4.02.01 - Resource data in the tropics


Sheila Ward, United States


Hans Jürgen Boehmer, Germany

Wan Rasidah Kadir, Malaysia

Gillian Petrokofsky, United Kingdom

Jenny Wong, United Kingdom

About Unit

This working party is currently focused on the discovery, curation, and use of legacy tropical forest datasets.

We invite all who are interested to join our mailing list at https://lists.iufro.org/mailman/listinfo/wp40201/ for discussion of these and related topics.

State of Knowledge

Legacy Tropical Forest Datasets

Much legacy data for tropical forests, including inventory and plot data, are in danger of being lost. Many tropical forest projects over the years have generated data, but the information is scattered among different institutions and people, some still only on paper, some digitized but in older formats.

These legacy datasets are invaluable for understanding how tropical forests change through time, including the cumulative impacts of land use and climate, and changes in patterns of biodiversity. change in land use and climate, and changes in patterns of biodiversity and carbon storage. Many of the forests represented in historical datasets no longer exist, so these data are the only record of the natural vegetation of the area.

There is also a need to develop a set of standard descriptive metadata, or a metadata scheme, for describing these datasets. This would assist not only with recovering and describing old data sets, but also ensure that future datasets can be consistently described and that their loss can be avoided in the future.

The first step is to review datasets referred to in older meta databases (e.g., ATROFI-UK and TROPIS) to determine if they are still available, and if they are in need of updated electronic curation. We are also reaching out via electronic media and networks, to find additional legacy tropical datasets and information on these studies. The next steps will be to develop an updated metadatabase regarding these datasets, develop with stakeholders policy on ownership and appropriate use, seek funding, and electronically curate such datasets.

We welcome your participating in this project!