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

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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.

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Correspondence to Janine E. Victor.

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Victor, J.E., Smith, G.F., Turland, N.J. et al. Creating an Online World Flora by 2020: a perspective from South Africa. Biodivers Conserv 23, 251–263 (2014).

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