Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

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

  • Commentary
  • Published:
Biodiversity and Conservation Aims and scope Submit manuscript

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) (2009). http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/index.htm

  • Brach AR, Boufford DE (2011) Why are we still producing paper Floras? Ann Missouri Bot Gard 98(3):297–300

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brach AR, Song H (2006) eFloras: New Directions for Online Floras Exemplified by the Flora of China Project. Taxon 55(1):188–192

    Google Scholar 

  • 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

  • CBD (2013) Aichi Biodiversity Targets. http://www.cbd.int/sp/targets

  • Constance L (1964) Systematic botany—an unending synthesis. Taxon 13:257–273

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • 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

  • COP (2010) Conference of the Parties (COP) 10 Decision X/17 (2011–2020). http://www.cbd.int/decision/cop/default.shtml?id=12283

  • Diggs GM, Lipscomb BL (2002) What is the writer of a flora to do? Evolutionary taxonomy or phylogenetic systematics? Sida 20:647–674

    Google Scholar 

  • 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

  • Filer DL (2012) Botanical research and herbarium management system training guide. Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom

  • Germishuizen G, Meyer NL, Steenkamp Y, Keith M (eds) (2006) A checklist of South African plants. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report 41. SABONET, Pretoria

  • Gómez-Pompa A, Nevling, LI (1988) Some reflections on floristic databases. Symposium tropical botany: principles and practice. Taxon 37(3):764–775

    Google Scholar 

  • 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

  • IBC (2011) XVIII International Botanical Congress, July 2011 resolutions. http://www.ibc2011.com/downloads/resolutions%20final%2030%20jul.pdf

  • Kirkup D, Malcolm P, Christian G, Paton A (2005) Towards a digital African Flora. Taxon 54:457–466

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Klopper RR, Smith GF, Chikuni AC (2002) The global taxonomy initiative in Africa. Taxon 51:159–165

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Koekemoer M, Steyn HM (2009) Helichrysums of southern Africa. An interactive key to identification of the species. http://keys.lucidcentral.org/keys/v3/helichrysum/

  • Leistner OA (ed) (2000) Seed plants of southern Africa: families and genera. Strelitzia 10. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria

  • Manning J, Goldblatt P (2013) Plants of the Greater Cape Floristic Region: The Core Cape Flora. Strelitzia 29. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria

  • Meyer NL, Mössmer M, Smith GF (eds) (1997) Taxonomic literature of southern African plants. Strelitzia 5. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria

  • 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, Virginia

  • Paton A (2009) Biodiversity informatics and the plant conservation baseline. Trends Plant Sci 14:629–637

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • 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 166:250–260

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Retief E, Herman PPJ (1997) Plants of the northern provinces of South Africa: keys and diagnostic characters. Strelitzia 6. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria

  • Rilke S, Najmi U, Schnittler M (2012) Contributions to “E-Taxonomy”—a virtual approach to the Flora of Mongolia (FloraGREIF). Feddes Repert 123(3):219–232

    Google Scholar 

  • 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/

  • Smith AR (2005) Floristics in the 21st century: balancing user-needs and phylogenetic information. Fern Gaz 17(3):105–137

    Google Scholar 

  • 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 104:254–256

    Google Scholar 

  • Snijman DA (ed) (2013) Plants of the greater cape floristic region 2: the extra cape flora. Strelitzia 30. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria

  • 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–ix

  • The plant list (2010) version 1. http://www.theplantlist.org/. Accessed 2 May 2013

  • 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

  • Victor JE, Smith GF (2011) The conservation imperative and setting plant taxonomic research priorities in South Africa. Biodivers Conserv 20:1501–1505

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • 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 172:127–141

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Janine E. Victor.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

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). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-013-0595-0

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-013-0595-0

Keywords

Navigation