[Taxacom] Who uses biodiversity data and why? GBIF Responses

Bob Mesibov mesibov at southcom.com.au
Mon Dec 4 23:46:11 CST 2006


I don't understand why you say you disagree with my views, since I never
suggested that people should _not_ check for previous occurrence records,
using GBIF or any other source.

In today's post, I spoke from experience in saying that "threatened species"
conservation is rarely helped by records databases, because either the
records just aren't there, or there aren't enough to plan sensible

In an earlier post, I worried about biodiversity data quality, but your
concluding sentence suggests that you think we should make conservation
decisions as quickly as we can, in the face of continuing biodiversity loss,
and worry about data quality afterwards. I can't imagine what kind of a
conservation program would be served by that approach, except perhaps one
which attempts to justify creating as many nature reserves as possible, as
quickly as possible. Things may be different in Colorado, but here in
Australia _accurate_ biodiversity data play an important role in finding and
managing areas worthy of nature conservation.

Reserve creation aside, most conservation planning involves species
management or habitat management at the local level, often on non-reserved
land. Is it your belief that, in most cases, the existing body of primary
occurrence data is accurate enough and adequate for management planning?
That's neither my belief nor my experience. It's why I said in an earlier
post that universal access to all biodiversity data (UATABD) will help local
planners "Not very often, and not very much".

I repeat, again, that as a taxonomist I see great benefits in UATABD. I am
concerned that its value for conservation is being greatly oversold, and
that some people have got it in their heads that by assembling all existing
biodiversity data we can "save the planet" much more easily. That is a naive
point of view.
Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery
and School of Zoology, University of Tasmania
Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
(03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195

Australian Millipedes Checklist
Tasmanian Multipedes
Spatial data basics for Tasmania

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