1. Unblocking the flow of biodiversity data for multi-stakeholder environmental sustainability management.
  2. Main partner institutions: University of St Gallen; Centre for African Wetlands, University of Ghana; Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute.

    Project Summary

    Governments, businesses and civil society require biodiversity data to facilitate informed decision making on environmental management and conservation. However, biodiversity data are fragmented, challenging to collect or access, difficult to use, and rarely available to decision makers in appropriate formats. Challenges include lack of capacity and the absence of appropriate tools for identifying indicators and for collecting, analysing and interpreting data. Causal factors include taxonomic and geographic data biases, differences in spatial scales, and governance issues such as willingness to share information, especially in risk-averse governments and businesses. Solutions proposed to unblock the flow of biodiversity data across stakeholder groups include the development of science-policy fora and capacity building. However, few studies have linked data solutions to user needs and there is no comprehensive, openly available tool for supporting biodiversity data use. We will therefore bring together experts from conservation biology and business sustainability management to explore biodiversity data user needs across sectors and identify the reasons behind blockages to data flow and access.

    We will then use our research results to work with Information Technology and data connectivity experts to develop a user-friendly, open access decision support tool to help stakeholders find the standards, guidelines, tools, methods and data they need.

    The project will enhance and complement global efforts by international organisations like IUCN and GEOBON to share and publicise data sources and to make existing tools and data freely available to the managers who need them. This will ultimately help mainstream biodiversity data into decision making and halt biodiversity loss.