Curated Biodiversity Data for Rapid Assessment of Bushfire Impacts

Curating the Atlas of Living Australia biodiversity dataset for assessing bushfire impact
Fern leaves
Who will benefit
Researchers and decision makers needing to quantify impacts on biodiversity of natural disasters, such as bushfires

The Challenge

The Atlas of Living Australia stores over 100 million observations of Australian plants and animals, making it a valuable resource for understanding where species live. This information is critically important for quantifying the impacts on biodiversity of natural disasters such as bushfires. Researchers face several challenges in quantifying the impacts of bushfire on biodiversity:

  • Since ALA primarily aggregates data from external providers, the quality of data may vary, hence limiting its utility in some cases.
  • Extensive time and resources are needed to curate data prior to conducting any modelling exercise of bushfire impacts.
  • On completing a project, there are few channels for researchers to share the data they have created.

The Approach

The project:

  • produced and shared a combined, curated biodiversity data asset for southeastern Australia, covering a range of taxonomic groups, and allowing rapid application to future bushfires or other natural disasters.
  • incorporated edits and annotations by expert users back into the main ALA dataset, enriching the data resource for a range of users.
  • aggregated knowledge from different research teams to implement best-practice data cleaning workflows at the ALA, allowing improved data cleaning at scale.
  • provided mechanisms to capture and share common analysis methods from bushfire research, including species distribution models (SDMs).

The Outcomes

In this project, the ALA collaborated with experts to create a curated biodiversity dataset that can be used off-the-shelf for bushfire impact modelling. Access the data.

Who Will Benefit

Researchers working on species distribution modelling (SDM)

Researchers working on species distribution modelling and related areas, such as bushfire impacts or spatial prioritisation, will save time on data cleaning by having access to improved, reliable, and ‘clean’ species occurrences datasets.

State and federal departments of environment

State and federal departments of environment will have access to improved and more reliable data to build species distribution models and assess species vulnerability to bushfires.

The Partners

  • Atlas of Living Australia (ALA)
  • University of Melbourne
  • National Research Collections Australia (CSIRO)
  • Invertebrates Australia

Further Resources

Contact the ARDC

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.