Author: Dr Lesley Gibson, Node Leader, Biodiversity Survey
One of the key messages from users of biodiversity information is the need to make biodiversity surveys more efficient so that decisions regarding land management can be made in a timelier manner, but also with less uncertainty.
There are a number of relevant tools that are increasingly becoming available. Electronic platforms that enhance our capacity to identify organisms are one such example; such as, an e-Flora of Western Australia.
The development of an e-Flora for Western Australia, or perhaps one for a region such as the Pilbara, would make information on plants readily available to conservation managers, consultants, industry and the community in a format that is appropriate for multiple uses. For example, it can be used for the identification of species, recording images, distribution maps, descriptions as well as notes on habitat, ecology and conservation status including more broadly, an e-Flora can be incorporated into a much larger Vegetation Information System which could collate multiple resources into an electronic platform delivering fit-for-purpose products such as a vegetation map of a defined area, and potentially for the whole of WA.
There are a diverse range of other technologies that could be better utilised for the efficient capture of biodiversity information such as the use of UAVs (or drones) to characterise landscapes, and molecular techniques such as e-DNA and barcoding to facilitate species or community identification.
All of these would contribute towards addressing multiple end user defined knowledge gaps and WABSI is exploring possibilities with end user and research partners to develop projects in all of these areas.
Editor: Preeti Castle