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World Flora Online – project update October 2012

 The United Nations Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) set as its Target 1 for the updated Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) “an online flora of all known plants” by 2020. The GSPC was first adopted in 2002 by the international community with the aim of halting the loss of plant species by 2020.  In 2010 a revised series of specific targets were adopted, including the call for the completion of this World Flora.  This target must be seen in the context of continued loss of plant diversity where ca.100,000 plant species, about a quarter of the world’s total, are known to be currently in danger of extinction in the wild.  There is currently no comprehensive and scientifically valid over-view account of the world’s plant diversity available that can be used to monitor conservation efforts or as a basis for determining future priorities in botanical research and conservation.   The Missouri Botanical Garden, as a global leader in botanical systematics and conservation, has committed itself to promote this community effort and facilitate the completion this massive task.

  The World Flora Online will be an open-access, Web-based compendium of the world’s plant species. It will be a collaborative, international project, building upon existing knowledge and published floras, checklists and revisions.  In addition, it will also require the collection and generation of new information on poorly know plant groups and plants in unexplored regions. The World Flora Online is conceptualized as a ten year project implemented in several phases.

 
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