Nature Blog Network

Friday, July 11, 2008

Free Access to Internet Resources Helps Conservation

ResearchBlogging.orgOK, a slight digression on the theme today. We are going to talk about a paper involving the endemic flora of Trinidad and Tobago, but we won't discuss plants. Instead, we'll talk about open access to information. In a paper just out in the conservation journal Oryx, Van Den Eynden and colleagues discuss how they evaluated plant endemism, conservation status and reserve effectiveness utilizing only freely available online resources from the internet and local Herbaria. There were several conclusions drawn about plant conservation, but here is a tidbit about how free access to information helped in assessing conservation status.

"Research institutes that use information technology to catalogue and distribute information online promote the advancement of knowledge at a global scale. Using such free-access online resources, and advice offered freely by taxonomy experts, a review of the endemic vascular plant species of Trinidad and Tobago and an assessment of their conservation status was carried out in a relatively short time and without significant cost. This in turn has been made freely available online (Van den Eynden, 2006). Such rapid evaluation of conservation status cannot replace the need for in depth field-based monitoring and assessment but it provides valuable baseline information for the identification and targeting of specific conservation and research needs. The methods used can be applied by most countries for initial assessments of plant extinction risks. Lack of resources or research data is no longer an argument not to do so."
Free information, it werks bitchez.

(Unfortunately their paper was NOT freely accessible, the irony of it all...)
Van den Eynden, V., Oatham, M.P., Johnson, W. (2008). How free access internet resources benefit biodiversity and conservation research: Trinidad and Tobago's endemic plants and their conservation status. Oryx, 42(03) DOI: 10.1017/S0030605308007321

1 comment:

  1. It's a slow turning behemoth, but it is finally turning!


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