The following text is from Gonzalez, A., Vihervaara, P., Balvanera, P. et al. A global biodiversity observing system to unite monitoring and guide action. Nat Ecol Evol (2023).

A BON is a network of observation sites or stations and a network of groups who produce and use biodiversity data across these sites for different needs. A BON coordinates observations and monitoring to support policy and environmental legislation prompting conservation action from national biodiversity strategies and action plans. Guidelines for network establishment are publicly available and describe how to create an ‘enabling environment’ that assembles the partnerships, human capacity and scientific infrastructure needed to build a BON.

A BON can be national, subnational or regional in its level of operation and can cover different biomes (for example, marine or freshwater) and dimensions of biodiversity (such as genetics, species and ecosystems) to fill specific knowledge gaps (Supplementary Table 1). These needs have been recognized by the formation of marine, freshwater, soil and omic BONs. GEO BON has developed an essential biodiversity and ecosystem variables framework as a rigorous and transparent basis for monitoring trends in different facets of biodiversity across BONs1,2,3. EBV data layers are available from the EBV Data Portal. GEO BON also offers ‘BON-in-a-Box’, a knowledge platform that facilitates BON design and implementation.

Some regional networks already exist that represent collaborations among national BONs. These include the Asia Pacific BON and the European network (EuropaBON). A GBiOS can be assembled as a network of national and regional networks4.

1. Pereira, H. M. et al. Science 339, 277–278 (2013).
2. Schmeller, D. S. Biol. Res. 93, 55–71 (2018).
3. Bellingham, P. J. et al. Ecol. Sols. & Evid. 1, e12025 (2020).
4. Scholes, R. J. et al. Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain. 4, 139–146 (2012).

For more information, please refer to The GEO Handbook on Biodiversity Observation Networks.