Brunei Darussalam is strategically located in an area which holds a wealth of natural resources in both its pristine tropical rain forests and marine ecosystems. Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) has a long history of biodiversity research dating back to the days of the establishment of the University and its premier international field research facility centre, the Kuala Belalong Field Studies Centre (KBFSC).
The unique features of Brunei’s tropical biodiversity demand ongoing research towards documenting biological diversity and understanding values of biodiversity, particularly its interaction with the environment and links to ecosystem service. These are especially vital in guiding conservation and management issues. Through new interdisciplinary approaches, IBER is linking technologies with the natural sciences to understand and harness unique interactions in ecological systems. Research at IBER focuses on collaborations with our local and international counterparts as a platform for knowledge sharing and transfer as well as capacity building. The IBER education programme allows young participants to experience first hand the unique biodiversity of Brunei Darussalam and actively uncover the unparalleled features of the tropical rainforest ecosystems.
Recently, IBER has expanded its biodiversity research thrust to include herbal and medicinal plant research projects at the UBD Botanical Research Centre (UBD BRC), which was officially launched by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah Ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam as the Chancellor of UBD on the 3rd February 2018 in conjunction with the 1st International Symposium on ‘Ethnobotany in the Qur’an and Hadith – An Exploration’.
UBD BRC is still mostly covered in native Kerangas forest and its green house consists of approximately 250 species of plants, mainly represented by herbaceous species commonly used by herbalists for medicinal purposes or gardeners as ornamental plants. Among other activities, the plant collection in UBD BRC serves as an outdoor laboratory for teaching and research activities.
IBER places a special emphasis on the coordination of research, education and outreach activities at KBFSC. IBER research and educational projects focus on both terrestrial and marine biodiversity throughout Brunei Darussalam, as well as the interactions between biodiversity and its environment. All these opportunities further advance the growth of IBER and places its central importance for Biodiversity research in the University.
Dr Rahayu Sukmaria Haji Sukri