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Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingC3: Conference Abstract

A Flora is a tool primarily serving the need for plant identification. Additionally, they provide basic information on each species and often provide a crucial entry to additional data. As such, Flora’s are essential not only in a wide variety of biological research fields, but also in conservation and management. In tropical Africa, the western and eastern regions are covered by several major Flora’s that are complete (FWTA, FTEA) or almost so (Fl. Zamb.). Halfway the previous century, three major Flora series related to C. Africa, Flore du Cameroun, Flore du Gabon, Flore d’Afrique centrale, were started up. All have shown rapid progress at the start, with a notable decline in speed after several decades, leading to an asymptotic production curve. For Sao Tomé and Principe, only a Checklist exists (updated in 2011). The Flora of Rwanda, completed in 4 vols, was published in 1978-1987 and treats 2383 native species. The Flora de Guinea Ecuatorial (c. 5000 species) started in 2002, and has now dealt with c. 30% of the species. Flore du Gabon is advancing well, with c. 80% treated. The Central African Republic and the Republic of the Congo still remain without any Flora initiative to date. Despite major efforts, and even specific funding, progress of the major Flora’s in the region remains slow. Various reasons are evaluated, but it is concluded that producing a Flora account is no longer a priority for many taxonomic specialists. The development of e-Flora’s and standards like World Flora Online may support, but probably not speed up the production. Having in mind the huge importance of the availability of good quality Flora’s, two strategies are discussed. The first is obtaining major funding, possibly per country, for a major program involving salaried positions. The second is drastically changing the focus of the Flora treatments towards identification (keys, illustrations) and diminishing the taxonomic workload (compiling from literature only). Or, maybe a combination of both?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationXXIIth AETFAT Conference: Diversity and Conservation of African Plants: Challenges and Opportunities
Publication date27-Jun-2022
Publication statusPublished - 27-Jun-2022
EventXXIIth AETFAT Conference: Diversity and Conservation of African Plants: Challenges and Opportunities - AVANI Victoria Falls Resort, Livingstone, Zambia
Duration: 23-Mar-202027-Mar-2020
Conference number: 22

    Research areas

  • B290-taxonomy - Botany, Central Africa, Flora, identification
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