Blog for 2010-06-07

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Dyna Rochmyaningsih

Finally, every student has chosen their focal taxon today! This year we have 10 students interested in insects and the rest of them are focusing their interest into other taxon like plants, fungi, or birds. Some changes might be made for each student's focal taxa in the next two days but still we started our focal taxon's observation today.

The lecture for today was The Biology of Lycanidae which was given by Rod. It is interesting to know that this group of butterfly has various form of association with ants. This association is ranging from cooperation to exploitation which is unique to specific species. From this lecture, we gained knowledge about how the existence of one species of ants can give benefit to one species of butterfly, and vice versa.

After about 45 minutes lecture, we sampled insect from the pitfall traps that we set two days ago in the forest. There were two groups doing this sampling, Dave group and Rod group. Dave group sampled the pitfall traps near the crane inside the forest while Rod group went to the forest in Inoue Trail to get the sample. After collecting specimens from the traps, we identified them in the labs using our handlens and some microscopes. Rod and Dave gave us an identification sheet by which we can identify what kind of taxa that is likely to be found in the pitfall traps. Since the traps is set in the ground so it is the ground-dwelling insects (arthropods in larger scale) that we likely found. Some of them were easy to identify and some of them are hard, but overall many of us had fun identifying those tiny little bugs. Rod's group found a bizzare arthropods in the trap. It was the purple-leg millipede (Order:Chilopoda). At first we thought that it was an Arachnid because the legs are so long for a millipede but Rod eventually told us that some of them might have long legs. I am pretty sure that we got more than 6 arthropod's order today so I think it would be very great to be processed in R (?). Just see what the analysis would be. I think it would be about community ecology, comparing the diversity of ground dwelling insect in the gap and in the forest.

Fortunately, we had some free time this afternoon. Some students went to the chalet and some of them dancing in out main room. It was really fun! (even though I myself went to my chalet,hehe). But you know what, the best part of today is the discussion of the movie that we've just watched this night. It was about conservation and carbon trading. The movie told us story about how an enterpreneur in Australia was fighting hard to have carbon trading be accepted in the government of developing countries and the corporate businessmen in developed countries. It was really sad to know that the effort in solving climate change issue—which is the reduction in carbon-- is clashed with the economical issue of the local people. The businessmen in carbon trading are dealing with the government of the developing country which is likely to do corruption. Thus, the money that is supposed to be in the local people's pocket could possibly goes to the government's private income. We've discussed some solutions that might be helpful to solve this very complex problem. I think Doni suggest a great idea. It is the education of the local people that should be improved. They should be aware that degrading forest is not good for human kind. Once they know this, they will less likely to do reforestation. But I think the main point is not only about the awareness but it is also about the economy of the local people. In my view, instead of giving them environmental education, we should also find away to give them stable and sufficient income at one time. I think this will solve the problem, the local people would get money and they would be educated. The good model for this, I think, the government should give the money from carbon trading to some NGOs and those some NGOs will open job opportunity to those local people. Once they got hired, they will be immersed in conservation world, so they will be automatically educated in conserving the forest and the wild life in it. Thus, cooperation between government and NGOs should be improved.