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Biodiversity Data Sourcebook

Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) Metadata:


Identification_Information:
Citation:
Citation_Information:
Originator: UNEP/WCMC
Publication_Date: November 1994
Title: Biodiversity Data Sourcebook
Edition:
Geospatial_Data_Presentation_Form:
Series_Information:
Series_Name: UNEP-WCMC Biodiversity Series
Issue_Identification: ISBN 1899628002
Publication_Information:
Publication_Place: Cambridge, UK
Publisher: WCMC
Other_Citation_Details:
Online_Linkage: http://www.unep-wcmc.org/index.html?http://www.unep-wcmc.org/resources/publications/biodiv_series.htm~main
Description:
Abstract:
This sourcebook of biodiversity data was released in part as a contribution to the First Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Bahamas, 28 November - 9 December) in anticipation that it will provide information of interest and relevance. An extended introduction to many theoretical and applied aspects of biological diversity was provided in Global Biodiversity: status of the Earth's living resources (WCMC, 1992; funded largely by the UK Overseas Development Administration). That document, which benefitted from collaboration with many organisations and individual scientists, was produced at the time of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro. The purpose of the book was to provide conceptual background and baseline data both to practitioners in the biodiversity field, and to all concerned persons who needed a guide into that complex and highly topical area. Given the grounding previously provided in Global Biodiversity, the present volume concentrates on data rather than text and provides an illustrative set of data tables, in part revised and expanded from the earlier volume. The choice of data to be included and the manner of presentation have been determined with the likely end-users borne strongly in mind. With this aim, most data are presented in standardised tables by country, so that they are immediately available to users working at a national level but can also be placed easily in regional and global contexts. Overall, they give a good indication of the global availability of information on many aspects of biodiversity, drawing attention to some of the gaps that exist and to the regional imbalances in the distribution of biodiversity and the resources that have been devoted to its assessment and study. Description of contents ----------------------- Seven of the nine tables in the sourcebook are based on columns of country-level data; the food crop and livestock tables are arranged taxonomically. The following descriptive material is derived from the text accompanying each table, and is intended to indicate the scope of the data presented. Table 1 - provides working estimates of the number of species in selected taxa present in each country of the world, and the number of those species thought to be endemic to each country. Biodiversity may be evaluated at several different levels (eg. genes, species, habitats, ecosystems). It is widely accepted that, of all these, the species is the single most useful unit to use in biodiversity assessments, whether these are carried out locally, nationally, regionally or globally. Species best fill this role because, of all the possibilities, they best reflect observable diversity in nature and there is at least working agreement as to their definition and content. While counts of species numbers may reasonably reflect the biological richness of a given area, they do not necessarily reflect its uniqueness. The latter is an equally significant measure of an area's importance in a wider context. Probably the single most useful measure of an area's uniqueness is a count or estimate of the number of endemic species it contains. A species is endemic to some defined area if it is confined entirely to that area. Table 2 - shows the number of globally-threatened species present in each country. In order to try and maintain maximum biodiversity in the most efficient way possible, it is important to know which aspects of it are under most immediate threat. One approach is to assess the status of individual species and try to determine the degree of threat they are under (ie. the likelihood of their going extinct in a given length of time). Because much information is required, global analyses of threatened species status have only been carried out for a relatively few groups of organisms. The birds (Class Aves) form the only large higher taxon in which the conservation status of all member species has been assessed; the birds have now been subject to two such assessments; about half of the world's mammals have been assessed. An assessment of the conservation status of species is fundamental to setting priorities among possible management actions. Disregarding other factors that need to be considered in assigning priorities, those species regarded by IUCN as globally threatened are of major concern. At the country level, it is clearly desirable for conservation or management agencies to know which species regarded as globally threatened are endemic to the country in question because these agencies bear special responsibility for them. Threatened endemic species should be highest national priorities in terms of preventing loss of global biodiversity. Table 3 - indicates for which countries an authoritative published listing of threatened species, or compilation of information in the standard 'Red Data Book' format, is available, and which groups of organisms are assessed. The intention is to show in general terms where efforts have been made toward assessment of the status of species at the national, as opposed to global, level. Given that a central goal of national biodiversity conservation is maintenance of maximum species diversity, one important task is to assess which elements of the national flora and fauna are most at risk of extinction. Until quite recently only a small number of countries had produced a national assessment of species status. This activity has been largely restricted to developed countries; in general, these countries are relatively low in diversity, have well- inventoried floras and faunas, and have the required infrastructure. Most publications have been patterned after the IUCN global Red Data Books and Red Lists. Now a growing number of less developed countries have undertaken this task, and more may be expected to do so within the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity. By virtue of monitoring programmes, several countries have produced revised editions of their earlier Red Data Books. Table 4 - presents data on principal food crops and closely related wild species; one intention is to integrate data on uses and diversity of the former with information on the status and distribution of the latter. Plants are used as sources of medicinal products, timber and as ornamentals; their products figure in a very wide variety of manufacturing processes; fuelwood provides a source of energy for rural communities. Most fundamentally, plants are the basis of world food supply, either for direct human consumption or as livestock feed. Wild plants began to be modified into crops for agricultural production, probably independently in different continents, between 5,000 and 10,000 years ago; the later part of this period also saw the appearance of domestic animal populations. Of the more than 250,000 flowering plant species, around 200 have been domesticated as food plants, of which 25-30 are crops of major world importance, judged largely by global production and economic criteria. Table 5 - presents information on the major domestic mammals and closely related wild species; the intention is to integrate data on uses, history and diversity of the former with information on the status and distribution of the latter. At the local level, a great many wild animal species are used primarily to meet subsistence needs, the kind depending largely on availability and convenience, and to some extent, tradition. Globally, a small number of animal species are used in extensive ranching or farming systems, while fewer still are used in domestic livestock production. Breeds of domestic goat, sheep, cattle, pigs and domestic fowl are cosmopolitan in distribution and the basis for most of the world's agricultural animal food production. The four principal mammalian livestock species have diversified under more than 5,000 years of domestication and artificial selection into more than 2,000 recognised breeds, each with unique characteristics. The pool of genetic resources represented by domestic animal diversity is an essential basis for efficient and sustainable food production, and is likely to be of increasing importance in the more demanding production environments. Table 6 - presents a wide range of data on the following topics: coast length, EEZ area, fisheries production, mangrove forest, seagrasses, coral reefs, marine fish richness, marine turtle nesting, inshore cetaceans, other marine mammals, protected area numbers and extent, institutions and marine convention membership. Oceans cover 71% of the world's surface. They hold a significant proportion of living biomass and play an ill-understood though evidently vital part in regulating climate. Much remains to be discovered about the diversity of life in the seas. It is well known that diversity at the highest taxonomic levels is much greater in the sea than on land or in freshwater, but is has generally been assumed that species diversity is much lower than on land. Recent work indicates that this may not be the case: studies of some marine environments, particularly bottom sediments, show extremely high levels of invertebrate species diversity, the great majority comprising previously unknown species. The seas provide many biological resources used by humans. In the form of marine fisheries they provide by far the most important source of wild protein, a source which is of particular importance to many subsistence communities around the world and which makes use of a wide range of animal species, notably fishes, molluscs and crustaceans. Marine organisms are also proving extremely fruitful sources of pharmaceuticals and other materials used in medicines. More minor although locally important uses include exploitation of coastal resources for building materials and industrial products. Traditionally, all marine resources outside territorial waters (usually up to 12 nautical miles from shore) were considered 'open-access' resources. This covered most of the world's oceans and virtually all deep-sea areas. In the past few decades many open-ocean resources have been gravely depleted leading to the collapse of a number of fisheries, sometimes bringing individuals and nations into conflict. With the introduction of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) under the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which allows nations control over resources (including living resources) in an area up to 200 nautical miles offshore, a far greater proportion of the world's seas now come within the control of individual nations. Access to marine resources is not equitably distributed amongst the world's nations. Most obviously, some 39 states are landlocked, ie. have no seaboard. Those that do have seaboards show great variation in length of coastline, and area of territorial waters and EEZs; they also show great variation in their capacities to exploit marine resources. Table 7 - collates a wide range of data on forests in the tropics, including: forest and woodland area, deforestation, forest cover (from FAO data and digital maps at WCMC), fragmentation, broad description, importance for biodiversity, factors affecting the forest, and area protected. Forests in the tropics, particularly moist forests or rainforests, are widely held to be the most biologically diverse habitats on earth. Correspondingly, loss of these habitats through deforestation or degradation is considered one of the most important conservation problems today. Tropical forests vary enormously in their composition, complexity and diversity. Classifying, categorising and measuring them is an extremely difficult task. There is not even a single, universally accepted definition of what constitutes a forest, let alone a 'swamp forest' or 'cloud forest' or 'monsoon forest' or any of the many other types and classes of forests that have been named. These problems are further compounded when attempts are made to measure changes to forests. It is also apparent that the biological diversity of dry forests has often been under-estimated. Table 8 - provides data on the number and area of national protected areas in each of the UN management categories I-V, and an indication of the total country area under such protection. Most countries have developed systems of protected areas and these make a vital contribution to the conservation of the world's natural and cultural resources. Protected areas can allow maintenance of representative samples of natural habitats and biological diversity; they can, in watershed areas for example, promote environmental stability in adjacent regions; they can allow opportunities for rural development, scientific research and monitoring, conservation education, and for recreation and tourism. The nature and effectiveness of protected area systems vary considerably from one country to another, depending on needs and priorities, and on differences in legislative, institutional and financial support. There are 111 very large protected areas in the world (individual area is greater than 2,000,000 ha). A significant number of these are at high latitudes, particularly in northern boreal and Arctic regions of relatively low species diversity, and are evidently of greater importance in wilderness preservation than in the maintenance of global biological diversity. However, a gratifying number are situated in tropical regions, including northern South America, which appears to have highest known level of regional biological diversity in the world (see Fig. 2). If these protected areas can be adequately managed in the long-term they will undoubtedly play an extremely important role in the maintenance of the global biodiversity estate. Three important types of area have not been included in the UN List. These are those managed for forestry, those managed by or on behalf of indigenous peoples, and those in private ownership. Table 9 - includes estimates of the number in each country of the following kinds of institution: natural history museums, insect and spider museum collections, herbaria, zoos, aquaria, botanic gardens, microorganism culture collections. Systematics - the discovery, description and classification of species - is a discipline with low public profile yet fundamental to human understanding, use and management of biological diversity. The correct identification of experimental material is essential in order to allow results to be corroborated by other researchers. Identification of pests and pathogens to species or strain is essential before control measures can be planned. Identification of discrete fishery stocks allows management to be tuned appropriately. Information on the phylogeny of species allows properties known to exist in one species to be sought after in related species, or permits related species to be investigated for hitherto unknown but possibly useful properties. Systematics collections, eg. preserved plant or animal material, living collections of fishes, trees, or microorganisms, perform several functions. They are a material record of human inventory and understanding of biodiversity; museum specimens are essential if known species are to be classified and new species recognised as new; collections provide material or research guidance for all kinds of applied biology, including medical science and biotechnology; and they serve to raise public awareness of and interest in the living world. Because of their fundamental importance, systematics collections support a wide variety of pure and applied studies and also serve as foci of public interest and concern. Countries most rich in biodiversity are relatively poor in systematics collections; with the exception of USA, all countries with a large number of systematics collections are not rich in biodiversity. Correcting this degree of imbalance, or at least the implied differential availability of expertise, will be necessary if the goals of the Convention on Biodiversity are to be met at a satisfactory level. LANGUAGE: English STATISTICAL INFORMATION: ACCESS AND DISTRIBUTION: WCMC makes information available through published media, through provision of datasets, and through the provision of either standard or customised reports. WCMC is committed to the principle of the free exchange of data with other institutions and users. In so far as is practical, it places its data in the public domain and encourages their wide distribution. However, costs may be incurred in accessing and distributing datasets, and where analysis and assessment provide an added-value service. Such costs are passed on to the user. CONTENTS: Table 1. Country species diversity Table 2. Threatened species Table 3. National Red Data Books Table 4. Major food crops Table 5. Domestic livestock Table 6. Marine resources Table 7. Forests in the tropics Table 8. National protected areas Table 9. Systematics collections Map 1. States Party to the Convention on Biological Diversity Map 2. Countries with highest species diversity Map 3. Countries with national Red Data Books Map 4. World distribution of coral reefs Map 5. States Party to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea Map 6. World distribution of forests in the tropics Map 7. World distribution of protected areas larger than 2 million ha Map 8. Countries with most systematics collections in relation to national biodiversity
Purpose:
Not Available
Supplemental_Information:
Not Available
Status:
Progress: Complete
Maintenance_and_Update_Frequency: As needed
Spatial_Domain:
Description_of_Geographic_Extent:
Bounding_Coordinates:
West_Bounding_Coordinate: -180.0
East_Bounding_Coordinate: 180.0
North_Bounding_Coordinate: 90.0
South_Bounding_Coordinate: -90.0
Keywords:
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Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > AGRICULTURE > AGRICULTURAL AQUATIC SCIENCES > FISHERIES
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > AGRICULTURE > AGRICULTURAL PLANT SCIENCE > CROP/PLANT YIELDS
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > AGRICULTURE > AGRICULTURAL PLANT SCIENCE > CROPPING SYSTEMS
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > AGRICULTURE > ANIMAL SCIENCE > ANIMAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
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Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > BIOSPHERE > VEGETATION > PLANT CHARACTERISTICS
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > BIOSPHERE > VEGETATION > VEGETATION COVER
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > BIOSPHERE > VEGETATION > VEGETATION SPECIES
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > HUMAN DIMENSIONS > HABITAT CONVERSION/FRAGMENTATION > DEFORESTATION > GLOBAL DEFORESTATION
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > HUMAN DIMENSIONS > HABITAT CONVERSION/FRAGMENTATION > REFORESTATION/REVEGETATION > GLOBAL REFORESTATION
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > LAND SURFACE > LAND USE/LAND COVER > LAND COVER
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > LAND SURFACE > LAND USE/LAND COVER > LAND PRODUCTIVITY
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > LAND SURFACE > LAND USE/LAND COVER > LAND RESOURCES
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > OCEANS > COASTAL PROCESSES > CORAL REEFS
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > OCEANS > COASTAL PROCESSES > MANGROVES
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > OCEANS > COASTAL PROCESSES > SHORELINES
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > OCEANS > AQUATIC SCIENCES > FISHERIES
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION > ANIMALS/VERTEBRATES
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION > ANIMALS/VERTEBRATES > AMPHIBIANS
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION > ANIMALS/VERTEBRATES > FISH
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION > ANIMALS/INVERTEBRATES
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION > ANIMALS/INVERTEBRATES > ARTHROPODS > CHELICERATES > ARACHNIDS
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION > ANIMALS/INVERTEBRATES > ARTHROPODS > HEXAPODS > INSECTS
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION > ANIMALS/INVERTEBRATES > ARTHROPODS
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION > ANIMALS/INVERTEBRATES > CNIDARIANS > CORALS
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION > PLANTS
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION > PLANTS > ANGIOSPERMS (FLOWERING PLANTS) > MONOCOTS > SEAGRASS
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > BIOSPHERE > AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS > MARINE HABITAT
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > BIOSPHERE > ECOLOGICAL DYNAMICS > SPECIES/POPULATION INTERACTIONS > ENDANGERED SPECIES
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > BIOSPHERE > ECOLOGICAL DYNAMICS > SPECIES/POPULATION INTERACTIONS > INDIGENOUS/NATIVE SPECIES
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > BIOSPHERE > ECOLOGICAL DYNAMICS > COMMUNITY DYNAMICS > BIODIVERSITY FUNCTIONS
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > BIOSPHERE > ECOLOGICAL DYNAMICS > ECOTOXICOLOGY > BIOAVAILABILITY
Theme_Keyword: GTOS > GLOBAL TERRESTRIAL OBSERVING SYSTEM
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Theme_Keyword: OCEANS
Theme_Keyword: ENGLISH
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Place_Keyword: GEOGRAPHIC REGION > ARCTIC
Place_Keyword: GEOGRAPHIC REGION > GLOBAL
Place_Keyword: GEOGRAPHIC REGION > POLAR
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Use_Constraints:
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City: Cambridge
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Contact_Voice_Telephone: +44-1223-277314
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Logical_Consistency_Report:
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Completeness_Report:
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Process_Date: Unknown
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Spatial_Reference_Information:
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Distribution_Information:
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Contact_Facsimile_Telephone: +44-1223-277136
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Network_Address:
Network_Resource_Name:
http://www.unep-wcmc.org/resources/
Access_Instructions:
Information and access to biodiversity series publications
Fees: Gbp 10 Pounds; Online: Free
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Metadata_Reference_Information:
Metadata_Date:
Metadata_Review_Date: 20090420
Metadata_Contact:
Contact_Information:
Contact_Person_Primary:
Contact_Person: GCMD User Support Office
Contact_Organization: NASA Global Change Master Directory
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Address: Not Available
City: Lanham
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Metadata_Standard_Name: FGDC Content Standards for Digital Geospatial Metadata
Metadata_Standard_Version: FGDC-STD-001-1998
Metadata_Time_Convention: local time
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