Open Access News

News from the open access movement


Friday, July 11, 2008

More on OA to promote conservation

Veerle Van den Eynden, Michael P. Oatham, and Winston Johnson, How free access web-based electronic resources benefit biodiversity and conservation research Trinidad and Tobago's endemic plants and their conservation status, Oryx, July 2008.  Only this abstract is free online, at least so far:

Botanists have been urged to help assess the conservation status of all known plant species. For resource-poor and biodiversity-rich countries such assessments are scarce because of a lack of, and access to, information. However, the wide range of biodiversity and geographical resources that are now freely available on the internet, together with local herbarium data, can provide sufficient information to assess the conservation status of plants. Such resources were used to review the vascular plant species endemic to Trinidad and Tobago and to assess their conservation status. Fifty-nine species were found to be endemic, much lower than previously stated. Using the IUCN Red List criteria 18 endemic species were assessed as Critically Endangered, 16 as Endangered, 15 as Vulnerable, three as Near Threatened, and three as Data Deficient (i.e. insufficient data are available to assess their conservation status). Although such rapid assessments cannot replace in depth research, they provide essential baseline information to target research and conservation priorities and identify specific conservation actions.

Thanks to Kevin Zelnio for the alert and for blogging this excerpt inaccessible to me:

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.