Species checklists are a key component for all biodiversity information systems, as they are needed for exchanging and integrating biodiversity information for many activities, scientific and otherwise. Within these checklists, there must be validated nomenclatural data organized according to coherent taxonomic standards. A problem lies herein that the vast majority of Latin American and Caribbean countries lack documentation in their native language to compile local or national species checklists. As a result, we currently have fragmented information without common standards, which makes it hard to compile regional lists, limiting research and conservation actions within the region.
This project will build on the experiences from the GBIF nodes of Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Chile and Brazil, with the associations CyTeD and Andino NET, to conduct a regional project defining consensus procedures for the development of national species checklists. A focus will be placed on achieving compatibility of databases with existing ones. Aiming a for a broad coverage of users, outcomes will be published in Spanish, Portuguese and English. Through a programme to “train the trainers”, knowledge gained from capacity dissemination events can be replicated to national and specific contexts. Additionally, a pilot checklist dataset per country will be published in the GBIF data network.
Since the start of the project, monthly virtual meetings have been held between the partners to discuss different issues of the checklist. Through these discussions, the size and variety of areas that influence both the performance and quality of a checklist has been recognized, and work towards developing a checklist, testing a protocol and producing a series of procedures to generate a checklist, continues.
For the second half of the project a regional event is being organized and is scheduled for March 2019. This event, to be attended by GBIF national nodes, associations of the Latin American and Caribbean region and a representative of the Biodiversity National System of National Council of Protected Areas -CONAP of Guatemala, will provide an opportunity to hear about participants’ experiences in developing checklists, together with providing a forum to share tools and skills to use in this work. Main discussions points will include defining and agreeing procedures for developing national species checklists, defining the specific requirements and identifying key components that will allow interoperable checklists to be developed. It is also expected that each national node will define their own potential checklist to be published.