Sharing lost biodiversity data

6th April 2018
Moving knowledge from the enthusiast’s notebooks onto a worldwide database. This is an enormous asset to all conservation work.

Many researchers and wildlife enthusiasts both carefully collect reams of data and meticulously record 100s of observations in notebooks… but very often that’s where it ends. This data stay put in notebooks on a shelf for decades (forever?) while they could contribute to our overall knowledge and understanding of habitats and species so that they can be better protected.

For the past few months, A Rocha Kenya has been intensively involved in data mobilization for the Biodiversity Information for Development project for Arabuko-Sokoke forest under Global Biodiversity Information Facility (BID-GBIF).

BID seeks to turn this data in the notebooks into data that will be available worldwide on GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility) database. This project funded by the European Union brings together A Rocha Kenya, the National Museum of Kenya (NMK), The Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Guides Association to access, assess, digitize, engage and improve data in order to inform the management of its important, unique and threatened forest ecosystem.


Judith Adhiambo, our data digitization clerk, has been being hands on data entry since February 2018, and so far has managed to enter the Arabuko-Sokoke forest (ASF) data for birds and mammals checklist according to Darwin Core standards – a requirement by GBIF for universal purposes. The two checklists awaiting to be uploaded by NMK the publishing institution for GBIF. Judy continues with data entry for to the rest of the biodiversity from ASF.


Data Use for Decision Making

After the data has been entered the next stage is to learn how to make use of them. A workshop titled “Data Use for Decision Making” is being held at South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) headquarters in the legendary Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. We are privileged to have Dr Colin Jackson, Director of A Rocha Kenya, joining the team.

The workshop convened by GBIF and hosted by @SANBI and will bring together project participants from BID: Biodiversity Information for Development, the African Biodiversity Challenge…/the-african-biodive…/ and UNEP-WCMC’s Connect programmes.

The aim of the workshop is to train participants in best way to engage with governments and government officials such that the data available as a result of the project is best used by them.


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