Early warning systems for biodiversity in South Africa

It is a hard reality that virtually all countries, no matter how well resourced, take conservation and land use decisions based on highly patchy and imperfect data – if indeed any data at all. Despite a mushrooming of scientific evidence and journals in the past decade, and open-access provision of many expensive global datasets, developing countries in particular often have to make do with inaccurate and coarse-scale global data, in the absence of targeted, local data to solve immediate conservation problems. To what extent can citizen science data compensate for the patchiness of conventional government-gathered scientific data in order to support planning, policy and management?

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