ASEAN Biodiversity Dashboard: real-time conservation information at your fingertips
Conserving and protecting our valuable biological resources entails relevant, up-to-date biodiversity data and knowledge that are accessible and reliable.
To celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity, or Biodiversity Day on 22 May, the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) launched the ASEAN Biodiversity Dashboard, an online platform that presents biodiversity trends, status, and indicators in an interactive and visual format. With biodiversity information shared between and among the ASEAN Member States and the ACB, as well as data from the ASEAN Clearing-House Mechanism and trusted global sources, the Dashboard aims to inform and contribute to science-based decision- and policy-making processes in the region.
“We cannot protect or conserve what we do not know,” Dr. Arvin C. Diesmos, Director of the ACB Biodiversity Information Management (BIM) Unit emphasised. “Thus, it is important that the policymakers are informed and are knowledgeable on the current state of the biological resources of their country or the region in general.”
The ASEAN Biodiversity Dashboard is designed for ease of use and navigation so that users such as policymakers and the general public are able to better visualise the status and challenges being faced by the region’s web of life. The Biodiversity Data page features several biodiversity data categories, including the distribution and state of species in the region. Through the Dashboard, users can look for vulnerable areas that need conservation, as well as the extent of protected areas and their interconnection.
The Dashboard’s features are also particularly relevant as the ASEAN region gears up toward the finalisation and eventual implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework which is composed of 21 targets and 10 milestones. Through time-series indicators, the platform can help track the implementation of these targets and streamline reporting and assessment processes both at national and regional scales.
During the launch, Dr. Diesmos showed the various features of the Dashboard and briefly demonstrated how to use it. With organised tabs and menus, users are effortlessly directed to the information they need such as biodiversity data, indicator trends, country profiles, and time animations. Maps were designed to show species occurrences in specific areas such as ASAN Heritage Parks, protected areas, or other key biodiversity areas. Other critical information such as forest and mangrove cover, human population, annual changes in human footprint, fire alerts, and biodiversity habitat index can also be visualised through the layered maps in the Dashboard.
“The dashboard is very user-friendly, and students from high school to college can easily navigate through it,” Dr. Diesmos said. “For example, if you want to see how the forest cover of your country changed through time, the dashboard has a “time animation” feature which will easily visualise the increase or decline of forest cover in your country from 1990 to 2020.”
Dr. Theresa Mundita S. Lim, ACB Executive Director, stressed the importance of raising people’s awareness on the challenges that biodiversity face and why up-to-date biodiversity information is necessary for informed and science-based decision- and policymaking.
“By having the means to measure and approximate the state and health of our ecosystems and species, we can develop concrete and more practical solutions and actions towards achieving, not just our national targets, but contribute to regional, and to a more ambitious global biodiversity targets.”
The ASEAN Biodiversity Dashboard is a collaboration between the ACB and NatureServe, supported by the European Union through the Biodiversity Conservation and Management of Protected Areas in ASEAN project, with technical inputs from regional experts convened through an Informal Advisory Group.
The knowledge platform can be accessed at http://dashboard.aseanbiodiversity.org/.
Click the link for the full video of the event: