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The West African Vegetation Database is an online database that has been designed to securely store, edit and manage phytosociological and dendrometrical relevés from West Africa to provide data for research projects dealing with, but not limited to, plant communities, biogeography, population structure, and vegetation dynamics.
The West African Vegetation Database is an
online database that has been designed to
securely store, edit and manage phytosocio-
logical and dendrometrical relevés from West
Africa to provide data for research projects
dealing with, but not limited to, plant com-
munities, biogeography, population structu-
re, and vegetation dynamics. An integrated
access management system allows data ow-
ners to keep data private, to grant selected
The West African Vegetation Database
Marco Schmidt1,2,3, Thomas Janßen1,11, Stefan Dressler1,3,Karen Hahn2,3, Mipro Hien4, Souleymane Konaté5, Anne Mette
Lykke6, Ali Mahamane7, Bienvenu Sambou8, Brice Sinsin9, Adjima Thiombiano10, Rüdiger Wittig2,3, Georg Zizka1,2,3
1 Research Institute Senckenberg, Dept. of Botany and Molecular Evolution, Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt, Germany; 2 Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt, Germany; 3 University of Frankfurt, Institute
for Ecology, Evolution and Diversity, Siesmayerstr. 70, 60323 Frankfurt, Germany; 4 Polytechnical University of Bobo-Dioulasso, Dept. of Water and Forest, 01 BP 1091, Bobo-Dioulasso 01, Burkina Faso; 5 Université de Abobo-Adjamé, Station d´Ecologie Tropicale de
LAMTO, BP 28 N´Douci, Abidjan, Ivory Coast; 6 University of Aarhus, NERI National Environmental Research Institute, Dept. of Terrestrial Ecology, Vejlsøvej 25, 8600 Silkeborg, Denmark; 7 University Abdou Moumouni of Niamey, Faculty of Sciences, Laboratory Garba
Mounkaila of Biology, BP 10662, Niamey, Niger; 8 University Cheikh Anta Diop, Faculty of Sciences and Technology, Institute of Environmental Sciences, BP 5005, Dakar, Senegal; 9 University of Abomey-Calavi, Laboratory of Applied Ecology, 03 BP 1974 Cotonou,
Benin; 10 University of Ouagadougou, Laboratory of Plant Biology and Ecology, UFR Life and Earth Sciences, 03 BP 848, Ouagadougou 03, Burkina Faso; 11 National Botanic Garden of Belgium, Domein van Bouchout, 1860 Meise, Belgium
The offl ine tool VegDa 3.0 can be easily synchro-
nised with the West African Vegetation database.
Direct online entry and editing of vegetation data.
Calculation and export of phytosociolo-
gical and dendrometrical indices.
Data export in .csv, .kml,
.mdb and .shp formats
Start screen with an interactive map
of available vegetation data
Data can be searched and added to
a data clipboard for further treatment.
users access or to make data sets available
to the general public. Data entry is possible
online or in a local offl ine database that can
be synchronized with the online database.
The database allows the calculation of bio-
diversity indices and has several export op-
tions. The nal version will be online soon
offl ine (VegDa 3.0) online (West African Vegetation Database)
The database contains vegetation data from
West Africa that have been digitized in the
course of the SUN and BIOTA projects, main-
ly from research within these projects, the
SFB 268 or from theses at the partner insti-
tutions. Current datasets are from the West
African countries Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory
Coast, Niger and Senegal with a focus on
Sahelian and Sudanian ecosystems, main-
ly savannas, but also dry forests, gallery fo-
rests, aquatic habitats, hills and inselbergs.
The earliest relevés are from the 1980‘s, but
most data are more recent, from the past
Administration of access rights
Overview and administration of data holdings
Further reading
Janßen T, Schmidt M, Dressler S, Hahn-Hadjali K,
Hien M, Konaté S, Lykke AM, Mahamane A, Sambou
B, Sinsin B, Thiombiano A, Wittig R, Zizka G (in print)
Addressing data property rights concerns and providing
incentives for collaborative data pooling: the West Afri-
can Vegetation Database approach. Journal of Vegeta-
tion Science
Schmidt M, Thiombiano A, Dressler S, Hahn-Had-
jali K, Guinko S, Zizka G (2010) Phytodiversity data -
strengths and weaknesses. A comparison of collection
and relevé data from Burkina Faso. In Systematics and
Conservation of African Plants (ed.: van der Burgt X, van
der Maesen J, Onana JM) p. 829-837. Royal Botanic
Gardens: Kew.
Data holdings
as of 03/2010
Relevés Records Relevés Records Relevés Records
Phyto Phyto Dendro Dendro Total Total
Aarhus 1131 3079 4649 12117 4210 16327
Dakar - - 452 7439 452 7439
Frankfurt, Univ. 817 18711 154 1537 909 20248
Frankfurt, SGN 5061 120756 - - 5061 120756
Ouagadougou 2293 38922 800 40029 3093 78951
Bobo-Dioulasso 89 692 - - 89 692
Cotonou 917 39556 482 17968 1032 57524
Niamey 1097 21351 131 36740 1228 58091
Totals 11405 243067 6668 115830 16074 360028
Full-text available
Questions: Vegetation-plot records provide information on presence and cover or abundance of plants co-occurring in the same community. Vegetation-plot data are spread across research groups, environmental agencies and biodiversity research centers, and thus, are rarely accessible at continental or global scales. Here we present the sPlot database, which collates vegetation plots worldwide to allow for the exploration of global patterns in taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity at the plant community level. - Location: sPlot version 2.1 contains records from 1,121,244 vegetation plots, which comprise 23,586,216 records of plant species and their relative cover or abundance in plots collected between 1885 and 2015. - Methods: We complemented the information for each plot by retrieving environmental conditions (i.e. climate and soil) and the biogeographic context (i.e. biomes) from external sources, and by calculating community-weighted means and variances of traits using gap-filled data from the global plant trait database TRY. Moreover, we created a phylogenetic tree for 50,167 out of the 54,519 species identified in the plots. - Results: We present the first maps of global patterns of community richness and community-weighted means of key traits. - Conclusions: The availability of vegetation plot data in sPlot offers new avenues for vegetation analysis at the global scale.
Full-text available
Purpose – Research data management (RDM) comprises all processes, which ensure that research data are well-organized, documented, stored, backed up, accessible, and reusable. RDM systems form the technical framework. The purpose of this paper is to present the design and implementation of a RDM system for an interdisciplinary, collaborative, long-term research project with focus on Soil-Vegetation-Atmosphere data. Design/methodology/approach – The presented RDM system is based on a three-tier (client-server) architecture. This includes a file-based data storage, a database-based metadata storage, and a self-designed user-friendly web-interface. The system is designed in cooperation with the local computing centre, where it is also hosted. A self-designed interoperable, project-specific metadata schema ensures the accurate documentation of all data. Findings – A RDM system has to be designed and implemented according to requirements of the project participants. General challenges and problems of RDM should be considered. Thus, a close cooperation with the scientists obtains the acceptance and usage of the system. Originality/value – This paper provides evidence that the implementation of a RDM system in the provided and maintained infrastructure of a computing centre offers many advantages. Consequently, the designed system is independent of the project funding. In addition, access and re-use of all involved project data is ensured. A transferability of the presented approach to another interdisciplinary research project was already successful. Furthermore, the designed metadata schema can be expanded according to changing project requirements.
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