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The Swedish Taxonomy Initiative

More:  Institute 
Acronym: STI
Period: 2002
Status: In Progress

Thesaurus term: Taxonomy
Geographical term: ANE, Sweden [Marine Regions]

Institute  Top 
  • ArtDatabanken - Swedish Species Information Centre, more, co-ordinator

Abstract:
The Swedish Taxonomy Initiative (STI) is an All Taxon Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI) of Sweden coordinated by the Swedish Species Information Centre (ArtDatabanken) and completed in collaboration with Swedish universities and natural history museums. Started in 2002 and fully funded from 2005, the project aims to completely chart the flora and fauna of Sweden within 20 years.

Towards a better knowledge of the Swedish flora and fauna
A marine collection effort is running 2006-2009 and a three-year Malaise trapping programme targeting poorly known insect groups has already been completed. Taxonomists working on poorly known groups are supported. Preliminary estimates from the Malaise trapping programme indicates that it will add more than 5,000 species to the Swedish list of 50,000 multicellular organisms; at least 1,000 of these are expected to be new to science.

Popularizing species
An important goal of the STI is to present all Swedish species that can be identified without advanced techniques in the Encyclopedia of the Swedish Flora and Fauna (Nationalnyckeln till Sveriges flora och fauna). The well-illustrated Encyclopedia will include easy-to-use keys as well as descriptions of all species and summaries of their biology and conservation status in Sweden. In total, the Encyclopedia will include up to 100 volumes, the first appeared in 2005, covering butterflies and millipedes. Like many forthcoming volumes, the book on millipedes represents the first Swedish text describing all species occurring in the country.

Tools for biodiversity monitoring and management
Amateur naturalists are encouraged to collect information about the species presented in the Encyclopedia through the Species Gateway, an observational database originally developed by Swedish bird watchers and now being extended to cover most organism groups. Amateur naturalists currently represent the most important information source concerning the distribution and abundance of Swedish species. An important goal of the STI is to enable and encourage this group to study a broader range of organisms, significantly improving Swedish biodiversity monitoring in the process.

Serving society
The STI represents an important step forward in implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity; without a completely inventoried flora and fauna, measuring progress towards goals such as the 2010 target becomes dangerous guesswork. Hopefully, experiences gained during the STI will be valuable in conducting similar studies both in neighbouring countries in the Northern Europe as well as in more biodiversity-rich countries across the globe.

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