CABI Distribution Database reaches million milestone

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24 December 2021, Africa: The CABI Distribution Database has reached a historic milestone with over 300,000 distribution records added in 2021 – meaning the resource now holds over 1.1 million geographic records of living organisms which are important to agriculture and the environment.

The database covers over 55,000 species, across key areas such as crop pests and hosts, crop and animal diseases, invasive species and natural enemies. The data has been sourced from peer reviewed published literature, CABI project work and other authoritative third-party sources such as EPPO and OIE.

Throughout 2021, CABI has been working hard to use new Distribution Database tools to import more geographic records. This includes over 12,000 new species to the database and information that has filled thousands of gaps in existing species distributions.

The CABI Distribution Database serves data to five different Compendia (Animal Health & Production, Aquaculture, Crop Protection, Forestry and Invasive Species), distribution maps for plant pests and plant diseases, the Horizon Scanning Tool, Pest Risk Analysis Tool, Plantwise Knowledge Bank Species Pages (Datasheets) and the Plantwise Knowledge Bank Diagnostic Tool.

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Tim Beale, Senior Data Analyst at CABI, said, “CABI is regularly updating its distribution data so that when users go to our knowledge products they can be more confident that they are getting the latest information about where their species of interest is present or absent. Furthermore, when they use our tools they can have greater trust in the results of their horizon scan, or pest risk assessment.”

In Compendia products and Plantwise species pages, the data is displayed in the ‘Distribution Table’ section and on the Distribution Map at the bottom of the datasheet. It is also used to populate Compendia country datasheets, which list the presence status of all species for that country. In products like the Horizon Scanning Tool, Pest Risk Analysis Tool and the Plantwise Diagnostic Tool, the data is used behind the scenes to create lists of species that meet certain criteria depending on inputs from the user.

In 2020, since the new Distribution database went live in February, there have been over 3 million requests for distribution information across these knowledge products and data-driven tools. This served over 1.7 million different users.

CABI Distribution Data is also used by CABI researchers and has been part of a number of publications this year including the Eschen et al. paper in CABI Agriculture and Bioscience ‘Towards estimating the economic cost of invasive alien species to African crop and livestock production.’

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