TWF to promote Wallace to foreign communities
The Jakarta Post , Jakarta Thu, 06/11/2009 1:13 PM National
The Wallacea Foundation (TWF) is campaigning throughout the Wallacea area to global communities as an effort to realise its plan to set up a biodiversity research center in Ternate, North Maluku.
The maiden campaign is to be held in Beijing during the Indonesian Week on June 17 to 21 followed by an event in Geneva later this year.
"We also aim to build a monument to honor Alfred Russel Wallace," foundation chairman Sangkot Marzuki told reporters Wednesday.
The British naturalist explored the area between 1854 and 1862.
Sangkot said the foundation, set up in 2005 as a merger of the Wallace Development Institute and TWF would promote the area's rich biodiversity, including about 10,000 species of plants, 222 of animals and 647 of birds.
A study by the Conservation International said there were currently about 1,500 endemic species of plants, 49 of threatened birds, 44 of mammals and seven of threatened amphibians in the area due to forest clearing for a government-sponsored transmigration program.
The Ternate city administration announced it would reconstruct the former home of Wallace and designate it as a monument.
In 1858, Wallace inspired Charles Darwin's natural selection theory after he sent Darwin a letter detailing his findings in Ternate.
The letter, attached to his essay On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely from the Original Type, outlined the mechanics of the evolutionary divergence of certain species due to environmental pressures.
While Darwin achieved fame as "the father of evolution", Wallace has remained largely unknown.
Director of public diplomacy at the foreign affairs ministry, Umar Hadi, said his office would support efforts to promote the Wallace area in the international arena.