47 million data points help assess global biodiversity


JNCC staff Paul Rose and Lawrence Way were amongst the delegates at the Governing Board of the GBIF facility, which met in Tsukuba, Japan ©Miura Photo StudioIn October, JNCC led the UK delegation at the Governing Board of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), which met in Tsukuba, Japan. GBIF is an international initiative with country and international organisational participants, which aims to make the world's biodiversity data freely and openly available via an interconnected set of dispersed databases.
The main business of the governing board was to set up an independent review of GBIF, refresh the committees that set the direction for its work, and agree next year's work programme. One of the main objectives of the UK delegation has been to encourage GBIF to plan how it can be used to best effect, as well as planning how it can work technically.
The Tsukuba meeting made good progress, with a Finnish-led demonstration of GBIF use for regional forest planning in the Andes. GBIF also renewed its commitment to engage with the Convention on Biodiversity, which could include helping in the assessment of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), by providing data for the target of slowing the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010.
The Japan meeting also brought together the people responsible for providing data to GBIF, to assess whether the GBIF network was ready for integration, and to determine what data can be provided initially. The results were encouraging, with participants predicting 47 million data points (observations of species at a particular time and place) would be available over the next year. This includes up to 12 million data points from organisations contributing data to the UK's National Biodiversity Network, which will link its internet data access service, http://www.searchnbn.net/, for searching by GBIF.
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