Project BioD

A Single Source of Zoological Truth in Bangladesh

Professor Bidhan Chandra Das of Rajshahi University, Bangladesh

Professor Bidhan Chandra Das of Rajshahi University, Bangladesh

In a paper titled “Conserving the zoological resources of Bangladesh under a changing climate,” the author, Professor Bidhan Chandra Das of Rajshahi University, Bangladesh, has stressed on the lack of “… a single consolidated account of animal species. Data is particularly deficient for invertebrate groups of animals. Previous research has made use of archaic records published in the last century (see Das 2004).”

“It is now necessary,” he writes, “to lift the status of zoological issues, as they apply to the conservation and management of Bangladesh’s natural resources under a changing climate. A single account of the zoological resources of this important country under threat from climate change needs to be generated.”

Further on, Dr. Das states “Scientific study into the taxonomy and systematics of the fauna of Bangladesh is perhaps the most neglected area of zoological research in this country. To date, we have very little idea about what we do and do not have.”

Project BioD is currently working in association with a panel of experts with deep expertise in plant, animal and fungal kingdoms of Bangladesh. The immediate aim is to generate an exhaustive document listing all the extant sources of Bangladesh biodiversity information. Preliminary work suggests that most of the verified information is available in text format – be it in the Encyclopaedia of Flora and Fauna of Bangladesh (28 Volumes) or in peer reviewed journals. This document is expected to shine a light on location, quantity and type of information storage method (text or digital) of biodiversity data of Bangladesh.

Interestingly, Prof. Das also talks of the importance of Ecosystem Mapping to help with resource management and planning given the potential implications of climate change on the faunal diversity and distribution.
Project BioD has drawn a road map – starting from digitization or transcription of species distribution records (both via volunteer transcription services or OCR techniques), and progressing to geo-referencing the records; and, finally, helping build a public participatory biodiversity portal.

Ensuring a geo-referenced portal with active public participation may seem daunting, but we are fortunate to be living in the perfect time. There may be no Alfred Russel Wallace and Henry Bates collecting insect specimens in the Amazon rainforest, but there are thousands of eager citizens armed with their mobile phones and technologies that enable them to work collectively and cooperatively to make a geo-referenced biodiversity portal a reality.

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