Heartiest congratulations to Dr Edgar for on his appointment as our new programme leader!
I'd also like to thank to Dr Bill Duane for his exemplary leadership and guidance while he was at the helm.
ECOSYSTEMS along the national coastline need to be studied in-depth in order to formulate policies to tackle rising sea-levels as a result of climate change, said a researcher from Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD).
Dr William John Duane, programme leader for Environmental
Studies and Geography & Development, highlighted specific research
opportunities in the country during an International Consortium of
Universities for the Study of Biodiversity and the Environment (iCube)
workshop in UBD.
He said that the research would help create
policies on how Brunei should look to respond on the rise in sea-level
in the not-to-distant future.
In an interview with The Brunei
Times, he said there were some data available from a study done in 2002,
but said that there could be more work done to make the information
more complete as well as to create a more accurate map of ecosystems
along the Brunei coast.
Dr Duane noted that with that
information, it was possible to form very long-term policies on how to
tackle eventual sea-level rise. "It is inevitable," he said, pointing
out that as they know more about the effect of climate change.
2007, the fourth annual report from the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) which predicted sea-level rise (18 to 59 cm) by
2100 was heavily criticised to be too conservative, he said.
was unrealistic because it did not contain information from ice-melt as
they did not understand much about it at the time," explained Dr Duane,
noting that they had only used figures from how much the sea was going
to rise based on the volume of water expanding due to increase in
Studies made in 2009 and 2010 by other
researchers predicted a rise of more than 100 cm and 200 cm
respectively. "By 2014, the IPCC will be publishing their 5th report,"
he shared, noting that while he is not certain, he believed the number
would probably be higher.
He said that the seventh point of the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was to aim for environmental
sustainability as well as reduce the rate of biodiversity loss. For
Brunei to achieve a "net-zero" biodiversity loss, it must first
understand completely what it needs to replace in the event of rising
"For example, the mangrove forests," he said, noting
that as the sea-level rises, it could allow mangrove forests to be
created further in-land, replacing the ones that were lost. He said that
research would help map out the areas which needs to be converted,
taking into account ecosystems with many different species.
noted that while there were many policy options available to the
government, science should help make the government create informed
"It will not just be a matter of science, but also a matter of policy."
pointed out the range of policy responses available to the government,
ranging from reclamation of land to non-intervention, and said that
research on coastal environments would help decide what can be used.
explained that while areas such as Bandar Seri Begawan and other
populated places will need to be protected by physical barriers, other
areas might be better preserved through adaptation and allowing nature
to take its course. "That needs to be researched," he said.
the iCube workshop, one of the participants suggested that because
Brunei is a small country, it might be possible to erect coastal
protection for the entire coastline. Dr Duane said that it might be
economically challenging as it would be a construction work of some
He later explained that it would also cause
the loss of biodiversity, as coastal environments not protected by the
wall would be lost. "The wall would stop the move of these environments
further inland" he said, explaining it would create a reduction or an
outright loss of those environments.
The Brunei Times