To develop effective conservation strategies, identify genuine recording gaps, and monitor real changes in our flora we need to ensure that Irish plant data is collated and made centrally available. In 2012 the National Biodiversity Data Centre started an important new project to centralise vascular plant data in Ireland.
At the end of 2011 640,000 vascular plant records were available through Biodiversity Maps. Of these 99% are at 2km2 resolution or better, and 90% have been contributed by the Botanical Society of the British Isles. It is expected that by the end of 2012 this figure will have doubled by sourcing additional data from NGO’s, state bodies, academia, and individuals.
Data is collected at considerable time, expense, and expertise; often in a voluntary capacity. In the current climate, more than ever before, we need to ensure that we use data effectively. Data always belongs to the providers, but by collating and centralising Irish data we can all be better prepared to address the future challenges that Irish plants face.
There are gaps in our knowledge of the Irish flora. Some geographic areas are well recorded and others are not. As part of this initiative, we want to encourage plant recording and provide support for those who want to increase their expertise. We have launched two recording initiatives for 2012:
- Take the tetrad challenge and help us update or improve our knowledge of what vascular plants are known from your area.
- We are also delighted to collaborate with Wildflowers of Ireland www.wildflowersofireland.net to launch monthly recording cards which have lists of the wildflowers likely to be observed each month, along with tips for their identification.
For full information see our new website at: http://vascularplants.biodiversityireland.ie