The biodiversity data knowledge gap: assessing information loss in the management of Biosphere Reserves

Autores: Pino del Carpio, Andrea; Ariño Plana, Arturo; Villarroya Ballarín, Ana; Puig i Baguer, Jordi; Miranda Ferreiro, Rafael
ISSN: 0006-3207
Volumen: 173
Páginas: 74 - 79
Fecha de publicación: 2014
The knowledge of biodiversity within an area is vital if we want to develop adequate conservation strategies. Biosphere Reserves are purposefully established for the sustainable use of their resources, and therefore their biodiversity should be well known. We compared and evaluated information available for Mexican Biosphere Reserves on threatened and non-threatened vertebrate species records from three different sources ¿ the corresponding Biosphere Reserves management plans (MPs), the Global Biodiversity Information Facility index (GBIF), and scientific literature, in order to find potential knowledge gaps. Our results suggest that there were varying gaps in information among sources according to vertebrate group. For each group of vertebrate species, management plans held the largest subsets of information but were not complete, ranging from 89.6% of the combined known species of birds to 70% for amphibians and freshwater fishes. However, both GBIF and literature included data absent from MPs, and GBIF included data not otherwise available, proving it as important as literature or other data sources (e.g. field data) used for crafting such plans. Moreover, we found references to threatened species that were not listed in the MPs, reaching to as many as 50% of the total known species of fish. Species information shared by all three sources ranged from 28% for amphibians to 72.5% for birds. Conservation efforts should therefore take into account that possibly less charismatic taxa such as amphibians, reptiles and freshwater fish lack more information than birds or mammals. The disparity observed in the vertebrate species information constitutes an information gap that could (or should) be solved by scientists and managers alike.