Maurice Leponce / Senior researcher, research group leader

Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences / Ecology and Biodiversity

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Main concerns: Natural habitats, especially primary forests which sustain the highest biodiversity are disappearing at an alarming rate.
Actions: At professional level, to support nature conservation initiatives, I participate or organize large-scale international biodiversity inventories in tropical forests, with a special focus on forest canopies . This is done in collaboration with host country universities and local communities and with partners active in nature conservation, carbon sequestration and support to local communities.
(Movie illustrating my work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04h2FLb1HtA)
At individual level, I go to work by bike, rely partly on solar energy, compost my organic wastes, buy proximity food, rely on teleconferences rather than travel to assist to distant meetings…
Difficulties encountered: Undisturbed habitats (our study subject) disappear, the last remnants are in places difficult to access. Economical pressure increases as natural resources become increasingly scarce. The importance of maintaining a high diversity of organisms in ecosystems is still little understood by decision-makers.
Key changes needed in the society: positive incentives for a more sustainable way of life by reducing consumption of resources and stabilizing population growth, remove support to fossil fuels, incorporate the environmental costs in our actions.