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BIONET International - capacity building in biosystematics for sustainable development.

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 Miscellaneous (Sustainable Agriculture)
 Central Research Department (now Research and Evidence Division)

 BIONET International
 BIONET International


To provide technical-level training and reference manuals freely and in user-friendly, and easily reproducible formats to instititions in over 120 countries, via the existing BIONET International networks.

The hard copy publication of the proceedings of the inaugural BIGCAT workshop, recording the papers which were presented, and the outcome of the working group discussions on future needs and technology trends.

Developing countries need well supervised and well organised collections of biological material (including easily retrievable records and information concerning that material) to enable development and use of environmentally sustainable pest management for agriculture and forestry, especially biological control and use of natural enemies.

Further, these materials are required for the ecosystem inventories, monitoring of habitats, and conservation of biodiversity, demanded by the Convention of Biodiversity.

To do this, and to save and conserve the existing material (which is of inestimable value but which is being lost by default) the developing countries need trained taxonomic technicians. The manuals provide the basis for the training of such technicians, and their acquisition of the required technical skills. (These manuals were developed from SAFRINET training courses, where around forty technicians trained had enabled and greatly accelerated the creation, rehabilitation and development of collections and records in SADC country institutes). The manuals are already available in hard copy, and have been successfully used in technician training courses. The four manuals are:

* Collecting and preserving insects and arachnids.

* Collecting and preserving nematodes.

* Collecting and preserving micro-organisms.

* Introduction to practical phytobacteria.

Taxonomy must become as automated as possible as quickly as possible, if we are to be capable of making an inventory of the vast array of organisms with which we share the planet, and the BIONET International community also needs automated systems, to achieve its objectives. For this reason, the BIONET International Group for Computer-Aided Taxonomy (BIGCAT) was established, at an inaugural workshop convened jointly by the Technical Secretariat of BIONET International and the Wales Centre for Biodiversity at the University of Cardiff on 2-3 July 1997. It brought together some 30 researchers in the fields of biology, ecology, mycology, nematology, entomology, computing, film-making and engineering. Its purpose was to review recent developments in computer-aided taxonomy (CAT), to assess prospects of further application of existing CAT, and of developing new systems to assist with overcoming the taxonomic impediment to sustainable development.

5,000 CDs measure just under 1 cubic metre (500 kg) in volume. These will be shipped worldwide in 200 boxes containing 25 CDs each.

The publication of the BIGCAT workshop proceedings.


NRE 9800 349/000/001