Theresia Sufa, Bogor, West Java – The Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) is set to allocate Rp 10 billion (US$712,000) to Rp 20 billion per year starting next year to support exploration activities on Indonesian flora and fauna, as there are many ecological species that have not yet been identified.
LIPI head Laksana Tri Handoko announced the plan during the International Symposium on Indonesian Fauna in Bogor on Monday, part of the event series to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense (MZB).
"There are still many kinds of flora and fauna in the country that have not been discovered. We must identify as many as possible and we will prepare a special financing scheme for the exploration." said Handoko.
The event was attended by domestic and international researchers, including researchers from the University of California, the United States National Science Foundation and the Museum of Victoria in Australia.
"We hope that starting next year, we can finance the ecological exploration on a more massive and impartial basis, meaning that it involves researchers from the fields of limnology, zoology and botany, including those from the Bogor Botanical Garden," he said referring to the garden known for its vast plant collection managed under LIPI's Plant and Garden Conservation Research Center.
Head of the Zoology Division at the LIPI Research Center for Biology, Cahyo Rahmadi, said that so far this year, LIPI researchers had managed to find 42 new species in Indonesia.
The rarest species found was a bird endemic to Rote Island in East Nusa Tenggara, which was then named Myzomela Irianawidodoae, as an appreciation to bird lover First Lady Iriana.
Cahyo argued that a bird species was one of the most challenging species to discover, aside from invertebrates. "We don't know how many invertebrate species are out there left to be discovered," he said. (syk)