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Herbarium collaboration

Collaborative projects
Following the completion of the monumental Flora Australiensis (itself one part of the inventory of plants growing throughout the British Empire) each state tended to follow its own path although in the last thirty years or so that the need for a collective effort has been evident in several areas.

Australian Plant Name Index
Alex George was a botanist with the West Australian Herbarium who worked with Gardner, was chief editor of the Flora of Australia project for many years and was interested in. A member of staff of the Western Australian Herbarium 1959­-1981. From 1981-­1993 foundation Executive Editor of the Flora of Australia when it commenced in 1979. Herbarium of over 17,000 specimens.[1]

The Australian Plant Name Index (APNI) was the inspiration of one of Australia’s most prominent botanists, Nancy Burbidge. It was compiled over a period of 15 years from literature in herbaria and botanical libraries around the world, and published in 1991 as a 4-volume set of 3,055 pages, treating over 60,000 names. Originally compiled by Arthur Chapman of the Australian Biological Resources Study, the underlying database of the Australian Plant name Index was transferred to the Australian National Botanic Gardens in 1991 as its foundation dataset, and as a public-good Internet resource.

Following the formation of the collaborative Centre for Plant biodiversity Research in 1993, APNI was adopted as the standard dataset for plant names for the Australian National Herbarium, and as a key resource for the Flora of Australia program of ABRS.

APNI available at http://www.anbg.gov.au/apni/.

 Census of Australian Vascular Plants
In 1990 a Census of Australian Vascular Plants was published by Roger Hnatiuk[2] (second Director of the Australian National Botanic Gardens (1990-1992) as a compendium of State lists. It had been first mooted in 1979 as part of the Australian Biological Resources Study. This was the first national census of plants since Mueller’s 1889 Second Systematic Census of Australian Plants which recorded 8,839 species. The 7-volume Flora Australiensis had included descriptions and keys to 8,125 taxa. The new assumed near-comprehensive account recorded a total of 17,590 species of which 1,952 (about 11%) were naturalised aliens.

Flora of Australia
In 1981 ABRS initiated the ambitious Flora of Australia, the first nation-wide Flora since the Flora Australiensis of Bentham and Mueller and mostly federally funded. The history of its gestation as well as an outline of botanists, collectors and early voyagers is outlined in the second edition of Volume 1.

Systematics Agenda 2000
An international team of systematists established basic global goals in 1990 with three key goals: firstly, discovery, cataloguing and description of diversity; secondly, conversion of this information into a phylogenetic classification system; presentation of this work in a practical form. The situation was reviewed in 2009-2010.

Global Strategy for Plant Conservation[3]
This is a product of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) initiated in 1988 to explore the need for an international convention on biological diversity and by 4 June 1993 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (the Rio “Earth Summit”)  had 168 signatures to a draft document which came into force on 29 December 1993. The Convention on Biological Diversity was inspired by a global commitment to sustainable development, the conservation of biological diversity, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits of genetic resources.

One goal of the Strategy is a world online Flora which includes an assessment of the conservation status of all plants.

The Australian Virtual Herbarium (AVH)
Australia’s major state and territory herbaria house over six million plant, algae and fungi specimens. The AVH provides access to data stored with these specimens provides the most comprehensive account of the distribution of Australia’s flora.  On the AVH web site you can search, map, download and analyse records from the databases of the major herbaria in Australia.[4]

Citations
[1] http://www.anbg.gov.au/biography
[2] http://www.anbg.gov.au/biography/hnatiuk-roger-james.html
[3] https://www.cbd.int/history
[4] http://avh.chah.org.au/

General references
ABRS/CSIRO 1999. Flora of Australia Volume 1, Introduction, 2nd edn. ABRS/CSIRO: Melbourne, Australia

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