Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2017

Validering av kärlväxtfynd i Artportalen på gång

Sundberg, Sebastian; Karlsson, Thomas; Aronsson, Mora; Edqvist, Margareta; Andersson, Ulla-Britt; Flodin, Per


Artportalen (Swedish Species Observation System) is today the most important national database for gathering and sharing species occurrence data, and is an important tool for nature conservation and spatial planning. It currently contains 57 million observations (8.5 million vascular plant observations), corresponding to 8% of all the digitised records in the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). To date, only records of (rare) birds in the system have undergone scrutiny, but from now on validation of observations in other organism groups will be initiated. Validation means that unusual finds are inspected by independent experts to assess if they are accurate or contain erroneous data. The Swedish Species Information Centre organises the validation through the start-up of national validation groups (NVGs). The NVGs nominate taxon or regional reviewers (with input from national and regional societies), set up rules for validation, and provide support for reviewers. Data to be reviewed: i) correct taxon; ii) appropriate site coordinates including location accuracy and site name; iii) additional information (e.g. date, amount and unit, residency, biotope). The validation tools in Artportalen enable an efficient validation including recording the validation process. These tools also include communication functionality to enable discussion between the reporter and reviewer. An observation can be given one of nine status values, depending on the available documentation. The status ‘Rejected' [Underkänd] should be avoided as far as possible, and should be applied only when communication with the observer has failed or resulted in no action. The national validation of vascular plants was initiated in November 2016 by a workshop held at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, together with the formation of a NVG and the launch of the first provincial occurrence catalogue for vascular plants. Validation of vascular plants has already started as pilot projects in two provinces (östergötland and öland) but will expand across the country during 2017. What is being validated must be prioritised because of the high number of observations in Artportalen. A tentative sequence is: 1) first taxon record in a province, 2) threatened Flora Guardian species, 3) other red-listed and EU-directive species, 4) species with few records in a province, 5) taxa difficult to determine, 6) odd records of less rare species, 7) invasive alien species, 8) a voucher specimen of every taxon in each Atlas grid cell (according to the national grid RT90) for the developing Swedish atlas of vascular plants (10 × 10 km) and Province floras (2.5 × 2.5 km). The rest will remain unconfirmed. To enable a smooth validation in the future, we urge that reporters: a) document observations by photographs and physical samples, especially of rare and difficult taxa; b) apply identification below the species level only when carefully checked; c) improve the accuracy of site coordinates (desired: 5-25 m; avoid: > 100 m); d) use biotope descriptions; e) discriminate between spontaneous and cultivated occurrences; and finally f) don't be afraid to apply ‘species identity uncertain' when the least unsure about the determination. The NVG is committed to inform botanists about species identification problems and how to find remedy. The national species validation is a huge challenge. But, it will hopefully engage many botanists, boost botanical communication, trigger a new wave of improved species identification skills, and lead to more accurate and reliable records in Artportalen.

Published in

Svensk Botanisk Tidskrift
2017, Volume: 111, number: 2, pages: 81-89