Using social media records to inform conservation planning

Shawan Chowdhury, Richard A. Fuller, Sultan Ahmed, Shofiul Alam, Corey T. Callaghan, Priyanka Das, Ricardo A. Correia, Moreno Di Marco, Enrico Di Minin, Ivan Jarić, Mahzabin Muzahid Labi, Richard J. Ladle, M. Rokonuzzaman, Uri Roll, Valerio Sbragaglia, Asma Siddika, Aletta Bonn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Citizen science plays a crucial role in helping monitor biodiversity and inform conservation. With the widespread use of smartphones, many people share biodiversity information on social media, but this information is still not widely used in conservation. Focusing on Bangladesh, a tropical megadiverse and mega-populated country, we examined the importance of social media records in conservation decision-making. We collated species distribution records for birds and butterflies from Facebook and Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), grouped them into GBIF-only and combined GBIF and Facebook data, and investigated the differences in identifying critical conservation areas. Adding Facebook data to GBIF data improved the accuracy of systematic conservation planning assessments by identifying additional important conservation areas in the northwest, southeast, and central parts of Bangladesh, extending priority conservation areas by 4,000–10,000 km2. Community efforts are needed to drive the implementation of the ambitious Kunming–Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework targets, especially in megadiverse tropical countries with a lack of reliable and up-to-date species distribution data. We highlight that conservation planning can be enhanced by including available data gathered from social media platforms.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14161
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2024


  • Bangladesh
  • Wallacean shortfall
  • ciencia ciudadana
  • citizen science
  • conservation planning
  • crowdsourcing
  • déficit wallaceano
  • iEcology
  • megadiverse countries
  • países megadiversos
  • planeación de la conservación
  • protected area
  • redes sociales
  • social media
  • tropics
  • trópicos
  • área protegida
  • 众包
  • 保护地
  • 保护规划
  • 公民科学
  • 华莱士知识空缺
  • 孟加拉国
  • 热带
  • 社交媒体
  • 高生物多样性国家

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Ecology


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