New tool to benefit business, biosecurity and conservation
Monday 27 Aug 2012
Business and industry as well as biosecurity and conservation will all benefit with the launch of a new web-based register of almost 100,000 plants, animals, fungi and bacteria that are significant to New Zealand.
The New Zealand Organisms Register (NZOR) provides fundamental information on over 94,000 species and is the most complete national digital species catalogue of any country in the world. The data are dynamically integrated from a number of separate sources into a single continuosly updated catalogue. NZOR is a multi-agency collaborative project, with the technical infrastrcuture designed and developed by Landcare Research, and supported by the Terrestrial and Freshwater Biodiversity Information System Programme.
The register uses state-of-the-art data-sharing technology that links data coming from the research community with management agencies and will improve data management and decision making about valued and unwanted organisms.
The register will be beneficial where and whenever species names are needed – in the conserveration of threatened species and management of ecosystems, provision of biosecurity responses and decisions on species introductions. It will also be of value to the primary industry for export clearances and regional councils in pest and land management.
NZOR was launched today (eds: Aug 27) by Minister of Conservation Hon Kate Wilkinson whose department will actively use the tool.
“It will help conservation managers and scientists to make quicker decisions at less cost, and will enable information about our rich indigenous biodiversity to be shared more easily with the public. It will also assist our biosecurity agency to protect us from new pests.”
The project manager, Dr Jerry Cooper said the development of NZOR was a team effort involving multiple agencies.
“NZOR provides an example of how we can use internet technologies to break down barriers between existing silos of information and deliver important national data services."
NZOR was designed with New Zealand’s current and future ‘business’ needs in mind, and directly supports the Government’s economic growth agenda by ‘enabling better science, innovation and trade’ and ‘removing red tape and unnecessary regulation’.
NZOR supports exporters by providing certainty over the names of organisms which might be used as barriers to trade and assuring export markets of the integrity of NZ’s products. It also underpins our biosecurity system by more accurately identifying risk organisms before and at the border with the aid of a single comprehensive database of organisms as a background support system. NZOR plays an important role for the biotechnology, biocontrol and related industries when applying for permission to work with new organisms. And, the NZOR also fits with global intergovernmental and international commitments to achieving a variety of obligations in relation to conservation outcomes and science contributions.