Biodata Management Guide

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Horizon's ecoBase

ecoBase is a biodata management tool developed by Horizons Regional Council.

ecoBase records biodiversity data for the whole region collected by Horizons, DOC and others. It is used to prioritise which areas require active management. The Natural Areas database then records monitoring information on those particular sites.

ecoBase contains historical biodiversity survey data, PNA survey data and information from DOC, reference points and dates. It has a rapid ecological assessment to provide a regional overview,  and an inventory of biodiversity sites for prioritisation. Assessments can be done for wetlands but not for forest reference. It can also link up with distance sampling software developed overseas for birdmonitoring (with more rigour than 5-minute bird counts or distance from a line).

James Lambie, curator of ecoBase, has made the following comments about it:

We are treating Horizon's ecoBase as a repository for all Rapid Ecological Assessment information - forests and wetlands. The habitat information for forests follows the Atkinson system and has yet to be inputted. The habitat info for wetlands was collected using the Atkinson system but loaded into ecoBase as tier data. There are at present only three tier fields which interferes with the Atkinson system when there are more than three tiers recorded. I am working on a module that will hold and report the habitat data in the Atkinson format.

ecoBase is no (longer) linked directly to GIS. The polygon layer in GIS has fields for site name and an ecoBase ID which maintain referential integrity and I manage that manually.

Horizon's ecoBase has yet to be used as a repository for the 5-Minute Bird Count or Distance data as stated in 2005. We are still to decide how we will record and store State of the Environment biodiversity information.

Horizon's official policy is to cease using Access databases, but as yet there are no funded plans to migrate the data elsewhere. We will keep it going in Access for the time being.

ecoBase is thoroughly described in the 2005 Survey of Regional Council Biodatabases in the References section.

Join the discussion on Horizons' ecoBase.


James Lambie

Horizons Regional Council
11-15 Victoria Avenue
Palmerston North 4410New Zealand