Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 251–263

Creating an Online World Flora by 2020: a perspective from South Africa

  • Janine E. Victor
  • Gideon F. Smith
  • Nicholas J. Turland
  • Marianne le Roux
  • Alan Paton
  • Estrela Figueiredo
  • Neil R. Crouch
  • Abraham E. van Wyk
  • Denis Filer
  • Erich van Wyk
Commentary

Abstract

At the 10th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), which was held in Nagoya, Japan, in October 2010, an updated Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) was adopted as part of the plan of work of the CBD. Target 1 of the GSPC aims to produce an online Flora for all the plants of the world by 2020. Governments that have ratified the CBD will have to report over the next several years on progress towards achieving this challenging target. Floras are still widely regarded as a means of providing descriptive information and identification tools for the plants that occur in a specified region. Historically, Floras have included identification keys; scientific names with authorship for all taxa known to occur in the area; synonymy; descriptions; distributions within the region in question; specimen citations; habitat; literature references; and illustrations. Of these, nomenclature, descriptions, identification tools, illustrations and distributions are critical components. The approach being taken by South Africa, a biodiversity-rich country, in working towards achieving Target 1 of the GSPC by 2020 is presented and discussed, outlining a methodology that may be of practical use to other countries. We hope this will urge other countries to consider how they might meet this challenging conservation target.

Keywords

BRAHMS Convention on Biodiversity Flora Global Strategy for Plant Conservation Online South Africa Taxonomy Vascular plants 

References

  1. Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) (2009). http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/index.htm
  2. Brach AR, Boufford DE (2011) Why are we still producing paper Floras? Ann Missouri Bot Gard 98(3):297–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brach AR, Song H (2006) eFloras: New Directions for Online Floras Exemplified by the Flora of China Project. Taxon 55(1):188–192Google Scholar
  4. CBD (2012) Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) Global strategy for plant conservation: World flora online by 2020, 16th Meeting, Montreal, Canada. In: Convention on Biological Diversity, UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/38. http://www.cbd.int/doc/meetings/sbstta/sbstta-16/information/sbstta-16-inf-38-en.doc
  5. CBD (2013) Aichi Biodiversity Targets. http://www.cbd.int/sp/targets
  6. Constance L (1964) Systematic botany—an unending synthesis. Taxon 13:257–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. COP (2002) Conference of the Parties (COP) Decision VI/9, Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, 2002–2010. In: Sixth ordinary meeting of the conference of the parties to the convention on biological diversity (COP 6), The Hague, Netherlands. http://www.cbd.int/decision/cop/?id=7183
  8. COP (2010) Conference of the Parties (COP) 10 Decision X/17 (2011–2020). http://www.cbd.int/decision/cop/default.shtml?id=12283
  9. Diggs GM, Lipscomb BL (2002) What is the writer of a flora to do? Evolutionary taxonomy or phylogenetic systematics? Sida 20:647–674Google Scholar
  10. eFloras (2008) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, United Kingdom. http://www.efloras.org. Accessed 16 Oct 2013
  11. Filer DL (2012) Botanical research and herbarium management system training guide. Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, United KingdomGoogle Scholar
  12. Germishuizen G, Meyer NL, Steenkamp Y, Keith M (eds) (2006) A checklist of South African plants. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report 41. SABONET, PretoriaGoogle Scholar
  13. Gómez-Pompa A, Nevling, LI (1988) Some reflections on floristic databases. Symposium tropical botany: principles and practice. Taxon 37(3):764–775Google Scholar
  14. Hamer M, Victor J, Smith GF (2012) Best practice guide for compiling, maintaining and disseminating national species checklists, version 1.0. Global Biodiversity Information Facility, Copenhagen. Accessed Oct 2012. http://www.gbif.org/orc/?doc_id=4752
  15. IBC (2011) XVIII International Botanical Congress, July 2011 resolutions. http://www.ibc2011.com/downloads/resolutions%20final%2030%20jul.pdf
  16. Kirkup D, Malcolm P, Christian G, Paton A (2005) Towards a digital African Flora. Taxon 54:457–466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Klopper RR, Smith GF, Chikuni AC (2002) The global taxonomy initiative in Africa. Taxon 51:159–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Koekemoer M, Steyn HM (2009) Helichrysums of southern Africa. An interactive key to identification of the species. http://keys.lucidcentral.org/keys/v3/helichrysum/
  19. Leistner OA (ed) (2000) Seed plants of southern Africa: families and genera. Strelitzia 10. National Botanical Institute, PretoriaGoogle Scholar
  20. Manning J, Goldblatt P (2013) Plants of the Greater Cape Floristic Region: The Core Cape Flora. Strelitzia 29. National Botanical Institute, PretoriaGoogle Scholar
  21. Meyer NL, Mössmer M, Smith GF (eds) (1997) Taxonomic literature of southern African plants. Strelitzia 5. National Botanical Institute, PretoriaGoogle Scholar
  22. Morin NR, Whetstone RD, Wilken D, Tomlinson KL (1988) Floristics for the 21st century. In: Proceedings of the workshop sponsored by the American Society of Plant Taxonomists and the Flora of North America Project. Alexandria, VirginiaGoogle Scholar
  23. Paton A (2009) Biodiversity informatics and the plant conservation baseline. Trends Plant Sci 14:629–637PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Paton AJ, Nic Lughadha E (2011) The irresistible target meets the unachievable objective: what have 8 years of GSPC implementation taught us about target setting and achievable objectives? Bot J Linn Soc 166:250–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Retief E, Herman PPJ (1997) Plants of the northern provinces of South Africa: keys and diagnostic characters. Strelitzia 6. National Botanical Institute, PretoriaGoogle Scholar
  26. Rilke S, Najmi U, Schnittler M (2012) Contributions to “E-Taxonomy”—a virtual approach to the Flora of Mongolia (FloraGREIF). Feddes Repert 123(3):219–232Google Scholar
  27. Sierra S, Agosti D, Groom O, Güntsch A, Hagedorn G, Hoverkamp P, Bénichou L, Morris R, Mota de Oliveria S, Penev L (2013) D.3.1—towards a set of best practices on editorial policies for the curation and publication of fundamental biodiversity data and information in an e-environment. Ppro-iBiosphere_WP3_Naturalis_D3.1_VFF_31052013.pdf. http://www.pro-ibiosphere.eu/documents/
  28. Smith AR (2005) Floristics in the 21st century: balancing user-needs and phylogenetic information. Fern Gaz 17(3):105–137Google Scholar
  29. Smith GF, Buys M, Walters M, Herbert D, Hamer M (2008) Taxonomic research in South Africa: the state of the discipline. S Afr J Sci 104:254–256Google Scholar
  30. Snijman DA (ed) (2013) Plants of the greater cape floristic region 2: the extra cape flora. Strelitzia 30. South African National Biodiversity Institute, PretoriaGoogle Scholar
  31. Steenkamp Y, Smith GF (2006) Introduction to a checklist of South African plants. In: Germishuizen G, Meyer NL, Steenkamp Y, Keith M (eds) A checklist of South African plants. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report 41, SABONET, Pretoria pp iv–ixGoogle Scholar
  32. The plant list (2010) version 1. http://www.theplantlist.org/. Accessed 2 May 2013
  33. Victor JE, Hamer M, Smith GF (2013) A Biosystematics Research Strategy for the Algae, Animals, Bacteria and Archaea, Fungi and Plants of South Africa 2013-2018. SANBI Biodiversity Series 23. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria Google Scholar
  34. Victor JE, Smith GF (2011) The conservation imperative and setting plant taxonomic research priorities in South Africa. Biodivers Conserv 20:1501–1505CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wearn JA, Chase MW, Mabberley DJ, Couch C (2013) Utilizing a phylogenetic plant classification for systematic arrangements in botanic gardens and herbaria. Bot J Linn Soc 172:127–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janine E. Victor
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gideon F. Smith
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Nicholas J. Turland
    • 4
  • Marianne le Roux
    • 1
  • Alan Paton
    • 5
  • Estrela Figueiredo
    • 3
    • 6
  • Neil R. Crouch
    • 7
    • 8
  • Abraham E. van Wyk
    • 2
  • Denis Filer
    • 9
  • Erich van Wyk
    • 1
  1. 1.Biosystematics Research and Biodiversity Collections DivisionSouth African National Biodiversity InstitutePretoriaSouth Africa
  2. 2.H.G.W.J. Schweickerdt Herbarium, Department of Plant ScienceUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa
  3. 3.Departamento de Ciências da Vida, Centre for Functional EcologyUniversidade de CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  4. 4.Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin-DahlemFreie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany
  5. 5.The HerbariumRoyal Botanic GardensKew, RichmondUK
  6. 6.Department of BotanyNelson Mandela Metropolitan UniversityPort ElizabethSouth Africa
  7. 7.Ethnobotany UnitSouth African National Biodiversity InstituteDurbanSouth Africa
  8. 8.School of Chemistry and PhysicsUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalDurbanSouth Africa
  9. 9.Department of Plant SciencesUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations