New publication: Environmental Gap Analysis to Prioritize Conservation Efforts in Eastern Africa

Breugel2015Just got an article out in PlosOne. Analysis were carried out and maps and figures created using a stack of open source tools, including GRASS GIS, R, and QGIS. The article addresses the question whether protected areas in Eastern Africa are representative of the diverse range of species and habitats found in the region and whether they protect those areas where biodiversity is threatened most? The paper uses a recently developed high-resolution potential natural vegetation (PNV) map for eastern Africa as a baseline to more effectively identify conservation priorities. It examines how well different potential natural vegetations (PNVs) are represented in the protected area (PA) network of eastern Africa and used a multivariate environmental similarity index to evaluate biases in PA versus PNV coverage. In addition, levels of threat to different PNVs are assessed. Results indicate substantial differences in the conservation status of PNVs and particular PNVs in which biodiversity protection and ecological functions are at risk due to human influences are revealed. The data and approach presented here provide a step forward in developing more transparent and better informed translation from global priorities to regional or national implementation in eastern Africa, and are valid for other geographic regions.

Citation: van Breugel P., R. Kindt, J.-P.B. Lillesø, M. van Breugel (2015) Environmental Gap Analysis to Prioritize Conservation Efforts in Eastern Africa. PLoS ONE 10(4): e0121444. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0121444

UK to adopt ODF as standard format

This could be an important move, the UK adopts ODF as standard format for government documents. Stated reasons; the open standards will reduce the cost incurred by users and it will be easier for them to work with the government when they use ODF.

Perhaps this may also compel Google to support ODF in Google Docs (ironically, the latest MS Office products seems to support ODF better than Google Docs, but anyway..).

Reverb makes it easy to find and download satellite data

If you need MODIS satellite data, you should check Nasa’s Reverb web portal. It is a, and I quote, “next generation metadata and service discovery tool”. But, as it turns out, is is already available for our generation ;-), just head over to

It has indeed a fairly convenient interface in the form of an online map. You just zoom in to the area of interest and than click and drag a bounding rectangle.
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What if Google decides to discontinue Google Scholar?

Since Google discontinued Google reader I have always been wondering; what if they decide to stop with Google Scholar? If you are lucky enough to have access to an university library, you should be fine. But there are also a number of freely available alternatives. Just checking my bookmarks gave me gave me the list below. None of these tools have been able to convince me to abandon Google Scholar (to be completely fair, I haven’t tried them all out extensively), but at least if Google decides to kill of Scholar, I have somewhere else to go: Continue reading

Check out this article ‘Let the four freedoms paradigm apply to ecology’ (but don’t get it from ScienceDirect)

There is an interesting letter (Let the four freedoms paradigm apply to ecology) in Trends in Ecology and Evolution by Duccio Rocchini and Markus Neteler arguing that science should use open source software. Basically, using open source software will help researchers to test, reproduce and build upon work of others, while being (more) sure that the code / algorithms they are using are robust and reliable. Continue reading