagues discussed with Luong Quang Hung about details of the cost of recycling activities. Vuong Tan Tu considered about the following impacts on the environment after the recycling activities.
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