In 2011-2013, Plant Conservation Action group (PCA) initiated a project with the Seychelles National Herbarium (SEY) to digitize the Herbarium collections and species occurrence data from literature, allowing to define 75 Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs). This became known as the KBA-Herbarium database and has now evolved into a National Biodiversity Database called Bio. Since 2013, ongoing projects led by PCA members have developed Smartphone tools to collect biodiversity data. As a consequence, the database has grown from 23,000 to 48,000 records.
We would like to use these new data to update the KBA assessment using international guidelines. We also want to include the ecosystem criteria which are particularly important to fine tune the delineation of KBAs. Considering that many KBAs are overlapping with privately owned land parcels, and that the Government of Seychelles is currently developing Nomination Files to raise some KBAs to a protection status, an internationally recognized assessment will be essential for discussion with all stakeholders.
In addition, this grant is an opportunity to formally share our data on species occurrences with GBIF, securing data ownership while facilitate sharing of our data beyond the Seychelles.
Impacts of the activities planned under this project will include:
- Published datasets on GBIF for species occurrence and sampling-event data
- First Red List of Ecosystems (RLE) for the Western Indian Ocean using IUCN criteria
- First KBA assessment done in the Western Indian Ocean using international guidelines
- Awareness materials, including a booklet and a filmed documentary to popularize the knowledge developed for decision-makers, conservation planners and other stakeholders
- Greater opportunities for international collaboration
- Establish a GBIF Participant Node for the Seychelles
The project established contact with partners and the Government regarding the creation of a National Node and several presentations, meetings and discussions have been done with Government authorities. The Seychelles National Herbarium is now registered on GBIF.
The next steps will involve the organization of a workshop to share the results, and to discuss the ecosystem Red List and National species Red List, as well as the delineation and status of the KBAs. Results will then be shared more widely, and trainings will be organized to share some of the tools developed.
One dataset has been published, for vegetation plots until now, but more is to come in 2022 and the plan is to publish data on species occurrences, and an additional dataset for a checklist of the vascular plants of Seychelles.