We mined the information of an exhaustive standardized historical survey developed in 628 localities across Spain between 1574 and 1582 (Relaciones Topográficas de Felipe II) with the goal of producing a rigorous national inventory of the socio-economic status and natural resources of Spanish settlements. The survey includes records of plant and animal species, both wild and domestic. We were able to collate 7,309 records for 75 wild plant taxa, 89 wild animal taxa, and 60 crop and domestic animal taxa. These data can be used to reconstruct historical land use and habitat cover, and model historical distributions of many species, including emblematic ones such as wolf and bear, which can establish reference distributions to assess range and niche expansion, contraction and shifts.
The data in this sampling event resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 628 records.
1 extension data tables also exist. An extension record supplies extra information about a core record. The number of records in each extension data table is illustrated below.
This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for download in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.
The table below shows only published versions of the resource that are publicly accessible.
How to cite
Researchers should cite this work as follows:
Viana D, Blanco-Garrido F, Delibes M, Clavero M (2023). A biodiversity inventory of the 16th century based on a land and socio-economic survey in Spain. Version 1.5. Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC). Samplingevent dataset. https://doi.org/10.15470/sqvd69
Researchers should respect the following rights statement:
The publisher and rights holder of this work is Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC-BY-NC 4.0) License.
This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: 49304fda-fd0b-4ae8-9747-89c508d60aee. Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC) publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by GBIF Spain.
Samplingevent; occurrence; Spain; 16th century; survey; historical ecology; species distributions; land use; citizen science
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This area in mainland Spain was part of the old Reign of Castile, and currently includes (parts of) the provinces of Valencia, Alicante, Murcia, Cuenca, Albacete, Ciudad Real, Toledo, Madrid, Guadalajara, Salamanca, Cáceres, Badajoz, and Jaén.
|Bounding Coordinates||South West [37.22, -7.377], North East [41.642, -0.318]|
Plants commonly identified by people with knowledge of the territory and natural resources.
Vertebrates commonly identified by people with knowledge of the territory and natural resources, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and fishes.
|Start Date / End Date||1574-01-01 / 1582-12-31|
The project SUMHAL aims at implementing a strategy for biodiversity conservation in the western Mediterranean hotspot by setting a technologically efficient and scientifically robust system. The project combines fieldwork and virtual research environments for the recording, storing, analysis, and dissemination of the conservation status and threats of biodiversity in Andalusia (Southern Spain). The general aim of WP3 is to explore venues on how to mobilize, harmonize and disseminate historical information on biodiversity and its management in order to generate reference conditions for conservation, improve research and enhance its interface with management. Accurate and abundant historical information is provided by governmental and citizen initiatives, conserved in diverse formats, most of which is neither published nor readily available for researchers or managers. SUMHAL’s WP3 aims to produce useful information for the conservation of biodiversity by mobilizing information with three main focuses: 1) gathering historical species occurrence records; 2) inventorying damages produced by animals on human activities or goods; and 3) inventorying management actions and results in protected areas.
|Title||Sustainability for Mediterranean Hotspots in Andalusia integrating LifeWatch ERIC (SUMHAL). Work package 3 (WP3): Exploring ways to generate, mobilize and disseminate long-term biodiversity information: from conservation baselines to management assessments|
|Identifier||LIFEWATCH-2019-09-CSIC-4, POPE 2014-2020|
|Funding||This study was funded by MICINN through European Regional Development Fund [SUMHAL, LIFEWATCH-2019-09-CSIC-13, POPE 2014-2020]. To be referred from 2023 onwards as SUMHAL, LIFEWATCH-2019-09-CSIC-4, POPE 2014-2020.|
|Study Area Description||The vision of the WP is that the proposed exploratory examples (here covering Spain) will serve as a basis for the mobilization and distribution of historical information on biodiversity and its management at the Andalusian, Spanish, European and global levels.|
|Design Description||The specific aims of the work package are: Task 1. Design, generate and provide content for a repository of historical information on biodiversity. Task 2. Demonstrate the utility of the approach by defining baselines for the conservation of species and ecosystems. Task 3. Distribute and syndicate the information generated in regional, national and international platforms.|
The personnel involved in the project:
The Relaciones Topográficas (literally, topographic accounts) were a series of questionnaires distributed through Spanish villages between 1574 and 1582, during the reign of Philip II. There were three different versions of the questionnaire (issued in 1574, 1575 and 1578), all of which asked about a diversity of matters, including living means, social organization and history. Some questions directly addressed the availability and exploitation of natural resources. For example, in the 1575 questionnaire chapter (i.e. question) 18 asked about the abundance and species identities of firewood and forests and about wild fauna, while chapter 21 asked about fish and fisheries and chapter 24 demanded a description of hunting and fishing grounds. Chapters 21 and 26 were the main sources of information about crops and livestock. Chapter 39 provided some useful site descriptors (see "dyanmicProperties" in the "Variable information" section), including the number of houses and households in the village and the estimation of the temporal trend of human population. The information requested in the 1574 and 1578 versions of the questionnaire was comparable to that of the 1575 version, in spite of the changes in the organization of the chapters (see the full formulation of questionnaires in Campos y Fernández de Sevilla, 2003). The questionnaires were accompanied by clear instructions on how they should be implemented. They had to be responded by at least two ‘intelligent and inquisitive’ locals, and the information provided should be as much ‘complete and true as possible’. Respondents had to read each question carefully, respond and transcribe the responses (often by scribes, since very few respondents could read or write) and re-read the questions and answers to make sure that no relevant information had been left unmentioned. The 637 Relaciones Topográficas that have been conserved and found describe villages in central and southern Spain. Although we examined these 18th century copies to fill some information gaps, our main information sources were the following published transcriptions: - Alvar-Ezquerra, A. 1993. Relaciones topográficas de Felipe II: Madrid. 3 vols. Editorial Tecnos, Madrid. - Cebrián, A. and J. Cano, J. 1992. Relaciones Topográficas de los pueblos del Reino de Murcia. Estudio y transcripción. Universidad de Murcia, Murcia - Díaz, L. R. V. and R. G. Serrano. 1976. Relación de los pueblos de Jaén, de Felipe II. Boletín del Instituto de Estudios Giennenses 88: 9-304. - García-López, J. C. and M. Pérez-Villamil. 2000. Relaciones topográficas de la provincia de Guadalajara. CD-ROM. Diputación Provincial, Guadalajara. Note: this is a compilation of the transcriptions made by the authors, which were published between 1903 and 1915. - Ortega, J. 1918. Relaciones Topográficas de los Pueblos de España. Lo más interesante de ellos. Madrid Note: available online at the virtual library of the Castilla y León region (http://bibliotecadigital.jcyl.es/i18n/consulta/registro.cmd?id=2367). Note: this work presents incomplete transcriptions, selecting the information that the author considered “most interesting”. It was used only when we could not examine directly the full Relaciones Topográficas account for a given village (14 villages in total). - Viñas, C. and R. Paz. 1951. Relaciones histórico-geográfico-estadísticas de los pueblos de España hechas por iniciativa de Felipe II: Reino de Toledo. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid. - Viñas, C. and R. Paz. 1971. Relaciones histórico-geográfico-estadísticas de los pueblos de España hechas por iniciativa de Felipe II: Ciudad-Real. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid.
|Study Extent||The data were collected in continental Spain between 1574 and 1582|
|Quality Control||The following limitations should be considered when analyzing and interpreting these data: - species (or higher taxa) occurrence records were reported by citizens (non-experts) in the 16th century. Identification errors and variable vernacular names might lead to wrong interpretations and false presence records. Further, these records were extracted from text copies and transcriptions, and interpreted by us, which introduces an extra level of potential error. Note, however, that the transcriptions were made by historians who did not interpret the original texts, always reporting the original names of the organisms mentioned in the responses. For example, the 9 mentions of the red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), used the terms "arda" or "harda", and none of the transcriptions had transformed them to the present-day common name "ardilla"; - the species occurrence data should be interpreted as presence-only, meaning that absences can be due to unreported species (but see Clavero and Hermoso 2015 for how these data can be used to obtain more informed guesses of absences); - the quality and level of detail provided in the inventories varied across localities. The inventory is not an exhaustive list of species, but rather a list of species of interest for the local human populations (such as crops and wild plants with some kind of use, firewood, game, conflictive wild species); - the geographical coordinates provided for each locality correspond to a point (roughly the centroid of the village) within a larger region encompassing the area used by local people, extending most probably outside the village boundaries. Still, the following quality aspects should be highlighted: - the species covered in the dataset are generally part of popular culture and thus easily identified, as most of the species mentioned were either noteworthy in the surrounding landscapes (e.g. common shrubs and trees), directly exploited (game, fisheries, trees, or plants with some kind of use) or conflictive (e.g. mammalian carnivores); - the people who responded to the questionnaires lived from and interacted with their natural resources, for which it can argued that they transmitted first-hand information; - the data have been carefully verified by independent collators. Verifications took place over different phases of the data mining process: (1) the elaboration of the final list of species (or higher-level taxa) was agreed between different experts (the four authors), although many vernacular names were excluded due to the impossibility of assigning a species; (2) the georeferentiation of the surveyed localities (sampling events) was verified by another person; (3) the final formatting according to GBIF standards was verified by a GBIF expert (Katia Cezón); - the data are overall consistent with expert knowledge (e.g. according to their ecological niche and potential distributions). Note, however, that this consistency is a very general expectation derived from our current knowledge of the species. For example, we think it is fair to assume that brown bears should not occur in arid areas with scarce vegetation. This is what we observe: this species occurred throughout the surveyed area (where it is extinct nowadays) but in areas with more trees and generally of higher elevation (Fig. 2). - data from Relaciones Topográficas have already been used for research and published in peer-reviewed journals (see below).|
Method step description:
- Procedure to extract and derive data: i. Extraction of relevant information from the bibliographic sources (available transcriptions and the 18th-century copy of Relaciones Topográficas) by manually screening the transcriptions of the responses and recording relevant information in a digital spreadsheet, including flora and fauna, as well as environmental, landscape, and socio-economic descriptors at each location (i.e. each sampling event). ii. Georeference each sampling event (i.e., each location) by searching for the location based on its current name (https://dialnet.unirioja.es/descarga/articulo/876263.pdf) and recording the geographical coordinates of its centroid. This was done using Google Earth. Most of the toponymic work of finding current names has been previously done (Campos y Fernández de Sevilla 2003), which facilitated our georeferencing work. However, 46 villages surveyed in the original Relaciones Topográficas no longer exist. In these cases, we focused on specific questions asking about which were the nearest populations towards the four points of the compass, and how far they were (e.g. question 13 from the 1975 questionnaire: the name of the first village found going towards the rising sun and the distance to it (“diga el nombre del primer pueblo que hubiese, yendo (…) hacia donde el sol sale, y las leguas que hasta él hubiese”). We used Google Earth to locate structures compatible with old population nuclei attending at the distances from the neighboring populations. In the few cases in which these structural clues were not found, we calculated the original village placement directly attending to the distances to neighboring populations. iii. Harmonise all the taxonomy by searching for synonyms of vernacular names and assigning them a unique scientific name based of the GBIF's taxonomic backbone. When records could not be identified to the species level, the lowest possible taxonomic level was assigned (e.g., genus, family, order). Vague terms implying taxonomic levels higher than order were discarded (e.g., "birds", "fish", "fruit trees"). iv. Reformat data according to GBIF's standards and compile the data using the Darwin Core Standard. The data were compiled and published using the Spanish Integrated Publishing Toolkit (IPT; https://ipt.gbif.es/).
- Alvar-Ezquerra, A. 1993. Relaciones topográficas de Felipe II: Madrid. 3 vols. Editorial Tecnos, Madrid.
- Cebrián, A. and J. Cano, J. 1992. Relaciones Topográficas de los pueblos del Reino de Murcia. Estudio y transcripción. Universidad de Murcia, Murcia
- Díaz, L. R. V. and R. G. Serrano. 1976. Relación de los pueblos de Jaén, de Felipe II. Boletín del Instituto de Estudios Giennenses 88: 9-304.
- García-López, J. C. and M. Pérez-Villamil. 2000. Relaciones topográficas de la provincia de Guadalajara. CD-ROM. Diputación Provincial, Guadalajara. Note: this is a compilation of the transcriptions made by the authors, which were published between 1903 and 1915. The complete texts of these transcriptions are available online at the virtual library of the University of Castilla-La Mancha http://www.uclm.es/ceclm/b_virtual/libros/relaciones_gu/index.htm
- Ortega, J. 1918. Relaciones Topográficas de los Pueblos de España. Lo más interesante de ellos. Madrid Note: available online at the virtual library of the Castilla y León region. Note: this work presents incomplete transcriptions, selecting the information that the author considered “most interesting”. It was used only when we could not examine directly the full Relaciones Topográficas account for a given village. http://bibliotecadigital.jcyl.es/i18n/consulta/registro.cmd?id=2367
- Viñas, C. and R. Paz. 1951. Relaciones histórico-geográfico-estadísticas de los pueblos de España hechas por iniciativa de Felipe II: Reino de Toledo. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid. Note: available online at the virtual library of the University of Castilla-La Mancha http://www.uclm.es/ceclm/b_virtual/libros/Relaciones_Toledo/index.htm
- Viñas, C. and R. Paz. 1971. Relaciones histórico-geográfico-estadísticas de los pueblos de España hechas por iniciativa de Felipe II: Ciudad-Real. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid. Note: available online at the virtual library of the University of Castilla-La Mancha http://www.uclm.es/ceclm/b_virtual/libros/Relaciones_CR/index.htm
- Campos y Fernández de Sevilla, F. J. 2003. Las Relaciones Topográficas de Felipe II: Índices, fuentes y bibliografía. Alicante: Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes; Madrid: Biblioteca Nacional, 2010. https://www.cervantesvirtual.com/nd/ark:/59851/bmcs75z7
List of variables and respective descriptions 1. Data "Events": > EventID: the unique identifier of the site (numeric identifier) > decimalLongitude: longitude of the site in decimal degrees (unprojected WGS84; georeferenced in Google Earth) > decimalLatitude: latitude of the site in decimal degrees (unprojected WGS84; georeferenced in Google Earth) > verbatimLocality: the name of the site as mentioned in the original bibliographic source (Campos y Fernández de Sevilla 2003) > Locality: the current name of the site (village or town). The missing data (empty field) correspond to the settlements (named in verbatimLocality) that no longer exist. > eventDate: the year in which the interviews took place > eventRemarks: the bibliographic source transcribing or copying (18th century copy at the Spanish Royal Academy of History) the Relaciones Topográficas. It usually corresponds to a current Spanish province, but some are old designations of political divisions (such as a specific reign). > geodeticDatum: the geodetic datum of the site´s geographical coordinates > locationID: equal to the EventID (but preceded by "site"; character identifier) > country: the country where the data were collected > countryCode: the international code of the country where the data were collected > samplingProtocol: a brief reference to the sampling protocol (in this case, the data were extracted from a national inventory) > dynamicProperties: general site descriptors of interest (separated by commas), also extracted from the same data sources. These include: - Wood: wood availability around the site (1, very scarce; 2, few; 3, some or sufficient; 4, abundant; 5, very abundant; NA, missing data) as classified based on the original descriptions (Question 18) - Game: wild game availability around the site (1, very scarce; 2, few; 3, some or sufficient; 4, abundant; 5, very abundant; NA, missing data) as classified based on the original descriptions (Question 18) - Houses_number: the number of houses in the site (Question 39) - Households_number: the number of households in the village (Question 39) - Population_trend: a qualitative estimation of the temporal trend of the human population size (decreasing, stable, or increasing), as reported in the original descriptions (Question 39) 2. Data "Occurrences": > EventID: the unique identifier of the site (numeric identifier) > decimalLongitude: longitude of the site in decimal degrees (unprojected WGS84; georeferenced in Google Earth) > decimalLatitude: latitude of the site in decimal degrees (unprojected WGS84; georeferenced in Google Earth) > eventDate: the year in which the interview took place > scientificName: the scientific name of the reported taxa assigned to a given taxonomic category following the GBIF taxonomic backbone (alternative taxa equally plausible are given in the field identificationQualifier) > occurrenceStatus: whether the taxon was mentioned and thus assumed to be present in the site (only mentioned, "present" taxa are included) > occurrenceID: unique identifier of the record (a given species in a given locality) > basisOfRecord: how the data were sampled (all observations were reported by interviewed people; "HumanObservation") > institutionCode: the acronym of the institution having custody of the dataset > collectionCode: the name of the dataset within the institution having its custody > vernacularName: the names of the taxa as reported by the interviewed people (list of common names) > kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, ScientificNameAuthorship, taxonRank, specificEpithet , infraspecificEpithet: full taxonomic classification of the observed taxa following the GBIF taxonomic backbone > identificationQualifier: scientific names of possible taxa corresponding to the vernacularName > identificationRemarks: synonyms of vernacular names and further considerations concerning the taxonomic classification of the reported taxa > degreeOfEstablishment: this field was used to differentiate "native" taxa occurring in the wild from crops and livestock, the latter two termed "cultivated".
|Purpose||The dataset can be used to reconstruct historical land use and habitat cover, model historical distributions of many species, including emblematic species such as wolf and bear, and establish reference distributions to assess range expansion, contraction and shifts.|
|Maintenance Description||This dataset is closed and will not be updated, unless errors or issues are reported by users.|