I’d like a list of plants that are native in Tanzania. That doesn’t sound to difficult right?

I’ve come across this checklist:

It’s got a spelling mistake, and the IPT behind it appears to be offline: TanBIF IPT

Is there any way I could still get at the data behind it? Preston perhaps? @jhpoelen

Hi @pieter -

I just checked linker.bio’s access badge using the GBIF dataset uuid of the Tanzania Plant Specimens dataset at https://linker.bio/badge/urn:uuid:ac7b4266-e725-4088-a767-bb6d33c2c631 and found . . . “no access”


Retrieving provenance information via the (cryptic?) https response headers using:

curl -I\


HTTP/1.1 404 Not Found
Server: nginx/1.18.0 (Ubuntu)
Date: Tue, 06 Feb 2024 10:27:41 GMT
Content-Type: image/svg+xml
Content-Length: 1301
Connection: keep-alive
Content-Location: http://www.tanbif.or.tz/ipt/archive.do?r=tanzania_plant_sepecimens
X-UUID: urn:uuid:ac7b4266-e725-4088-a767-bb6d33c2c631
X-DOI: https://doi.org/10.15468/aje5t8
X-PROV-wasInfluencedBy: urn:uuid:ac7b4266-e725-4088-a767-bb6d33c2c631 https://doi.org/10.15468/aje5t8
X-PROV-wasGeneratedBy: urn:uuid:4fa3066d-cbf5-4a3f-8e9a-cd79eee92653
X-PROV-generatedAtTime: 2024-01-03T20:36:08.7Z
X-DC-format: application/dwca
X-PROV-hadPrimarySource: hash://sha256/1372e88315a5deb364206956b2dcc08df71cc0754fbd520ba2fbe66a34910d28
Access-Control-Allow-Origin: *
Access-Control-Allow-Methods: GET, OPTIONS
Access-Control-Allow-Headers: DNT,User-Agent,X-Requested-With,If-Modified-Since,Cache-Control,Content-Type,Range
Access-Control-Expose-Headers: Content-Length,Content-Range

Meaning that the resource is actively tracked by linker.bio/preston ('cause it is registered with GBIF), and, unfortunately, has likely been offline ever since Preston started monitoring GBIF registered datasets in 2018/2019.

To me, this is yet another example of link rot (Elliott et al. 2020/2023) and why keeping copies of these valuable data seems like a good idea.

Perhaps GBIF is keeping original copies somewhere . . .

Hope this helps,


Elliott M.J., Poelen J.H., Fortes J.A.B. (2020). Toward Reliable Biodiversity Dataset References. Ecological Informatics. Redirecting hash://sha256/136c3c1808bcf463bb04b11622bb2e7b5fba28f5be1fc258c5ea55b3b84f482c

Elliott M.J., Poelen, J.H. & Fortes, J.A.B. (2023) Signing data citations enables data verification and citation persistence. Sci Data. Signing data citations enables data verification and citation persistence | Scientific Data hash://sha256/f849c870565f608899f183ca261365dce9c9f1c5441b1c779e0db49df9c2a19d

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That’s a real shame, perhaps something might still come up. Otherwise I’ll get in contact with the authors.

Not sure if you found this already: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/aje.12249 but I imagine that is the basis of the dataset.

This might be another useful starting point, for trees at least: https://www.tfs.go.tz/uploads/natural_forests/Tree_Species_List_for_Tanzania.pdf

@pieter While the discussion about data persistence is interesting, I’m not sure this addresses what I take to be your actual goal, namely getting a list of plants in Tanzania. The data set that has vanished only included material in the National Herbarium of Tanzania, but I suspect that data on Tanzania is distributed across many herbaria and hence any one institution is unlikely to have a full list of species.

Have you tried New feature: download lists of distinct species contained in occurrence searches? This should retrieve a list of all taxa recorded in Tanzania (you can restrict the search to whatever taxonomic group matches your definition of “plants”). One drawback is this list will include non-native species as well. Perhaps you could compare the lists here: Search. Another way to check might be via the Plants of the World https://powo.science.kew.org which has data on whether species are native to particular areas.

Apologies if you’ve thought of all this already. I think it’s one of the biggest weakness of GBIF is that it often fails to make it easy to answer fairly straightforward questions (or at least, questions that feel like they should be straightforward).

Oops, duplicate post. I got a 500 error from the forum and clicked “Reply” again :man_facepalming:

You can always delete the duplicate post :slight_smile:

Sorry, this definitely seems to be related to the Discourse ActivityPub plugin. I’ve disabled federation for the Data Use category for now.

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Tried on my laptop and couldn’t see an option to do that (was in a bit of a rush). Trying again on mobile and it’s obvious, so I’ve deleted the first post.

@sformel thanks for the references, I appreciate you looking into it!

@rdmpage I’m aware of the species list export, it’s very handy!

My real question is a bit more complex, I have a few occurrences in Tanzania, and I want to know if they are native or not, and if not, if they are in neighbouring countries. I like to think about it a bit like this:

graph TD;
    A -->Alien[Non Naitive]
    Alien --> Neighbor
    A --> Native
    Native --> Endemic
    Native --> NE[Non Endemic]
    NE --> Neighbor[Neighbouring Countries]
    Neighbor --> A

My original plan was to pull all checklists that these taxa appear in, and check their descriptions and distribution information for native ranges. But this has turned out to be quite the data cleaning mess. I’ve made significant progress in parsing all these checklists, and am starting to feel that if I ever finish I should probably just publish this as a separate work.

Then I went looking (again) for a golden truth checklist (GRIIS?) that I can use as a reference for native and non native taxa for Tanzania, this is where this post came in.

I’ve been aware of the Kew Plants of the World data all along, and it is one of the sources i had in plan A, I am now considering just using it as a ground truth.

I’m finding this a lot more challenging for African countries then I would for European countries, because there is so much less data available, checklists are space and have large data gaps. But this makes me feel my efforts are worthwhile. Especially when it comes to establishmentMeans for non native taxa finding information is difficult.

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This is pretty much the fate of every project I start… :man_facepalming:

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