Counting collections in

Towards quantifying collections’ contributions for national bio-economic accounting and the United Nations post-2020 biodiversity monitoring

Jutta Buschbom, Alina Freire-Fierro, Elizabeth R. Ellwood, Usman Atique and Austin Mast

Talk given at the 5th Annual Digital Data in Biodiversity Research Conference, Gainesville FL (virtual), USA, Jun. 7-9, 2021.

Statistical Genetics, June 7, 2021


In the current biodiversity crisis, achievement of the goals of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has become of pre-eminent importance. The introduction of the post-2020 monitoring framework transforms those goals into concrete, actionable information that promotes implementation and innovative resource mobilization, and thus can galvanize change.

Natural history collections and the collections community contribute accessible and multilaterally shared high-quality, validated primary biodiversity data, scientific and technical expertise, as well as physical and digital infrastructures, tools, services and a wide range of non-monetary benefits, which are directly contributing to many of the monitoring targets for 2030 and all goals of the 2050 vision.

In their fundamental and indispensable roles for the conservation and sustainable use of “natural capital”, scientific collections themselves express and highlight a country’s conservation efforts and investments. Collection institutions, collections, their human resources and services offer opportunities for quantifications of monetary and non-monetary conservation-relevant contributions. These might be incorporated into national accounts within a system of environmental and economic accounting (SEEA).

This talk explores potential measures and the status of existing economic work and concepts. Furthermore, it points out existing initiatives, and infrastructure and data resources, which would support (sub-)national to global accounting.

PDF of the presentation