Australian Systematic Botany Australian Systematic Botany Society
Taxonomy, biogeography and evolution of plants

Just Accepted

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Evaluating the progress and needs of taxonomy since the Convention on Biological Diversity. Going beyond the rate of species description

Elise Tancoigne , Guillaume Ollivier


There is a long tradition of assessing the activity and progress of taxonomy with quantitative indicators: number of taxonomists, of species described, collected, etc.These evaluations play a key role in the context of a worldwide concern over biodiversity and its governance. We describe and analyze them since 1992, the year in which the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was adopted. We show that despite the establishment of a dedicated body inside the CBD (the Global Taxonomy Initiative), these quantitative evaluations are mostly sporadic and independent initiatives, performed by non-taxonomists authors. They do not map the places where most of the taxonomic activities take place. They are performed on small scales, with scarce and heterogeneous sources of data; making comparisons almost impossible. Most of the indicators they use refer to the activity of species description. We argue that there is a need to rethink the way we evaluate taxonomy today and discuss why it is urgent to move beyond indicators on species description. We suggest the use of a new set of indicators that would focus on taxonomic resources and dynamics, instead of taxonomic outputs.

SB16017  Accepted 25 August 2017

© CSIRO 2017