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History, Social Institutions, and the Philippine Biodiversity Crises
Oct
30
2013
October 30, 2013 5:30 PM
How did biological and human domains arrive at their present states and influence each other over historical time? A Lecture by Dr. Raul Suarez.
 
The Philippines is known to biologists as a center of great biodiversity as well as for being an environmental disaster. It is also known to human rights advocates and to the general public for uncontrolled population growth, poverty and democratic dysfunction. How biological and human domains arrived at their present states and influenced each other over historical time shall be the subject of this seminar. 

Ninety percent of land area in the more than 7,000 islands was once forested and most species (on land) evolved as forest specialists. Throughout Philippine history, extractive political and economic institutions evolved that caused increased widening of the gap between rich and poor. Elite control of natural resources led to virtually uncontrolled logging of primary forests. This was followed by migration of lowland poor into secondary forests (left behind by loggers) where they practiced various forms of slash-and-burn agriculture. Destruction of forest habitat has been the leading cause of biodiversity loss on land. Asia’s earliest pupil in the ways of democracy became one of the most dysfunctional and corrupt in the world with close to a third of the population living below the poverty line. At present, only less than 20% forest cover remains and the country has the largest number (per unit area) of threatened endemic species in the world. Elite rule and extractive economic institutions degraded both humans and Nature. 

Dr. Raul Suarez is a professor at the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology a the University of California in Santa Barbara. His research interests include: energetics of animal locomotion; evolutionary design of functional capacities at the biochemical level; metabolic biochemistry, in particular its ecological consequences and evolutionary implications; and social institutions and the biodiversity crisis in the Philippines. He has published around sixty papers in prestigious journals such as Nature, the Journal of Experimental Biology, the Journal of Comparative Physiology, the American Journal of Physiology, and the Canadian Journal of Zoology. He has delivered close to 38 university seminars and 25 conference lectures in Russia, China, Spain, Switzerland, Panama, Brazil, U.K., Germany, U.S.A., Canada, Philippines. He finished his doctoral degree from the University of British Columbia. He was born and raised in the Philippines.

Download the event poster here.
Visit the Facebook event page here.
  Location:
Multipurpose Room, Liu Institute for Global Issues
Address:
6476 NW Marine Drive, University of British Columbia
October 2013
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