Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 1195–1208 | Cite as

A collaborative GIS method for integrating local and technical knowledge in establishing biodiversity conservation priorities

  • Shivanand Balram
  • Suzana Dragićević
  • Thomas Meredith


Methods for establishing biodiversity conservation priorities are urgently required, as the number of species and habitats that are threatened increases relative to the material resources available for their conservation. The identification of priority areas demands the integration of biophysical data on ecosystems together with social data on human pressures and planning opportunities. But comprehensive and reliable data are rarely available to demarcate where the need for action is most urgent and where the benefits of conservation strategies can be maximized. Strategic conservation initiatives cannot wait for the creation of comprehensive databases. In order to fill the missing data gaps, the combined knowledge of local and technical experts can be used. This study presents a collaborative geographic information system (GIS) method for integrating the knowledge of local and technical experts with existing spatial environmental data to establish priority areas for biodiversity conservation. Procedures for structuring and framing the discussions, establishing assessment criteria, integrating knowledge with data, and building consensus are incorporated into the method. The method provides a novel cooperative mechanism to aid spatial knowledge management and inclusive biodiversity planning.

Biodiversity conservation Collaborative GIS Data management Geographic information systems (GIS) Local and technical experts 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shivanand Balram
    • 1
  • Suzana Dragićević
    • 1
  • Thomas Meredith
    • 2
  1. 1.Spatial Analysis and Modeling Laboratory, Department of GeographySimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyBritish Columbia, Canada
  2. 2.Department of Geography, Community-Based Environmental Decision (CBED) Support GroupMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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