The National Biodiversity Data Bank (NBDB) was established in 1990 as a direct response to conservationists’ need to have readily available data and information regarding the country’s biodiversity, so as to inform decision making processes in Uganda that would affect biodiversity and the environment as a whole. It was agreed that Makerere University would be the ideal place for its home.
With initial funding from USAID, the unit was established in Makerere University at the then Institute of Environment and Natural Resources (MUIENR) that would then act as a central repository for biodiversity data and information. As a result of the university restructuring, the NBDB since 2010 is now under the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and is hosted within the Department of Environmental Management.
From the time of inception, the NBDB collected vast amounts of biological records and other relevant content in hard copy format. These included:
(i) Species checklists for various taxa: higher plants, insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
(ii) Georeferenced species locality records.
(iii) Topographic maps at various scales.
(iv) Maps with information affecting biological distributions e.g., rainfall, altitude, vegetation cover, and land use. With time, a database application, called Biodiversity Data Bank (BDB), was developed on a FoxPro for Windows Platform, a Relational Database Management Systems. It is that application which now contains the records that had been collated and new ones that the NBDB has continued to collate.
To date, BDB application contains:
(i) Over 8,000 species entries that include taxonomy, regional and global conservation status, habitat specialism, breeding and growth form
(ii) About 140,000 georeferenced species locality including dates of recording, abundance, habitat information and recorders/observers’ information
(iii) A gazetteer file with about 7,000 entries of places of biological recording with geographic coordinates (iv) Data on protected areas and administrative units
(v) Data on environmental and climatic variables
(vi) Citations where these have been used to computerize species data
(vii) Publications and reports based on the available datasets e.g. State of Uganda’s Biodiversity (2000 to 2017), The Bird Atlas of Uganda (2005) and The East African Bat Atlas (2009)