The site is an essential tool for professionals, as well as NGOs, working in the field of biodiversity and environmental management. It is a unique source of knowledge that is already delivering targeted conservation results and which supports in preventing and mitigating environmental problems. The system also provides a simple and secure way for nature enthusiasts to keep track of, and analyse, their own findings as well as being a meeting place for discussing these observations.
Artportalen is developed and operated by the Swedish Species Information Centre (ArtDatabanken) at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, on behalf of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.
Reporters consist largely of the nature enthusiasts from the general public but also professional conservation officials, researchers and other workers who collect observation data as part of their work. Together they gather the basic data for the database. Through their enthusiasm and efforts a unique, and for Swedish environmental management, a significant knowledge base of the flora and fauna exists. The large, and rapidly increasing, number of sightings of both common and rare species gathered together in one database make it simple to assess biodiversity throughout Sweden and to plan and undertake appropriate conservation measures. Moreover, future threats can be projected by studying species changes over time.
Common Knowledge and Citizen Science
Artportalen helps to stimulate increased interest towards the flora and fauna, and biodiversity. The system often increases the user's species knowledge which in turn can lead to increased interest in, and understanding of, conservation and species protection. By making it a pleasure to share one's observations, we hope that more people make a trip into the countryside to search for, to find, and to report their sightings to the Swedish Species Gateway - and thus contribute to better understanding of the biodiversity of Sweden and improved environmental management. Citizen science at its best.
Reporters of observations can use the system as their own data store and the functionality within the database to inspect, analyse and share their data. However, the Swedish Species Observations System is utilized by many authorities, for example all country councils, Swedish Forest Agency (Skogsstyrelsen) or Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket). Agencies use Artportalen daily and continuously, both for reporting (to store observation data) and searches. Artportalen is for many organisations the primary (often the only) location for observations that local authorities generate during their own inventories, environmental monitoring and following-up activities. Searches are done both directly in Artportalen and indirectly through the local authorities and agencies "Artportalen interface". This uses the Analysis Web service portal where Artportalen is the main data source.
Searches from the Artportalen are made routinely in all cases involving nature conservation. Local authorities also use Artportalen in, amongst others, protection measures and action programmes for threatened species, or environmental monitoring. In all of these the data in Artportalen is of great importance for informed decision making. As the observational data is gathered, and streamlined, in one database external stakeholders can also see the data underpinning decisions by authorities and agencies.
Approximately 90% of users originate from within Sweden. But in 2015 the database was accessed from 172 different countries and from 153 in the first six months of 2016 (source: Google Analytics).