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What is a Biodiversity Inventory?

An inventory is basically a complete list of items belonging to a particular person, place or organization. A biodiversity inventory is a list of the biodiversity of a place. Biodiversity inventories are created on multiple spatial scales, from small localities, to national parks, to states or countries and even continents. Biodiversity inventories are almost always inventories of a single taxon (biodiversity group) unless the taxa are closely related, as documentation and creation of an inventory requires knowledge and experience in identification and taxonomy of the taxon (which can take time to develop proficiency in) in consideration and sampling efforts for different taxa are different. Inventories of separate taxa even when undertaken by the same researchers will often be published as separate papers.


Why are inventories necessary? How do they help the cause of biodiversity conservation?

Inventories are some of the most important tools that aid biodiversity conservation. Biodiversity inventories tell us what species exist in an area, this is crucial information that helps to determine the conservation value or significance of an area, i.e. The conservation of biodiversity that will result from protecting the area. Different areas have different types of species and different numbers of species. Certain areas (termed “biodiversity hotspots”) such as the Amazon rainforest can have hundreds of times the number of species per unit area present in them than others. Thus for the sake of conservation it makes more sense to conserve an area having more species than an area having less as the same amount of effort will lead to more species being saved.

When inventories developed at different times are compared you can tell which species have gone extinct from an area and are no longer found there, you can also tell which species have invaded the area from other places.

Thus inventories can be said to be the first step at conservation of biodiversity in an area and is the first step at research relating to conservation.


Simple inventories -

A simple inventory is just a species list indicating what species are found in an area. These are the simplest studies to carry out as data does not have to be collected in a systematic or standardized manner though doing so will result in data being collected that will allow for better quality research and better research papers.  


Other studies that can be undertaken while carrying out an inventory study -


Once a systematic standardized method is utilized for conducting the inventory study additional data such as the number of individuals of each species observed during sampling can also be noted, this can be used to obtain  relative abundance which gives greater insight into the species community structure of the area and various indices for the measurement of biodiversity can be utilized as well.



The procedure for carrying out your own biodiversity inventory



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References -

Guide to the Global Taxonomy Initiative