Evaluation of the Dutch Caribbean Biodiversity Database: user perspectives

The Dutch Caribbean Biodiversity Database (DCBD; is a nature and biodiversity web-platform for the Dutch Caribbean funded by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV). It was initiated in 2010 as a central knowledge store, and its original intent was primarily around guaranteeing long-term data availability in an environment that experiences a high turnover in project funds and personnel.

The DCBD has been in existence for a decade now. It allows users to assess the status of ecosystems, species, threats and pressures; to explore spatial data on biophysical, socio-economic, ecological and topographical properties; to navigate a listing of biodiversity and ecosystem-based information portals; and to search in a library for reports, journal articles, documents and raw data. A selection of the data and accompanying references on DCBD have also been synthesised and developed into indicator catalogues for management and policy making, which can inform reporting obligations based on (inter)national treaties, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The scope of the DCBD has therefore broadened as one initially intended primarily for data rescue to one that now provides a platform situated at the policy-science interface: for policy making on nature management and spatial planning decisions, and for science in exchange of research information.

The aim of this project is to evaluate the existing DCBD given this evolution to changing circumstances, with a view to understanding strategic directions for its future development. We evaluate user perspectives on:

  • Its use, organization and dissemination of information
  • Potential gaps in content, particularly for policy making application
  • Potential future needs.

Key findings:

  • The Dutch Caribbean Biodiversity Database (DCBD) has evolved from its original intent of mainly data rescue to fulfil a broader range of local and national policy needs
  • DCBD remains a critical data repository for almost 20% of its users
  • DCBD has an encouraging pipeline of new and experienced users which can leverage a vibrant community of practice for nature inclusive activities on the islands
  • DCBD should remain positioned as a source of credible and scientifically-robust evidence for decision making
  • DCDB is positioned in a local niche to meet the needs of the Dutch Caribbean – local is lekker
  • Broader cross-sector awareness and dissemination is viewed as a priority strategic direction for DCBD
  • Existing users are well-positioned to help leverage growth in public awareness and dissemination
  • A structured maintenance and update plan is required
  • Technical challenges highlighted by the respondents were mainly around the website search function and language access

Key recommendations:

  • Maintenance, updates and user-friendliness of website
  • Systematic development of monitoring indicators and factsheets to support policy and decision making
  • Broaden the awareness and dissemination of DCBD to local communities and policy and science audienc
Data type
Research report
Education and outreach
Research and monitoring
Geographic location
Saba bank
St. Eustatius
St. Maarten