Unblocking the Flow of Biodiversity Data for Multi-Stakeholder Environmental Sustainability Management

What are the biodiversity data needs of international organizations, governments, civil society and business?

Project Summary

The conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity is essential for the well-being of people and nature. However, governments, businesses and conservation organisations struggle to acquire the up-to-date information they need to manage and protect animals, plants, fungi and their habitats. Biodiversity data, such as the abundance and distribution of species and the scale of the threats they face, are often difficult to collect or access and are rarely available in formats that allow them to be understood easily and acted upon.

Solutions proposed to unblock the flow of biodiversity information include the development of guidelines and tools for collecting, analysing and interpreting data, and building capacity for their use. However, for such solutions to be developed, it is important to understand better the blockages preventing people from accessing the information they need.

This multi-disciplinary, collaborative project brings together experts from conservation biology and business sustainability to explore the following research questions

  • What are the biodiversity data needs of international organizations, governments, civil society and business?
  • What factors curtail biodiversity monitoring and data access?
  • What solutions are needed to unblock the flow of biodiversity data and enhance its use decision-making and how can an online decision support tool help?

Methods to be employed include a systematic literature review and online questionnaire surveys of key data users and analyses of existing data sources. The project’s partners will also undertake “deep-dives” (semi-structured individual and focus group interviews) into the issues around biodiversity data access in three countries: Colombia, Ghana and Switzerland.

These case studies can help uncover the root causes of data access problems and identify solutions for those who need them in government departments, international organisations, NGOs and businesses. Working with Information Technology experts a user-friendly, open-access decision support tool will be developed. It will help stakeholders find the standards, guidelines, tools, methods and data they need.

The project will enhance and complement global efforts by international organisations like IUCN and GEOBON to share and publicise data sources and make existing tools and data freely available. It will contribute to ensuring biodiversity data are used in environmental decision-making and ultimately help halt biodiversity loss.

Research Team

Luca Fumagalli 
University of Lausanne

Peter J. Stephenson
University of Lausanne


Judith L. Walls
Principal Member
University of St-Gallen

Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu
Principal Member
Center for African Wetlands, University of Ghana

Maria Cecilia Londoño Murcia
Principal Member
Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt & GEOBON





Policy domains


Host Institution