Taxonomic Order, Disorder, and Governance

Stijn Conix, Stephen T. Garnett, Frank E. Zachos, Les Christidis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Even though (some) species lists are in a state of disorder, they are extensively used by scientists, policymakers, and international organisations. This chapter considers two ways of alleviating the problems that taxonomic disorder causes for these users of taxonomy: a ‘guided approach’ to taxonomic knowledge and a ‘facilitating approach’ to taxonomic knowledge. In the guided approach, specialists construct a single authoritative list that all users can adopt; in the facilitating approach, users have to navigate the complexity of taxonomic knowledge themselves but have a layer of metadata to help them do this. We argue that currently, the facilitating approach is in place but does not (yet) function optimally. We show that pursuing the guided approach to complement the current facilitating approach can alleviate the limitations of the latter and suggest how this can be done.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpecies Problems and Beyond
Subtitle of host publicationContemporary Issues in Philosophy and Practice
EditorsJohn Wilkins, Frank E. Zachos, Igor Ya. Pavlinov
Place of PublicationBoca Raton
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781000549799
ISBN (Print)9780367425371
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

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