Dr. Jacob Phelps
Lancaster Environment Centre
Jacob Phelps is an environmental scientist and Lecturer in Tropical Environmental
Change and Policy at the Lancaster Environment Centre. He has a particular interest in
the institutional and governance dimensions of sustainable resource management,
forest and biodiversity conservation. Trained in the natural sciences and human
geography, he draws on a wide range of methods and analytic lenses to address issues
such as wildlife trade, peatland fires, incentive-based conservation (e.g., REDD+), and
land use change. Formerly a Scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research
(CIFOR) in Indonesia, he remains interested and engaged at the science-policy interface.
Dr. Phelps has a long-standing interest in the conservation, livelihood and policy implications of wildlife trade, particularly in Asia. His Ph.D. research focused on the trade in protected ornamental plants in Southeast Asia. His current research addresses questions on the governance of international wildlife trade via the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES); the potential for supply-side interventions (e.g., captive breeding for trade) to promote conservation; the roles that communities play tackling illegal trade, and the institutional dimensions of conservation rule-breaking. Dr. Phelps is building a new research group in the UK that engages with these topics, and actively invites new collaborations and expressions of interest from students.
Plenary Panels for Conservation Asia 2016
Conservation Asia 2016 is proud to present the following plenary panels for the upcoming conference. These panels would discuss a multitude of important regional conservation topics and promises to be both informative and exciting for all participants. Read on to get a broad overview of each panel discussion and click on the images below to get more information on our panel moderators.
Agro-industry and Conservation
30th June 2016
Moderator: Rhett Butler
Panel: Janice Lee, Rudi Putra. Simon Lord, Petra Meekers and Lucita Jasmin
Industrial agriculture and ranching is the largest driver of deforestation across the tropics. In Asia, conversion of forests and peatlands to agroindustrial crops (e.g. oil palm, pulp plantations) is seen as one of the biggest threats to biodiversity and a key factor underpinning the fire and haze crisis that periodically affects the region. Yet these crops are lucrative and high-yielding, making them one of the best options for meeting rising global demand.
Can a balance be struck between producing agroindustrial crops and saving some of the world's most threatened species and habitats? This panel of experts will debate whether greener agroindustrial crops can really help, rather than hinder, conservation efforts.
Moderator: Agro-Industry and Conservation
Rhett A. Butler
Founder of Mongabay
Rhett A. Butler is the founder and president of Mongabay, a popular environmental science and conservation news web site. Butler is also the founder of WildMadagascar.org, a site that highlights the biological richness of Madagascar; Mongabay.co.id, an Indonesian-language environmental news service; and the Tropical Forest Network, a social network in the San Francisco Bay Area focused on tropical forest conservation and ecology. Butler is the co-founder of Tropical Conservation Science, an open-access academic journal that aims to provide opportunities for scientists in developing countries to publish their research.
Outside of these pursuits, Butler has advised a wide range of organizations, including governments, multilateral development agencies, media outlets, academic institutions, foundations, and private sector entities. From 2010-2012, he served as the forest adviser to the Skoll Foundation. Butler has been an information source for many mainstream media outlets.
Butler's work has been published outside of his web sites, including magazines, newspapers, online media, and academic journals. His photos have appeared in hundreds of publications.
In 2014, Butler became the first journalist to win the Parker/Gentry Award, a conservation prize given annually by the Field Museum in Chicago. Butler has also been a finalist for the Katerva Award for innovation.
Dr. Madhu Rao
Wildlife Conservation Society
Madhu Rao is Regional Advisor (Asia Program) with the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Development Coordinator of the Asian Species Action Partnership, an IUCN SSC initiative aimed at averting the extinction of critically endangered South east Asian vertebrate species.
She earned her Ph.D. from Duke University and is currently adjunct faculty at the Department of Biological Science, National University of Singapore. She has been involved in developing and implementing science-based conservation projects focused on addressing threats to endangered species and natural ecosystems within and outside protected area systems in Southeast Asia and China. She has broad experience with capacity development for protected area management in the Southeast Asia region. Her research interests include protected area policy, the exploitation of wildlife and human-wildlife conflict.
Dr. Reuben Clements
Universiti Malaysia Terengganu
Gopalasamy Reuben Clements received his PhD from James Cook University and obtained his MSc and BSc from the National University of Singapore. Dr. Clements has accumulated over 10 years of research experience on M&Ms (mammals and molluscs) in Malaysia. To date, he has discovered six new species of landsnails and has over 50 articles published in journals, magazines and books. His research has been featured in international media such as the BBC, National Geographic and the New York Times. Dr. Clements is currently an Associate Professor at Universiti Malaysia Terengganu and a Field Conservation Associate with the Woodland Park Zoo and Panthera in USA. He is also an Honorary Assistant Professor with the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus.
After getting his MSc in 2007, Dr. Clements left Singapore to work in WWF-Malaysia, where he served as the Species Conservation Manager managing their tiger programme until 2010. He subsequently co-founded a locally registered non-profit research group known as Rimba in 2010, which now has several projects focusing on applied research to support government efforts to conserve Malaysia’s threatened species and ecosystems. One of these projects, Project Harimau Selamanya, was established in 2014. Dr. Clements now has team of 18 people actively working with government partners to better protect tigers and other wildlife in Kenyir, Terengganu.
Wildlife Trade in Asia
1st July 2016
Moderator: Dr. Jacob Phelps
Panel: Dr. Chris Shepherd, Dwi Adihasto, Rebecca Wong and Clifford Eu
Asia is at the centre of global discussions over illegal wildlife trade. Often in the spotlight as a leading consumer region of charismatic African wildlife, Asia is also a critical source and consumer for a much wider range of taxa threatened by commercial trade, including timber, marine species, birds, pangolins, medicinal and ornamental plants, amphibians and reptiles.
This panel of speakers brings diverse experiences researching and intervening to address illegal wildlife trade across the region. They will help us to understand the diversity within what we commonly refer to as "illegal wildlife trade", and will explore leading challenges to understanding and addressing domestic, regional and global wildlife trade. They will also discuss the design of both consumer demand and supply-side conservation interventions, and the enforcement and market-based approaches to reducing illegal trade.
Dr. Jacob Phelps
Moderator: Wildlife Trade in Asia
Champions for Species Conservation
2nd July 2016
Moderators: Dr. Reuben Clements and Dr. Madhu Rao
Panel: Dr. Mirza Kusrini, Dr. Jurgenne Primavera and Marites Gatan-Balbas
Southeast Asia has the highest concentration of species on the edge of extinction of any comparable region in the world. Commercial scale exploitation of wildlife to meet the escalating demand for wildlife products combined with large-scale forest degradation and clearing have resulted in rapid population declines and local extinctions of several species.
It is thus a critically important time for species conservation in Southeast Asia. Members of the panel should provide a diversity of viewpoints on the potential for success for species conservation over the next 10 to 20 years.
The key questions for discussion would be:
- Is significant loss of species biodiversity inevitable in the region over the next several years?
- Have ecosystem-based approaches (example- Payments for Ecosystem Services) made a significant contribution to species conservation in the region?
- What needs to change in conservation approaches to avert the imminent extinction of species?
Dr. Reuben Clements (top) and Dr. Madhu Rao (below)
Co-moderators: Champions for Species Conservation