Despite 250 years of scientific explorations since 1774, when members of Capt. James Cook's second voyage collected the first plant specimens from the archipelago he named the New Hebrides, the small island nation now known as Vanuatu still has neither a comprehensive flora nor a taxonomic checklist. Only 70 of its 1,400 plant species appear on the IUCN Red List, and data on the plants, animals, invasive species and protected areas of Vanuatu are fragmented and scattered.
Today, Vanuatu's government agencies collaborate with specialists from around the world to study the islands' biodiversity, as mobilizing biodiversity data at national level is the best way to make it available for environmental policies.
The VaBiDa project aims to organize and share three kinds of data:
Specimen data from herbaria
Invasive species data
Data on protected areas
The project will also mobilize biodiversity data for IUCN status conservation assessments.
In addition to the seven partners directly involved in the project, VaBiDa will engage governmental agencies and NGOs active in biodiversity and conservation as local partners to participate in VaBiDa meetings and trainings to mobilize new biodiversity data from Vanuatu.