What is a Biodiversity Information System

A biodiversity information system takes biodiversity observation records that are stored in a variety of sources and formats and puts them into a standardized format on a viewing platform to enable stakeholders to access and use the information. Biodiversity data for Rwanda have been scattered and difficult to access, but are critical to understanding patterns of biodiversity distribution, ecosystem functioning, and early detection of environmental change. Species records can provide indication of climate change impacts, pollution effects, and guide development, land use planning, tourism opportunities, and monitoring of restoration efforts. An information system puts data at your fingertips for national reporting requirement needs like the CBD and NDC.   The system effectively links research to conservation and policy.

With funding from the JRS Biodiversity Foundation https://jrsbiodiversity.org/ we are developing the first national biodiversity information system for Rwanda.  We call it the Rwanda Biodiversity Information System or RBIS. Thanks to generous collaboration from data holders who graciously shared their data sets, including independent researchers, NGOs and government institutions, we have already mobilized more than 30,000 biodiversity data records.

We begin the RBIS with a focus on biodiversity data in freshwater ecosystems. We have mobilized data on odonates, anurans, and birds, thanks to the generous data sharing by data holders.  Our aim is to demonstrate the power of the RBIS to inform wetlands and catchment management using biodiversity data to indicate ecosystem health.  We will eventually scale the RBIS up to include all ecosystems in Rwanda.

When you enter the Explore button, you will see the base map of Rwanda and you can begin to explore and query the system for information.  We hope you find this resource valuable and we welcome your feedback.

All issues are public and available through Github