BON in a Box is a regionally customizable and continually updated online toolkit for facilitating the start-up or enhancement of national or regional biodiversity observation systems.

Better information on the status, trends and drivers of biodiversity change is needed to assist governments in developing more effective and timely policy responses. There are many excellent tools, protocols and software in use that facilitate effective biodiversity monitoring but these are not easily discoverable or available to all regions of the planet. As well, current efforts to monitor biodiversity are not interoperable, thereby limiting our ability to detect change and the underlying mechanisms driving change in biodiversity.

BON in a Box aims to serve as a technology transfer mechanism that allows countries access to the most advanced and effective monitoring protocols, tools and software thereby, lowering the threshold for a country to set up, enhance or harmonize a national biodiversity observing system.

BON in a Box will give nations, regions and others a common and scientifically sound set of biodiversity variables, monitoring methods and guidelines, mapping software, and data management, analysis, discovery and reporting tools and platforms, thereby increasing the power at not only a national but also a regional and global scale to detect important biodiversity trends and their underlying mechanisms.
The development of BON in a Box is being led by GEO BON and represents a partnership of the world’s major international biodiversity organizations. These tools will lower the threshold for a country or region to get started on developing or enhancing an existing Biodiversity Observation Network.

Development of BON in a Box will happen at two scales:

  1. Regional Pilot – Neotropics;
  2. Global rollout via further regional capacity building engagement (e.g. West, East, South Africa, South and Southeast Asia).

Global implementation will be aligned as much as possible with related capacity building efforts underway for supporting biodiversity observations (e.g. Convention on Biological Diversity and Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) and BON in a Box is being designed to support both the CBD and IPBES.

The regional pilot – BON in a Box: Neotropics is well underway with the Humboldt Institute of Colombia leading its development. A survey has been developed and sent out to over 1000 recipients in central and South America to better identify the greatest capacity building needs around supporting biodiversity observations and related decision-making. The results of this survey will be analyzed in early February and beginning development of the BON in a Box prototype will begin based on these results. Regional and other representatives will be invited to a workshop in Colombia in April 2015 to review the prototype, confirm national and regional needs, identify key aspects and tools for inclusion in BON in a Box and discuss opportunities for regional cooperation for biodiversity observations.

The assembly and development of tools will be directly supported by the work of GEO BON’s Working Groups as well as through existing (E.g. GBIF, Earthwatch Institute, etc.) and new partnerships with key organizations in the business of supporting biodiversity observations.

Who is it for?

BON in a Box is being specifically designed to directly serve the needs and interests of national governments who need good observational data on biodiversity to effectively fulfill their domestic (e.g. environmental impact assessment) and international reporting requirements (e.g. Convention on Biological Diversity(CBD) Targets).

However, BON in a Box will be of use to any organization (government, non-government or academic) who is interested in starting, enhancing or harmonizing their biodiversity observation efforts.

Why is it needed?

The earth’s ecosystems and the biodiversity they support are facing widespread and accelerating change due to a multitude of pressures. Better information on the status, trends and drivers of biodiversity change is needed to assist governments in developing more effective and timely policy responses.
There are many excellent tools, protocols and software in use that facilitate effective biodiversity monitoring but these are not easily discoverable or available to all regions of the planet. As well, current efforts to monitor biodiversity are not interoperable, thereby limiting our ability to detect change and the underlying mechanisms driving change in biodiversity. BON in a Box aims to serve as a technology transfer mechanism that allows countries access to the most advanced and effective monitoring protocols, tools and software thereby, lowering the threshold for a country to set up, enhance or harmonize a national biodiversity observing system.

How can you help?

GEO BON is just beginning development of BON in a Box and is seeking a small set of nations interested in piloting its development, tailored to their specific needs. We are also seeking contributions to BON in a Box in the form of both technology transfer (e.g. easily transferable monitoring guidelines and methods) and funding.

Let us know about your goals and approaches, and join us in developing and testing BON in a Box.