The Indonesian Archipelago is the heart of the Coral Triangle, the global epicenter of marine biodiversity. Indonesia's terrestrial habitats are similarly diverse. This diversity forms an important part of Indonesia's natural heritage and is an essential economic resource. Indonesia's coral reefs alone support 6 million people with direct employment, (UN FAO) and Indonesian biodiversity is responsible for over 11% of GDP. Despite this importance, Indonesia's biodiversity is suffering sharp declines. A recent report by Reefs at Risk indicates that over the past 50 years, the percentage of degraded coral reefs in Indonesia increased from 10-50% and recent data suggests that 88% of Indonesian reefs are under high to moderate threat of destruction from human activities. The potential sociate and economic costs associated with the loss of this biodiversity has resulted in the development of the Coral Triangle Initiative, a 6 nation treaty focused on sustainability of “Coral Reefs, Fisheries, and Food Security”.
Despite the magnitude and importance of Indonesian biodiversity, the international scientific community has focused its attentions elsewhere. Lack of international interest in studying Indonesian biodiversity has limited our knowledge of Indonesian biodiversity and has slowed the growth of the Indonesian scientific community as foreign scientists develop research collaborations elsewhere.
Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Science Foundation, the Goal of the Indonesian Biodiversity Research Center (IBRC) is to promote biodiversity research in Indonesia through collaborative research and educational programs. Through these activities, the IBRC is increasing research capacity in Indonesia through stimulating biodiversity research in both Indonesian and international scientific communities, building lasting research networks among Indonesian and U.S. universities and research institutions.