ESEP 17:29-35 (2017)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esep00175

OPINION PIECE
Open data and the future of conservation biology

Antonios D. Mazaris*

Department of Ecology, School of Biology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The efficiency of conservation measures largely depends on our ability to understand numerous biotic and abiotic factors, and the broad array of their interactions and dependencies, which are often scale-sensitive. To generate precise evidence for causes, outputs and processes, and thus to translate knowledge into conservation actions, advanced methods and an unbiased synthesis of data are required. Following scientific advances, along with the support of new technologies, research questions in conservation biology have gradually evolved. To deal with these questions, new methods and approaches have been developed aiming to capture a more holistic picture of the dynamic and multidimensional processes structuring biodiversity patterns. Such modern methodological tools can be satisfied through the use of transparent and credible data, collected over various spatial and temporal scales. Here, the basic concept behind recent methodological advances—viz. (1) decision support tools for spatial conservation planning, (2) cumulative effect assessments and (3) ecological niche models—which offer innovative analyses for conservation of biodiversity, is briefly presented. The need for standardized analytical methodologies seems to be properly acknowledged. Yet, the application, precision and validation of any such modern tool largely depend on the available data. The need for transparent and credible open-access data is more urgent than ever.


KEY WORDS: Biological diversity · Protection · Systematic planning · Cumulative impact assessments · International collaborations · Global networks


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Cite this article as: Mazaris AD (2017) Open data and the future of conservation biology. Ethics Sci Environ Polit 17:29-35. https://doi.org/10.3354/esep00175

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