Geographic information about biodiversity is vital for understanding the many services nature provides and their potential changes, yet remains unreliable and often insufficient. Built on a scalable web platform geared for large biodiversity and environmental data, Map of Life endeavors to provide ‘best-possible’ species distribution information and species lists for any geographic area.
Map of Life, the flagship initiative of the BGC, aims to support effective and global biodiversity education, monitoring, research and decision-making by assembling and integrating a wide range of knowledge about species distributions and their dynamics over time.
Curating, cleaning, and compiling global biodiversity data
We ingest biodiversity data from varied sources, which we clean and harmonize to a set taxonomic standard, then mobilize following FAIR data sharing principles. This is the foundation of Map of Life - using these data, we produce high resolution species projections and analytics which are visualized on accessible, informative dashboards.
High resolution (1-kilometer) global species distribution models
We are producing a suite of high-resolution (~1 km2) standardized species distribution models for vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants. These models are particularly useful for conservation decision-makers, trend analyses, and as a benchmark for further species distribution modeling development. These models are well suited to support 30x30 conservation decision-making.
Conservation metrics: from single species to national aggregates
Supported by the infrastructure and biodiversity data of the Map of Life platform, we maintain annually-updated biodiversity indicators – the Species Habitat, Protection, and Information Indices – for thousands of vertebrate species around the world, and we provide national-level reporting for all countries by aggregating these species level scores. Our indicators have been formally adopted by the Global Biodiversity Monitoring Framework. Indicator computation is supported by Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs) which are measurements of biodiversity at scales relevant decision making.
We integrate the biodiversity data from the Map of Life with other environmental and socioeconomic factors to provide cost-effective conservation strategies through a high-resolution prioritization approach, which protects species from potential threats while minimizing the financial cost and land required for biodiversity conservation. Our approach also incorporates other ecosystem services benefits and diverse cultural values to promote inclusive conservation practices.
Areas of interest
Species expectations for any national, subnational, or local area on Earth
Based on the suite of spatial biodiversity data and species distributions models compiled and developed on the Map of Life platform, we can generate species expectations for any region on Earth - from a single protected area or national park to whole country. These species lists come with a variety of associated species trait and conservation status data, providing our users, like reserve managers and other conservation practitioners, with detailed information about the biodiversity within their area of interest and its importance and uniqueness within a global context.
Linking our global species data to future land use change projections, we evaluate potential losses in species suitable habitats and extinction risk under different development scenarios for thousands of terrestrial vertebrate species.