Program Information

Plenary Sessions

Presidential Address

Prof. Yadvinder Malhi

Yadvinder Malhi is Professor of Ecosystem Science at Oxford University. His research interests focus on the interactions between tropical terrestrial ecosystems and the global climate, and how tropical ecosystems and their biodiversity and functioning can best be maintained in the context of global change. He founded the Global Ecosystems Monitoring (GEM) network of intensive monitoring plots across the tropics. This network also endeavours strongly to strengthen capacity and connect students and researchers across the tropics. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, and in 2018 was awarded a Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society for his work (as was Alfred Russel Wallace in 1892!) For 2018 he is President of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation.

Panel Discussion

1. Diversity, and Inclusion in Tropical Biology and Conservation

Dr Cecilia A. L. Dahlsjö
School of Geography and The Environment
Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford

Dr Dahlsjö has a D.Phil in tropical ecology from the University of Oxford and currently holds a postdoctoral position in the Ecosystems lab at the same university. Her main interests include bottom-up approaches to ecosystem functioning with a particular focus on the role of decomposer organisms in both pristine and managed habitats around the world. Recently she has also dabbled in ethical analyses where she is exploring the boundaries of intrinsic value, using invertebrates as an example group, and the responsibilities that are associated with being the moral agent and a researcher. Dr Dahlsjö has a long-standing interest in gender issues and is running the survey on implicit bias as part of the ATBC registration form. Through the survey she hopes to identify and explore ethnic and gender-based biases in tropical science.

2. Financing conservation in the tropics

Dr Simon Hedges
Asian Arks

Simon has almost 30 years of experience of wildlife conservation-related research and survey work, endangered species and protected area management, and wildlife policy formulation, including the writing and implementation of wildlife action plans. Most of his time since 1988 has been spent in Asia and, from 2007, Asia and Africa. Simon’s experience encompasses work on elephants, rhinos, wild cattle, deer, wild pigs, primates, large cats, wild dogs, small carnivores, rodents, and birds. From 1998, he focused on elephants, particularly on the development of reliable monitoring methods, human–elephant conflict assessment and mitigation work, and, since 2004, the ivory trade and the resulting illegal killing of elephants. Simon worked for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) for 18 years, working to conserve elephants and ultimately coordinating WCS’s elephant conservation work. He left WCS at the end of January 2018 to establish a new NGO, Asian Arks, which will focus on protected area management in Asia. Simon was a member of the joint Technical Advisory Group (TAG) of the CITES Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants program and the Elephant Trade Information System for many years. He chaired the IUCN/SSC Asian Wild Cattle Specialist Group (AWCSG) from 1995 to 2005, was the Co-Chair of the Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG) from 2005 to 2015, and was a member of the IUCN/SSC Species Conservation Planning Task Force. Simon is currently a member of the IUCN/SSC Human–Wildlife Conflict and Green List Task Forces and remains a member of both the AWCSG and AsESG. He has published in journals ranging from Molecular Ecology, Conservation Biology, and Journal of Animal Ecology to Tropical Biodiversity, Kukila, and Gajah. Simon has also contributed chapters to several peer-reviewed books and edited (and contributed to) the 2012 book, “Monitoring elephants and assessing threats: a manual for researchers, managers and conservationists”.

Keynote Lecture

June Mary Rubis
Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford

Combining my overall 12-year long work experience in long-term fieldwork with primate conservation biology in Sarawak and Central Kalimantan, NGO work in Indigenous land issues in Malaysian Borneo, and my academic interest in the intersection of political ecology, Indigeneity and cultural politics, my research focuses on Indigenous responses towards orang utan conservation-making in Batang Ai, Sarawak. I was born and raised in Kuching, and have spent much of my conservation work experience in Sarawak, Sabah and Central Kalimantan. I graduated with a MSc. in Environmental Change & Management (Distinction), from the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford on a Chevening-Oxford scholarship and have continued on in the same University to read for my DPhil. It is my hope that this background, in combination with my commitment to Indigenous issues in Borneo will result in a useful PhD project which will contribute to not only our understanding of the struggle of Indigenous land issues and history of conservation in Sarawak but also to policy and scholarship tackling Sarawak’s current conservation and land issues.


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