13 December 2008

Wallace observatory planned in tiny Ternate

In 1858, Wallace inspired Charles Darwin to write the natural selection theory after he sent Darwin a letter detailing his findings in Ternate. While Darwin became exceedingly famous and has been dubbed the father of evolution, Wallace has remained largely unknown.
The tiny island of Ternate in North Maluku has decided to build a Wallace observatory. The house in Ternate, where Wallace lived for four years, was still in its original condition and the owner had agreed to make it into a monument. There are also plan to build a one-hectare observatory that will exhibit plants and animals, the main focus of Wallace's studies.

Some comments by officials and scientists of this plan:

"Wallace's discoveries paved the way for important historical and scientific work to be rediscovered. Sulawesi and its satellite islands have distinctly unique flora and fauna which we need to sustain for the sake of the nation."

"It would be great to have a conservation area in Jailolo that is intended especially for the Wallacea species, particularly the ones most likely to become extinct."

"We respect Wallace and his work. He is like a Ternate native that was born in Britain"

Recently in Singapore, the book "Natural Selection and Beyond: The Intellectual Legacy of Alfred Russell Wallace" was launched. Here's more about the launch on the annotated budak blog.

Ternate to build Wallace observatory
Andi Hajramurni and Tifa Asrianti, The Jakarta Post 12 Dec 08;
To honor British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace's achievements in science, the municipality of Ternate, North Maluku, will build a monument and observatory in his name.

Ternate mayor Syamsir Andili said in Makassar on Thursday that his administration would reconstruct Wallace's former home into a monument. The house, where Wallace lived for four years, was still in its original condition and the owner had agreed to the plans. Ternate will also rename a street in their town Jalan Alfred Russel Wallace.

"We also plan to build a one-hectare observatory that will exhibit plants and animals, the main focus of Wallace's studies. We will begin acquiring the land next year," he said at the opening of the four-day International Conference on Alfred Russel Wallace and the Wallacea in Makassar.

In 1858, Wallace inspired Charles Darwin to write the 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 became exceedingly famous and has been dubbed the father of evolution, Wallace has remained largely unknown.

Syamsir hoped the research and science institutions nationwide would help with the construction of the observatory.

Sangkot Marzuki, president of the Indonesian Academy of Sciences (AIPI), supported the idea.

"Since it was Wallace's home, I am sure the area has many interesting and unique plants and animals," he said.

Djoko Iskandar, a lecturer at the Bandung Institute of Technology School of Life Sciences and Technology, said an observatory should be close to natural resources.

"The (Ternate) administration should establish whether the surrounding environment is in a good condition before constructing the observatory," he said.

South Sulawesi Deputy Governor Agus Arifin Nu'mang said scientists should investigate Wallaces' theories on evolution, so significant that a region in Central Indonesia was named Wallacea after him, to continue his legacy. Their work would also support The Wallacea Research and Development Foundation, an organization dedicated to the Wallacea region, he said.

He further encouraged researchers to join the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) in studying the vast plant and animal species waiting to be discovered in the region.

"Wallace's discoveries paved the way for important historical and scientific work to be rediscovered. Sulawesi and its satellite islands have distinctly unique flora and fauna which we need to sustain for the sake of the nation," he said.

David Hallmark from Trinity College in the United Kingdom said the monument and observatory would not only promote Wallace's life and studies but also boost the profile of the Wallacea Research and Development Foundation.

"Many pebbles make a beach. The monument, the observatory, scientific studies and exchange students will all lead to the development of good ideas for the Wallacea. There should be a connection between Ternate and other locations such as Maluku, Timor and Lombok, so it can form a trail," he said.

Honoring Wallace in Ternate
Tempo 9 Dec 08;
TEMPO Interactive, Ternate:The administration of Ternate Island in North Maluku are not just naming streets and erecting monuments to honor Alfred Russel Wallace, the 19th century British anthropologist who initiated the Wallacea line to distinguish the different flora and fauna of the region. An area of 50 – 100 hectares in Jailolo is being developed into the Wallacea Conservation Centre.

The chairman of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) Umar Anggara Jenie said the construction of the conservation centre is interesting as there has been no previous attempts at conserving the local flora and fauna in the province. He hopes that Ternate scientists can concentrate on the Wallacea flora and fauna which have become the evidence of nature's adaptation process to continuous environmental change, which is also the most well-known principle of Wallace, namely the survival of the fittest.

"This is a very good idea because of the unique characteristics of the Wallacea area, a transition between Asia and Australia," Umar said after attending a pre-symposium to commemorate the 150th anniversary of "Letter from Ternate" in Ternate, last week.

Endang Sukara, LIPI's deputy chairman in charge of the Bio-Sciences said the Wallacea flora-fauna conservation area is currently only available in a botanical garden in Enrekang, South Sulawesi. The garden is to be elevated to the status of a national park in the near future.

"It would be great to have a conservation area in Jailolo that is intended especially for the Wallacea species," he said. "Particularly the ones most likely to become extinct. These are mentioned in CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna), because there are much fauna from the eastern area that is included in the list."

Besides cooperating with the Ternate administration to build a conservation center in Jailolo, LIPI is also building a Wallacea nature observatorium in Sasa, South Ternate. This nature center will be an expansion of LIPI's marine research office in Ternate.

TJANDRA


Indonesia should remind people of Wallace`s role in evolution theory
Antara 8 Dec 08;
Ternate, North Maluku, (ANTARA News) - The president of the Indonesian Association of Sciences (AIPI), Prof Sangkot Marzuki, said here Tuesday that Indonesia had the interest to remind the world about the role of Alfred Russel Wallace in the evolution theory as if it only belonged to Darwin.

"Linnean Society, in their meeting on July 1, 1858, declared that Darwin and Wallace had separately found the theory of evolution," Sangkot said during a pre-symposium on "Letter from Ternate".

Linnean Society is an association of scientists as well as friends of Charles Darwin. The organization was astounded when accepting Wallace`s letter from Ternate to Darwin. The letter said that "the emergence of new species in the world is the result of natural selection".

According to Sangkot, Wallace`s sentence in the letter was a conclusion of all Darwin`s thoughts; the process which became the basis of the evolution of living things.

"However, at the time, Darwin had yet to reach a clear conclusion," he added.

In the meantime, the chairman of Wallacea Indonesia Foundation said, Wallace`s name had been forgotten and the names of Indonesia and Ternate, the places where Wallace got the inspiration, were also forgotten.

Therefore, Sangkot said, Indonesia should remind the world of Wallace`s and Ternate`s role in the discovery of the evolution theory, especially that 2009 was declared as Darwin year by UNESCO.

One of the efforts made by the Wallacea Foundation was to bring all the inventions and photos of Wallace works (now shown in Jakarta) to the UN office in Geneve in February or March 2009.

"We also plan to hold a similar exhibition at UNESCO`s office in Paris. But it is still uncertain," he said.

To sangkot, the issue of Wallace and Ternate must be upheld and Indonesia has the interest to do this.

"It will, at least, attract tourists. This is the same like Serawak administration does. It sells stones once believed to be Wallace`s home," he said.(*)

Tiny Indonesia islands to honor British naturalist
Yahoo News 12 Dec 08;
JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia's remote Moluccas islands plans to build a museum and an observatory in honor of British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, who in the 19th century spent many years in the area doing pioneering field work. Wallace was a leading expert on the geographical distribution of animal species and proposed a theory of natural selection around the same time his better known compatriot Charles Darwin published his famous theory in "On The Origin of Species."

"We respect Wallace and his work. He is like a Ternate native that was born in Britain," Barham Dayan, the head of Ternate city administration's political unit, said.

Ternate, the provincial capital of North Moluccas, plans to start constructing a museum and a monument on the site of Wallace's former home next year, as well as an observatory to research animal species in eastern Indonesia, Dayan said.

The city has also named a street after Wallace.

Wallace wrote an account of his scientific exploration in the area entitled the "The Malay Archipelago."

The Welsh-born naturalist is also famous for identifying the "Wallace Line," a boundary separating eastern and western Indonesia into areas of different species.

(Reporting by Olivia Rondonuwu; Editing by Ed Davies and Sanjeev Miglani)

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