International Cooperation in Rafflesia Conservation between the University of Bengkulu with Oxford University, and University of the Philippines of Los Baños

International Cooperation in Rafflesia Conservation between the University of Bengkulu with Oxford University, and University of the Philippines of Los Baños

At the end of 2022, a big step in researching the conservation of Bengkulu’s rare plants will take place. Dr. Chris Thorogood, a leading researcher from the University of Oxford, England, who serves as Deputy Director and Head of Science at the Botanic Garden of the University of Oxford, visited the university. This visit was carried out to check Rafflesia’s conservation efforts. This tour was also accompanied by Professor Pastor Malabrigo from the University of the Philippines of Los Baños (UPLB) in the Philippines. As a counterpart at Bengkulu University, Professor Agus Susatya from the Forestry Department leads the local team.

In 2023, through KSLI and the Faculty of Agriculture, Bengkulu University successfully signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Botanic Garden University of Oxford. This MoU is an important milestone in international cooperation in rare plant conservation.

Concrete results of this collaboration will be seen in 2023 with the release of a report from the University of Oxford on Rafflesia conservation. This report results from collaboration between researchers from the University of Oxford, Bengkulu University, UPLB, and BRIN (National Research and Innovation Agency). In addition, joint publications between researchers from these universities were successfully published in international journals with a Q1 ranking.

Entering February 2024, Dr. Chris Thorogood from the University of Oxford and Professor Pastor Malabrigo from UPLB returned to the University of Bengkulu to continue their collaboration. The activities included being an International Guest Lecture at the Department of Forestry, Faculty of Agriculture, on February 20, 2024. Apart from that, they also made a field visit to the Rafflesia location and were involved in podcast discussions to socialize and expand understanding about this rare plant’s conservation among students and the public.

During their visit to Bengkulu University, they also held meetings and discussions with the leadership of the Faculty of Agriculture, Institute for Research and Community Service (LPPM), and KSLI. Dr. Chris Thorogood from the University of Oxford was also invited to be the Keynote Speaker at the International Conference by LPPM in 2024.

The collaboration between the University of Bengkulu, the University of Oxford, and the University of the Philippines of Los Baños in Rafflesia conservation produces valuable research and strengthens the international cooperation network in efforts to conserve biodiversity. It is hoped that the concrete steps taken through this collaboration will significantly impact Rafflesia’s sustainability and its ecosystem.

International Guest Lecture “PLANTS in A Changing World” at Department of Forestry Live on Youtube Kehutanan UNIB: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEUJKEjNHEg&t=1293s

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