An occurrence data set for invasive and naturalized alien plants in India

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Research Article

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India has numerous invasive alien plant species (IAPSs), which seriously impact biodiversity, ecosystem services, and economic development. The availability of reliable occurrence records of IAPSs is of great importance for their successful management, prediction of distribution across time and space, and other research and development efforts. Global databases of occurrence data, like the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), are often not exhaustive, especially for India, and poorly represent the actual distribution of IAPSs in the country. Our objective in creating this data set was threefold: (1) to compile occurrence data for the invasive and naturalized alien plant species of India, (2) to collect spatial and temporal information associated with occurrence records, and (3) to share the data in an accessible format so every record is traceable to its sources and allow users to submit data to increase the resolution of the data set. To achieve these objectives, we extracted data from 3137 literature records and 357 herbarium sheets. For each occurrence record, we curated information for 20 variables, which were arranged in a table with the Darwin Core (DwC) terms as column names. All data were subjected to technical validation before being included in the database. A total of 12,347 occurrence records were obtained for 362 species (195 invasive aliens and 167 naturalized aliens). The number of collected occurrence records was much higher for the invasive aliens (73.7%) than for the naturalized alien species (26.3%). Our data set will supplement the GBIF data by 60.39%, and occurrence records will be added for 64 invasive and naturalized alien plant species. The data set, as a part of the larger database of the Indian Alien Flora Information (ILORA) database, is made available without any restrictions on use as long as this data paper is properly cited. We have also made provisions for users to submit occurrence-related data following a data standard. The users are encouraged to cite the original reference when using a specific data record. The data set is expected to assist a wide range of stakeholders involved in India's scientific research, policy formulation, and decision-making related to IAPSs.



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