By Hana Namrouqa – Jun 11,2018

AMMAN — Researchers, students and the public at large have been given access to an online database linked to a web mapping application that provides facts and figures on over 2,000 species of Jordan’s fauna and flora, the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) announced.

Reports, publications and distribution maps of plants, birds and animals of Jordan are now available to the public under the recently-launched Biodiversity Information Management System (BIMS) via its website:

The RSCN created the BIMS under the four-year “Integrating Biodiversity in the Tourism Sector” project, which began in 2014 in cooperation with the Global Environment Facility and the UN Development Programme, according to the RSCN.

The database has always been available for internal use, according to Natalia Boulad, head of RSCN’s GIS unit, who said that it has been documenting results of reports and studies at the society’s nature reserves, and provided information on the country’s fauna and flora for scientific usage.

“We recently decided to have data on Jordan’s biodiversity available for everyone, be they researchers, students, companies conducting environment impact assessments or the public at large,” Boulad told The Jordan Times on Sunday.

The BIMS is developed to become a useful tool for anyone interested in biodiversity, ranging from students and researchers to decision makers, according to the database’s website, which indicated that it provides a big set of reports and other publications related to Jordan’s biodiversity in general, and to the projects’ sites and other protected areas, with appropriate GIS and web-based IT systems in addition to Wildlife Species Database.

The system also includes a strong search tool that enables users to find the information they are looking for, with content on Jordan’s biodiversity in facts and figures, library and media library, protected areas, Petra, Rum and Jerash study areas, Jordan’s Journal of Natural History, National Conservation Monitoring Centre and maps, the official said.

“The lack of information management system at the national level has hampered the use of biodiversity data in several activities, including environmental impact assessment, land use planning, public and academic research and eco-tourism industry among other sphere,” the RSCN indicated, adding “this shortage of data accessibility was identified as one of the main issues identified on the national and institutional levels.”

Boulad indicated that the number of plant species recorded under the system stands at 2,482 species, while the number of faunal species currently stands at 736.

“The database will be regularly updated to include newly-recorded species or track changes,” she highlighted.