Jia Min Heng
Class of 2020. "Tropical Forest Conservation Ecology"
Hello, I’m Jia Min from the Class of 2020! I love plants and hope to work on studying and protecting the forests of Southeast Asia in future.
I fell in love with plants after a summer abroad program in Australia, when I realised how beautiful they are as I made unofficial herbarium collections and worked on plant identification. I especially love their diversity, their longevity (sometimes) and how they quietly, and almost without moving, give so much to the rest of the web of life! Though plants are not always human-like, plants teach and inspire me a lot in embracing diversity, being observant, staying still and not moving all the time, taking their own time, and being present for others.
As an aspiring academic, I hope to humbly feed my curiosity about everything under the sun, while empowering youths to think critically and act consciously on matters of importance to them.
Area of Specialisation
Tropical Forest Conservation Ecology. I am interested in how ecological research can play a role in the conservation of tropical forests of Southeast Asia. Despite comprising only 6% of the world’s surface area, tropical forests contain more than half of the world’s biodiversity and are significant carbon sinks. Changing patterns of consumption, production, and land use in the tropics now place many of these forest ecosystems at risk. In my studies on conserving these at- risk ecosystems, I prioritise gaining practice and confidence in the various stages of ecological research, from experiment design and field work to data analysis and research communication. However, I will also pay close attention to how and why ecological research succeeds and fails in influencing conservation-related decision making.
My aim is to integrate knowledge from forest ecology, policymaking and science communication circles to produce a capstone that advocates for, or at least contributes to, a particular forest conservation policy in the region through studying an ecological question and preparing notes on framing the research at the negotiating table. In doing so, I hope to test my belief that conservation ecology is more than asking an ecological question with conservation consequences, but instead ecology that is specifically designed for conservation, with its ethical, political and social quandaries in mind.