Spatial analysis is an important tool for gathering information about plant diversity present in specific geographic areas around the world. Monitoring the patterns of distribution and the status of plant species enables us to set priority areas for conservation, identifying which species are most at risk and where we have gaps in our collections. This is vital information which helps us tackle global challenges such as food security and climate change.
In response to increasing demand for capacity building on spatial analysis of biodiversity, Bioversity has just launched a training manual for practitioners who work with biodiversity data and want to develop spatial analysis skills using free Geographic Information System (GIS) tools. You can download the training manual here. The manual is a part of our training materials series.
This manual focuses on using GIS tools–DIVA-GIS, a GIS programme specifically designed to undertake spatial diversity analysis and Maxent, a species distribution modeling programme–to help answer questions about the spatial analysis of biodiversity data. It is based on a set of step-by-step instructions, accompanied by a series of analyses, using free and publically available software.
Spatial analyses focus on plants of interest for improving livelihoods (e.g. crops, trees and crop wild relatives), but many of the studies can also be applied to other organisms such as animals and fungi. They are explained using different types of data: species presence and morphological or molecular characterization data.