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News From MO: 2000

Asia

Flora of China: The Missouri Botanical Garden is the coordination center for the Flora of China, a project to publish for the first time in English a revised Flora. The joint Editorial Committee, co-chaired by Wu Zhengyi (Kunming) and Peter H. Raven [webpage], last met on August 8, 1999, at the Garden, immediately following the XVI International Botanical Congress. The non-Chinese members of the committee will meet again at this year's Systematics Symposium. The Flora, which will be published in a condensed form, is written by Chinese authors in direct collaboration with taxonomic authorities outside China. Information about the approximately 30,000 species of Chinese vascular plants is now available online.

Four project centers were established in China at the Institutes of Botany in Beijing, Kunming, Guangzhou, and Nanjing, and six editorial centers were set up at Harvard University, California Academy of Sciences, the Smithsonian Institution, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Edinburgh and Kew, and the Missouri Botanical Garden. A seventh center at the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, was added in 1999. Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press are the co-publishers. A total of 25 volumes of text and 25 of illustrations is planned, and the first volume, Volume 17 (Verbenaceae through Solanaceae), was published in 1994. Volume 16 (Gentianaceae through Boraginaceae) was published in 1995, Volume 15 (Myrsinaceae through Loganiaceae) in 1996, Volume 18 (Scrophulariaceae through Gesneriaceae) in 1998, and Volume 4 (Cycadaceae through Fagaceae) in 1999. Volumes 24 (Flagellariaceae through Marantaceae) and 8 (Brassicaceae through Saxifragaceae) will appear in 2000. For the Flora of China Illustrations, Volumes 17 (1998), 16 (1999), and 15 (2000) have been published so far, and Volumes 18 and 4 will appear in 2000.

Ihsan Al-Shehbaz [webpage] directs the project. Guanghua Zhu handles all China-related matters for the project and edits the Flora of China Illustrations. Nicholas Turland [webpage] coordinates production of the text volumes and he, together with Anthony Brach [webpage], Robert DeFilipps (US), and Orbélia R. Robinson (CAS), are editorial assistants. Rosemary Tanaka provides valuable support to the project, especially in the formatting and production of the camera-ready copy of the volumes. Ihsan Al-Shehbaz, Bruce Bartholomew (CAS), David E. Boufford (A), Joël Jérémie (P), W. John Kress (US), Simon J. Owens (K), Peter H. Raven, Mark Watson (E), and Guanghua Zhu are the non-Chinese members of the Editorial Committee. All systematists who are interested in working on various plant groups for the Flora of China project should feel welcome to contact Nicholas Turland (tel.: 314-577-0269; fax: 314-577-9438; e-mail: nicholas.turland@mobot.org).

Flora of China Checklist: The Flora of China Checklist project will provide a computerized synopsis of the almost 30,000 species of ferns and seed plants known from China. The Checklist will contain information on accepted species and recognized infraspecific taxa. These data include the place of publication for accepted taxa, synonyms appropriate for the Chinese flora, and location where accepted names of species appear in published volumes of both the Flora Reipublicae Popularis Sinicae and the English language Flora of China (as applicable), as well as other relevant bibliographic sources. Also included will be the status of species and infraspecies in China (native, endemic, introduced, naturalized, cultivated), their provincial distribution and altitudinal ranges within China and, for non-endemic taxa, their occurrence in countries neighboring China and distribution outside Asia, as well as pertinent notes. Ihsan Al-Shehbaz has overall responsibility for the project. Michele Funston [webpage] is the coordinator of the Checklist. She is assisted by Diane Cutaia, Candy McCandliss, and volunteer Margaret Hartung.

Vietnam: The Garden has been collaborating with the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources (IEBR) in Hanoi to promote botanical research on the flora of Vietnam. Daniel Harder [webpage] coordinates a program with the American Museum of Natural History, IEBR, and the Vietnam National University to conduct a multi-year inventory of plants and animals in a series of Vietnam's most important and endangered protected areas. This program features capacity building through professional training, collection maintenance and development, and dissemination of data nationally and internationally. The project compiles the knowledge and expertise necessary to develop a plan for sustainable management and conservation of the areas. Two additional Vietnamese institutions, the Institute Materia Medica, which is concerned with cataloging and conserving useful plants, and the Forest Inventory and Planning Institute, the government agency that manages Vietnam's protected forests, have joined the project. Funding for the project comes from the National Science Foundation. Harder and his family moved to Hanoi in early 1999 to coordinate MO's participation in the effort.

This year Harder was awarded a National Geographic Society grant for field work in unexplored areas of northern Vietnam. He and his colleagues have also visited Cambodia to talk to interested groups about possibilities for collaboration. A number of conservation groups are working there because of the presence of endemic species of cattle, tigers, and rhinos, among others. There are very few plant collections from Cambodia and even fewer from Laos–these areas are real frontiers for botanists. Vietnam is very rich in species, but there is much more population pressure than in Cambodia or Laos and consequently much less time to save the plants. The Vietnam program is building MO's collections of Vietnamese plants–to date duplicates of more than 7,000 collection numbers have been sent to the herbarium. Sharon Bodine is project coordinator for the Vietnam project in St. Louis.

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