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Citizen science campaign launched to fill vital data gaps

21 May 2019
I Naturalist 11 Web Use


The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (RBGK), Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN) have launched a citizen science project which will improve our knowledge of flowering plant diversity in four countries - Ethiopia, India, Indonesia and Turkey. These four countries are extremely rich in plant species but lacking in data, making it difficult to ensure threatened plants are protected from extinction.

The campaign will be run through iNaturalist, a citizen science platform with over 1 million users around the world. The photos submitted will be identified by expert botanists and volunteer naturalists. The data will then be used by Royal Botanic Gardens and other research institutes to expand their knowledge of plant diversity in these four countries.

The campaign forms part of the wider Nature Map Earth Initiative – developed by IIASA, UNEP-WCMC, RBGK and UNSDSN which will develop integrated maps on biodiversity, carbon and other ecosystem values to inform the development of the post-2020 UN Biodiversity Framework.

Xavier de Lamo, who is leading the work on behalf of UNEP-WCMC said: ” Successful conservation action rely on scientific evidence collected in research. However, the availability of this information is unevenly distributed across the world, with significant data gaps in species-rich tropics. We hope that the results of this campaign contribute to address this gap and improve our knowledge of flowering plant species distribution in some of the most plant species rich countries in the world.”

For more information on how you can get involved, please visit the NatureMap-plants project page on iNaturalist, or search for @unepwcmc on Twitter.