University of Georgia River Basin Center
exciting project will be the first online conservation “hub”
enabling information-sharing and collaboration between scientists
and people working in conservation, worldwide. The HUB initiative
responds to the great, but largely unmet, potential for research and
conservation institutions to pool their knowledge about environmental
problems and develop a network capable of delivering this knowledge
throughout the world.
HUB will provide an accessible interface to link and foster dialogue
among academic institutions, conservation non profits, government
institutions, funders, and conservationists working globally to
resolve related environmental issues. The HUB will enable easy
locating of environmental information from credible sources, such
as scientific reports, journals, and experts, especially in academia.
The HUB will create relational databases that can be queried to:
provide project-specific environmental information; contact agencies,
non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other (non-confidential)
users that are working to solve similar problems; contact experts
and funders interested in the problem; and provide syntheses of
commonly requested information.
The HUB will use state of the art information technology to create
an interactive digital forum where local conservation needs,
across the globe, can be easily expressed and answers or collaborative
services efficiently provided. Users (e.g., individual, NGO,
agency, business, government, community, news media) will be
able to query the HUB, through search protocol using artificial
intelligence structure, and depending on the nature of a query,
the user will be directed to one or more of the following destinations:
How it will work
1. Database of relevant, referenced, information such as:
• Frequently asked questions with answers, regarding the subject
(i.e., environmental problem) of the query (e.g., species-specific
conservation methodology, life history traits, human threats).
• Digitized remote image maps (e.g., tropical forest showing
plantation clearing, distribution of clear-cuts in temperate zone
forests, location of major coral reef bleaching).
• Pollution (e.g., toxic chemicals, air contaminates, nutrient/silt
loading in aquatic ecosystems) showing health and environmental
risks, symptoms of poisoning, and suggested biotic integrity indices
to indicate environmental degradation and successful recovery.
• Potential sources of funds to help address the problem.
2. Directory of expertise that provides referral of query to an expert
who has agreed to respond to requests from the HUB.
3. Entities facing or interested in collaborating on similar problems
(e.g., NGOs, individuals, or groups interested in collaborating
on or funding related projects).
The HUB will serve as a filter between SELVA clients and SELVA scientists.
In some circumstances, field visits by experts may be necessary
when environmental problems are unusual or particularly complex.
If the appropriate information or collaboration cannot be found
through the HUB online network, the HUB will direct queries to SELVA
scientists, who will then prioritize queries for in-person or on-site
consultation or collaboration.