In summarizing INBios work during the past year, we can highlight certain achievements or particular actions that, because of their nature and significance, have a special impact on the institutions development and on the achievement of its goals. These achievements are like steps, which allow us to move forward and accomplish other things that were previously inaccessible.
During the year 2001, INBio completed the development of its information management system, known as Atta, making it available to the world through the Internet. It is important to emphasize that, thanks to this connection, INBio is able to provide all interested groups with free access to data on more than 2.5 million specimens, corresponding to more than 20,000 species of plants, fungi, arthropods, mollusks and nematodes. It would be difficult to find a country in Latin America - and indeed in a good part of the world Ð which has generated and provided users with free access to so much information on its biodiversity.
We should also emphasize that this effort to make available knowledge of our biodiversity to all users, without restriction of borders, was achieved thanks to the collaboration and support of many national and foreign organizations. The Costa Rican Ministry of the Environment and Energy (MINAE) and its National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) have been our partners and allies in the task of preparing the biodiversity inventory in the protected wildlands, the source of the vast majority of specimens and information. Similarly, our main donors, who are listed in this report, provided the financial resources to facilitate the work of collecting and processing of the specimens, obtaining their final taxonomic classification with the collaboration of distinguished scientists, particularly from Europe and North America.
Although on this occasion we focus primarily on the achievements of the Atta information system, we must emphasize that it forms part of a series of actions resulting from the work of a group of people from very diverse professional backgrounds who carry out the institutions essential process. This process begins with the generation and gathering of information, continues with its processing and is finally transformed into products or actions, which enable INBio not only to transfer, but to truly share the information with the most diverse users and for very different purposes.
Through this document, the reader will discover the hard work and achievements resulting from the effort to generate, process, transfer and share information on our countrys rich biodiversity.