Biodiversity Newsflash 84

1 | BEES Market 2018 on 18 December - Get ready 2 | Mini-symposium 'Biodiversity policy: threats become opportunities' 3 | Report on the 1 October IPBES Belgian Uptake Event 4 | Practical guide to develop a horizon scanning activity 5 | #BeBiodiversity - online quiz & contest 6 | Belgian LifeWatch observatory data and networks embedded in ‘Kustportaal’ 7 | Save the date : Biodiversity_next 2019 8 | Three questions to Peter Desmet, open data coordinator at the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO)


Biodiversity Newsflash 84

December 2018


1 | BEES Market 2018 on 18 December - Get ready
2 | Mini-symposium 'Biodiversity policy: threats become opportunities'
3 | Report on the 1 October IPBES Belgian Uptake Event
4 | Practical guide to develop a horizon scanning activity
5 | #BeBiodiversity - online quiz & contest
6 | Belgian LifeWatch observatory data and networks embedded in ‘Kustportaal’
7 | Save the date : Biodiversity_next 2019
1 | BEES Market 2018 on 18 December - Get ready

Within a few days, over a 100 people will attend the fifth edition of the BEES market. What could they expect? An afternoon full of inspiring workshops, a diverse group of people and project stands and of course the opportunity to have a nice and informal chat with colleagues who work on complementary challenges as you, yet in an interestingly different way. This is your last chance to register, if you want to be enjoying new contacts while drinking glühwein and eating warm waffles !

12:00 : Lunch, registration and building up the stands
12:40 : Opening words 
13:00 - 14:30 : A menu of four workshops :

  • Uncovering conflicts in nature-society projects
  • Making the Nature Value Explorer better applicable for socio-economic impact analysis 
  • Visual communication in scientific outputs : tips & tricks
  • Introduction in 'the Work that Reconnects' of Joanna Macy

14:30 - 17:00 : The Market! Plenty of stands with info, games, goodies and tasters...

Still not on the list ? Register here !

When ? 18 December 2018
Where ? Brussels, near Thurn and Taxis, at VAC Herman Teirlinck.

More information and pictures of previous editions on the BEES website, or contact Sander Jacobs, BEES coordinator.


The symposium focuses on the opportunities that the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) offers to restore nature. IPBES gathers the latest scientific knowledge on biodiversity to inform policy makers. The overall goal is thus comparable to what the much better known Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is doing about climate change.

In its reports, IPBES not only points to the (often negative) trends and causes, but also to possible scenarios and pathways for a more sustainable society. These translate into clear opportunities for policy, and that is what this mini-symposium is about: what can we do concretely as policy maker, administration, interest group, umbrella organisation, company, citizen?

That is why we would like to invite you to take a look together at the concrete economic and policy solutions with which we can help turn the tide and avoid negative ecological, economic and social effects for Flanders.

When? Tuesday 8 January 2019 at 1 pm
Where? Auditorium of the Herman Teirlinck building, Avenue du Port 88 in Brussels

Register here (in Dutch).
Programme here.
For more information, please contact Hilde EggermontIPBES Belgian National Focal Point.

3 | Report on the 1 October IPBES Belgian Uptake Event

On 1 October 2018, the IPBES Belgian Focal Point (hosted by the Belgian Biodiversity Platform) organised the IPBES Belgian Uptake Event. The purpose of the meeting was to share information on the assessment report for Europe and Central Asia  released in March 2018 and to have discussions in break-out groups divided into the three regions: Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels.

The programme of the event consisted in a number of presentations, a panel discussion, and breakout groups for each of the three Belgian regions; all of which gave the audience ample opportunity to interact, either by asking questions in person or through Twitter.

This report mainly focuses on the outcomes of the breakout sessions, providing concrete suggestions to better conserve biodiversity in the regions based on the IPBES outcomes.

Read the report online. 

For more information, please contact Hilde EggermontIPBES Belgian National Focal Point.

4 | Practical guide to develop a horizon scanning activity

Last year in December, EKLIPSE (Knowledge & Learning Mechanism on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) and the Foresight Team of the Joint Research Centre organised a workshop on “Horizon Scanning : from interesting to useful, from practice to impact”. The event gathered professionals from different fields and sectors who all use or perform horizon scanning in their activities. Its purpose was to gather insights from these practitioners on how to run such an exercise. The shared experiences have been collected in the form of a practical guide for those wishing to develop a horizon scanning activity.
You can download the Horizon Scanning guide on the EKLIPSE website. You are also welcome to join the Horizon Scanning group on LinkedIn. Pictures of the event are available here.
For more information, please contact Lise Goudeseune, Biodiversity Expert.

5 | #BeBiodiversity - online quiz & contest

Does your consumption pattern threatens biodiversity? Discover in 5 minutes your consumption profile and its impact on the incredible diversity of our planet (and try to win some eco-gifts!).
The #BeBiodiversity strategy is an initiative of the Directorate-General Environment of the Belgian Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment. The strategy aims, firstly, to mobilise entrepreneurs and citizens-consumers to encourage the markets to shift towards products and consumption that value biodiversity and ecosystem services. And secondly, to share the concept of co-responsibility with the authorities, businesses and citizens-consumers.

To better understand your consumption habits and their impact on nature, take part in the #BeBiodiversity online quiz & contest until December 25, 2018.  Your participation will give you an idea of where you stand on the scale of effort to be made through the discovery of your totem animal. You will also receive small tips that are easy to implement in your daily life.

The purpose of this survey is to:
  • To raise awareness of the impact of a simple act of consumption on ecosystems and the species that make them up, sometimes thousands of kilometres from home.
  • Provide advice to reduce our impact on biodiversity.
  • Assess which profiles are willing to mobilize to reduce their impact on biodiversity by consuming less and "better".
For more information, please contact #BeBiodiversity or check out the website here (quiz only available in French and Dutch).
6 | Belgian LifeWatch observatory data and networks embedded in ‘Kustportaal’

On 7 December, the third edition of Compendium for Coast and Sea was launched. In this document the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) assembles the marine expertise in Belgium. A new feature of this edition is the ‘Kustportaal’, a coastal portal that generates map visualizations of a diverse range of marine themes. The sensor network and different data products of the Belgian LifeWatch observatory are included in this portal.

For more information, check out the Kustportaal website (for now only in Dutch)

7 | Save the date : Biodiversity_next 2019

The 2019 open digital science week on biological and geological diversity, biodiversity_next, will take place on 21–25 October 2019.

This joint conference is co-organised by Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG), Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities (CETAF), Distributed System of Scientific Collections (DiSSCo), Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), and iDigBio, and is hosted by Naturalis Biodiversity Center.

This conference is organized around four themes or tracks–science, standards, infrastructure, and policy & International Coordination–and how these themes intertwine and interact to underpin and produce robust decisions for the future. We hope that this meeting will act as a catalyst to inspire participation by both early career and established scientists working in biological and ecological diversity science, biodiversity and geodiversity informatics, e-infrastructures, natural science collections, citizen science, and conservation and science policy.

The structure for biodiversity_next, which also replaces the TDWG annual meeting, will feature plenaries each morning with keynote speakers , and parallel breakout sessions that will provide opportunities for working groups, discussion, panels, and presentations.

Where? Stadsgehoorzaal in Leiden, The Netherlands
When? 21–25 October 2019

For more information, please contact Dimitri Brosens, Biodiversity Data Acquisition Manager

8 | Three questions to Peter Desmet, open data coordinator at the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO)

1. What is this Checklist recipe?

The Checklist recipe is an automated routine that uses the R programming language to standardize species checklist data. Species checklists are thematic or regional lists of species, with associated information (vernacular names, native/introduced status, etc.). These lists form an important source of information for biodiversity science and policy, such as the management of invasive alien species. The checklist recipe allows researchers to standardize their checklist data to the Darwin Core standard in an automated way, allowing these to be linked, discovered and integrated in the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). My colleagues and I developed the recipe for the TrIAS project and thought it would be useful for others as well. We're very honoured that it won the GBIF Ebbe Nielsen Challenge.

2. What is the TrIAS project?

Tracking Invasive Alien Species (TrIAS) is a project funded through the BELSPO BRAIN call aiming to build an open data-driven framework to support policy on invasive species. You can read all about it in Vanderhoeven et al. 2017, but the core idea is to dynamically track the progression of alien species in Belgium, identify emerging species, assess their current and future risk and timely inform policy in a seamless data-driven workflow. But rather than reinventing the wheel, TrIAS builds upon and contributes to the fantastic open data (species checklists and occurrence data), infrastructures (such as GBIF) and standards (such as Darwin Core) that already exist. Applying this open science method to all aspects of the project (data, software and publications) is challenging and exciting, but also increases the project's applicability, repeatability and sustainability: something many research projects still lack.

3. What would be your wish for Biodiversity research in 2019?

I strongly believe that the future of biodiversity research is open reproducible science! Just like our friends at the Belgian Biodiversity Platform, open data publication and open source software development are core activities of our team at the INBO. Over the years we have seen a shift in biodiversity research where publishing data as open data is becoming more accepted. With the infrastructure and wealth of information now available at GBIF, researchers are seeing the benefits of open data. The next thing we want to tackle is support researchers in making their approach to science more open, repeatable and reusable. By offering training and developing research software (like R packages) they can understand and adapt. And we know from experience that collaborating in open science communities such as GBIF, Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) and rOpenSci is not only better for the future of biodiversity research, but also fun and rewarding.

© 2018 Belgian Biodiversity Platform, All rights reserved.
‘Biodiversity Newsflash’ is published by the Belgian Biodiversity Platform, an initiative by the
Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO)



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