Contribution of citizen science towards international biodiversity monitoring

Last modified: 
December 13, 2019 - 8:45pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2017
Date published: 09/2017
Authors: Mark Chandler, Linda See, Kyle Copas, Astrid Bonde, Bernat López, Finn Danielsen, Jan Legind, Siro Masinde, Abraham Miller-Rushing, Greg Newman, Alyssa Rosemartin, Eren Turak
Journal title: Biological Conservation
Volume: 213
Pages: 280 - 294
ISSN: 00063207

To meet collective obligations towards biodiversity conservation and monitoring, it is essential that the world's governments and non-governmental organisations as well as the research community tap all possible sources of data and information, including new, fast-growing sources such as citizen science (CS), in which volunteers participate in some or all aspects of environmental assessments. Through compilation of a database on CS and community-based monitoring (CBM, a subset of CS) programs, we assess where contributions from CS and CBM are significant and where opportunities for growth exist. We use the Essential Biodiversity Variable framework to describe the range of biodiversity data needed to track progress towards global biodiversity targets, and we assess strengths and gaps in geographical and taxonomic coverage. Our results show that existing CS and CBM data particularly provide large-scale data on species distribution and population abundance, species traits such as phenology, and ecosystem function variables such as primary and secondary productivity. Only birds, Lepidoptera and plants are monitored at scale. Most CS schemes are found in Europe, North America, South Africa, India, and Australia. We then explore what can be learned from successful CS/CBM programs that would facilitate the scaling up of current efforts, how existing strengths in data coverage can be better exploited, and the strategies that could maximise the synergies between CS/CBM and other approaches for monitoring biodiversity, in particular from remote sensing. More and better targeted funding will be needed, if CS/CBM programs are to contribute further to international biodiversity monitoring.

Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
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