, Volume 8, Issue 6, pp 727-751

Testing the use of specimen collection data and GIS in biodiversity exploration and conservation decision making in Guyana

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This paper presents the results of a study conducted at the request of the Government of Guyana by the Centre for the Study of Biological Diversity at the University of Guyana, and the Smithsonian Institution. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the utility of using systematic collections in identifying areas with a high priority for conservation. A biodiversity database and a gazetteer were assembled and interpreted primarily through the use of maps generated in ARC/INFO and ArcView. The data were examined to determine coverage and completeness, and while in general the results support a continued use of the methodology for making informed decisions in conservation related issues, several recommendations are offered in order to enhance the data. The primary use of the results of this study is in the identification of areas of interest for conservation and in the location of eleven areas covering most ecoregions in Guyana that are in need of additional study. The eleven areas have been chosen to avoid areas that are already allocated to logging and mining concessions or Amerindian lands. While it is true that this study would benefit from additional data and further analysis of those data, it is also true that decisions concerning areas for conservation in Guyana are being made in the near future, and if any data are to be used in this process, it will be those data presented in this paper.