Provision of baseline biodiversity data for conservation planning of Sperrgebiet National Park
The Namibian Biodiversity Database originated as a project of the Biosystematics Working Group under the National Biodiversity Programme, aiming to fulfil Namibia's obligations under Article 17 of the Convention on Biological Diversity. It is positioned to become the definitive repository for Namibian biogeospatial data, and already houses 16 800 species names, and more than 15 000 distribution records. Continuity is ensured through local partnership with both the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the National Botanical Research Institute, and international affiliation with the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). Though government supported (through office and server space), it receives no government funding. The only currently active funding is from GBIF, with the expected output being a definitive list of Namibian insects and arachnids. The input of biogeospatial data is essentially not funded at present.
Biogeospatial data are an essential part of conservation planning, indeed, all land use management. Put simply: you need to know what biodiversity there is before you can start thinking of managing it. Traditionally, conservation management has been mainly concerned with vertebrates. The Sperrgebiet is not 'Big Five' country, though: its biodiversity allure lies with its endemic and range-restricted plants and invertebrates. While the Sperrgebiet flora has received its fair share of attention in the recent past, there exists no summary of the past 120 years of zoological work in the area. This project seeks to leverage existing structures in the Biodiversity Database in order to fill this gap, and thereby ensure that conservation planning in the future Sperrgebiet National Park takes place in the most information-rich environment possible.
The main aim of the project is to expand the Namibian Biodiversity and land use management planning. Existing information in the Sperrgebiet is scattered among large numbers of publications that are sometimes obscure, difficult to obtain, or not generally known. This project is consolidating these disparate sources into one place and developing and updating the Namibian Environmental Directory so as to stimulate networking and information sharing in environmental and EE programmes and projects around the country.
Project activities and outputs
Data input from known published sources with high Sperrgebiet content, including 'grey literature' (e.g. environment impact assessment reports). The result will be a significant improvement in Namibia Biodiversity Database data coverage for the Sperrgebiet, above the very small amount that is there at present
Sperrgebiet National Park
Budget and duration
The project received N$50 000 from the SKEP small grants programme. The project started in August 2005 and will last for approximately six months.
Dr. John Irish and Dr. Gillian Maggs-Kölling
Namibia Biodiversity Database, in partnership with the National Botanical Research Institute of Namibia
PO Box 21148, Windhoek
Tel: 061 2022038; Fax: 061 258153