Access and Guidelines


SANBI promotes the principles of free and easy access to information, as enshrined in our constitution. To ensure a responsible response to this obligation we are in the process of completing our Biodiversity Information Policy Framework, released in March 2010. The framework provides the norms and standards for managing biodiversity information.

SANBI will ensure that biodiversity information under its ownership and/or curatorship that are not considered sensitive and not subjected to intellectual property rights restrictions, are made freely available through the Biodiversity Advisor.

What information may be considered sensitive?

The term “sensitive data” refers to any information about sensitive taxa that could result in over-collecting, over-exploitation, and unsustainable commercial and/or medicinal use, or the extinction or potential extinction of such taxa.

Sensitive data includes the following:

  • Data on population sizes or numbers of a sensitive taxon or its populations that might influence the rarity value or commercial value of the taxon.
  • Data about the habitat and ecosystem of a sensitive taxon that may allow the locality of the taxon to be inferred.
  • Geo-referenced data about a sensitive taxon (including precise locational data, descriptions of locations and/or localities and point locality co-ordinates) that may allow a population to be located.
  • Records of specimens in collections or observation records (including the name of the collector, the collector specimen number, taxon identity, the locality description, co-ordinates more precise than a quarter-degree-square, population size, date of collection, collector of the specimen/s, and any habitat information associated with the specimen/s) that, with analysis, may allow a population to be located. The record may refer to a single specimen, or a sample, which includes several or many specimens with identical collecting details. All specimen/observation records for a sensitive taxon, no matter when collected, are equally restricted.

Conditions of use for information

Please note that whilst the data is freely available, it’s copyright still vests with SANBI and/or the creator of the information. The right to use the information is granted, not the rights to ownership.

Information supplied by SANBI, in any format, through any media, may not be sold in whole or in part. The information may be used to inform an opinion, recommendation, interpretation, conclusion and/or policy as a derivate product and/or service. SANBI will not be held liable for any opinion, recommendation, interpretation, conclusion and/or policy derived through the use of its information. It is therefore the responsibility of the user to understand the limitations and opportunities of using the available biodiversity information.

Useful documents relating to Sensitive Species

Other useful documents