Wildlife Conservation Society – REBIOMA (2011)

Madagacar Biodiversity Data Sharing

Project Details

Grant Amount: $200,000
Contact: Dimby Razafimpahanana
Contact Email: rebioma 'atsign' rebioma.net
Funding Dates: 7/1/11 - 9/30/13

UPDATE: JRS awarded follow-up grant to continue the work of the project. Please click here to view. 


Madagascar is biodiversity data rich, but data access is poor. Biodiversity data are integral to conservation, monitoring, and protected area establishment, but only if data are available, sufficiently accurate, and provided in a manner that accounts for Madagascar’s high rate of species discovery and taxonomic revisions. REBIOMA provides freely-accessible high quality data in an online system designed to meet these challenges. Many of this project’s objectives reflect an emphasis on publishing marine biodiversity data and marine conservation planning to support the Government of Madagascar’s efforts to identify new marine protected areas.

Key Objectives and Activities

  • Extend the REBIOMA data portal to include a marine database and implement marine species distribution models to support conservation planning.
  • Improve data quality by establishing a marine Taxonomic Review Board (TRB) and develop additional tools to improve functioning of both marine and terrestrial TRBs.
  • Build in-country technical capacity and foster conservation leadership for long-term sustainability.

Planned Outputs and Outcomes

It is anticipated that this project will result in numerous positive conservation outcomes in Madagascar and beyond. Such outcomes include: significant new sources of biodiversity data discovered and published online; tools for online biodiversity data sharing and an online species model database; capacity building on biodiversity data quality and use in species distribution modeling and conservation planning; research to support new and existing protected areas in Madagascar; and proposal of new methods for analyzing biodiversity.

Results to Date

  • Number of records added to the database: 120,860 records
  • Number of records reviewed: 86,053 reviewed records
  • Number of members added to the Taxonomic Review Boards (TRB): 34 members
  • Number of taxa (at highest taxonomic level) added to the TA (Taxonomy Authority): 32 taxonomic groups
  • During a training on Spatial Information and Biodiversity provided by CIRAD[1] in September,[2] a trainer used REBIOMA data and information from the data portal (http://data.rebioma.net) and from the web portal (http://www.rebioma.net) to prepare his course and as supporting materials for the training.

Lessons Learned

From experience over the past years of the project, the project team learned that the impact on the data collection and training of stakeholders is more relevant when they went directly to contact regional/local institutions and its members instead of inviting a limited number of representative to come to a national workshop.

Primary Software Platforms

  • Database Management System (DBMS): PostgreSQL, MySQL, MS Access, MS Excel
  • Application development Tools: Google Web Toolkit, Eclipse, SVN (SubVersion)
  • Geographic Information System: ArcGIS, QGIS
  • Species Distribution Modeling: MaxEnt (Maximum Entropy)
  • Conservation Planning: MARXAN and ZONATION
  • Data capturing: BRAHMS

Related Publications

Brown, J., & Yoder, A. (2015). Shifting ranges and conservation challenges for lemurs in the face of climate change. Ecology and Evolution, 5(6), 1131-1142. doi:10.1002/ece3.1418

Notes from JRS

It is no surprise that the JRS focus upon biodiversity knowledge and Africa would lead us to Madagascar. This grant aimed to build the marine data holdings, taxonomic review capacity and internal capacity at REBIOMA to support important government actions in defining marine protecting areas. The project team has been very successful at building data holdings, managing taxonomic reviews, and creating online decision tools.  In this project period, the data server was installed in Madagascar and data was migrated from the University of California Berkeley server to the Malagasy facility. Unfortunately, Madagascar has been ruled by a transitional government since 2009 which has significantly delayed use of the REBIOMA data for national conservation planning.  We hope that the upcoming elections in December 2013 will lead to a peaceful transition to an elected government that is able to utilize the data and portal developed with support of JRS and other donors.

Last Updated: February 28th, 2017

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Which are your primary communications interest?