Monday, March 15, 2010

TEAM (2): another failure

When I wrote my blog about the perils of taking polluter's money, I thought that I have to go back to check on TEAM, the Tropical Ecology Assessment & Monitoring Network, a large scale initiative announced five years ago with great fanfare by Conservation Commons, one of the conservation NGO's explicitely criticized in Hari's article in the Nation. In June 2006 I wrote a comment on TEAM, and ended, specifically regarding ants " I can not see, that this (...) TEAM project has a chance to florish".

Ants are out, and do not exist anymore.

The project is far from what it wanted to be, a global monitoring project to be able to separate global from regional and local events and trends. It has now only 9 sites on three continents active abut an impressive list of 148 team members. There is even Data to be downloaded, eg. Camera Trap Data, the latest from 2006 - not really a sign of an active project. From the 9 sites there is only data from 5 to be downloaded from the "Data Query and Download" page.

If I remember right, TEAM had a stall at the last year's E-biosphere meeting in London at one of the most prominent positions.

Unfortunately, this what I consider a dismal state of such a large scale projects confirms my fears and suspicion, that Conservation International did, what it can best, attracting big funding but with little understanding of the nitty-gritty to run successfully such large scale monitoring programs. It also shows nicely what has been discussed within the Conservation Commons, that the big heavy weight members of this initiative are all but sharing data - the mission of the Conservation Commons.