SDG15 Life on Land
Photo Credit: Insect Biodiversity and Biogeography Laboratory, HKU
The Division of Ecology & Biodiversity has a wide variety of research projects covering all manner of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems and the effective conservation, restoration, and management of them. The Insect Biodiversity and Biogeography Laboratory (IBBL) studies some of the smallest species while the Bull Elephant Network Project studies some of the largest. IBBL looks specifically at ants to research species richness and human impacts on biodiversity. The Bull Elephant Network Project investigates male Asian and African elephant social networks and population genetics in order to help conservation efforts.
Studying and protecting flora is also important in conserving and restoring terrestrial ecosystems. The Jockey Club Smart City Tree Management Project, launched in 2018 by the Jockey Club and a group of professors from Hong Kong universities, works to achieve effective urban forest management. The project attaches monitors to trees across Hong Kong to inform foresters of trees that need follow-up action.
Teaching & Research
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During the reporting period, Lung Fu Shan Environmental Education Centre (LFSEEC) continued to expand its work to promote better community understanding and conservation of local ecosystems in the area around HKU. In early 2019, the centre celebrated its 10th anniversary with interdisciplinary book and exhibition titled “The Pulse of Nature – Mid-Levels West”. The book and exhibit brought together artists, novelists, ecologists, historians, architects and urbanists to share their thoughts and insights on the nature and culture of Mid-Levels West. The curators and contributors used innovative storytelling tools such as maps, drawings, essays, and photographs to provide multiple different perspectives on interacting with and exploring the world around us.
LFSEEC also held a series of activities surrounding the book and exhibition to promote further interaction with the nature of the area. Contributing professors led guided tours to showcase themes of the book such as our relationship with local trees. The centre also held an art jamming workshop to allow participants to engage with nature through art. A series of tours covering interesting and often lesser-known spots in the area was also organized to encourage public to pay attention to their surroundings. The 10th-anniversary celebrations and activities presented a cutting edge way to relate to and appreciate the natural world.
The HKU campus and its surrounding area are home to a wide array of wildlife. To research this, in 2019 LFSEEC successfully organized its third BioBlitz to identify as many species as possible in different taxa in a set period. 400 experts and citizen scientists worked together to record 156 species which will help to increase understanding of the biodiversity of the area. LFSEEC also hosted a seminar day for BioBlitz participants and the general public covering interesting tax-related topics to further increase comprehension of local ecosystems.
Beyond the BioBlitz, the centre has expanded its reach to promote environmental education to the wider Hong Kong community. They partnered with the Hong Kong Science Museum to hold regular workshops at the museum to promote public appreciation of biodiversity beyond the walls of the centre. They also partnered with Hong Kong Bird Watching Society to host a large-scale Black Kite Public Census to help understand and conserve the species. As LFSEEC moves into its second decade of operation, it continues to host engaging activities to promote environmental education and appreciation to all.