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News From MO: 2000

South America

Argentina: The cooperation and exchange of information between the Missouri Botanical Garden and the National Council for Scientific and Technological Research of Argentina (CONICET) continues according to the terms of the agreement of scientific cooperation signed by the two institutions. This agreement was made possible through the interest and enthusiasm of Armando Hunziker (CORD), director of the Flora of Argentina program. Fernando Zuloaga (SI) and his collaborators are preparing a computerized floristic checklist of the vascular plants of Argentina. This initiative began as a joint project of the Instituto de Botánica Darwinion and the Missouri Botanical Garden. The checklist will appear as a published catalog and will be available as a permanently maintained and routinely updated computer database at the principal herbaria in Argentina. The Catálogo de la Familia Poaceae en la República Argentina, the first volume of the Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares de la República Argentina, was published in 1994, and the second volume containing the pteridophytes, gymnosperms, and monocots appeared in 1996. The third and final installment of the catalog, a two-volume set containing the dicots, was published in June 1999. Zuloaga has now turned his attention to initiating a checklist for the Southern Cone (Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay), a massive collaboration of institutions from the countries involved. Robert E. Magill [webpage] assists in the coordination of the project from St. Louis.

Bolivia: The general floristic inventory of Bolivia, initiated in 1981, continues in close cooperation with a variety of Bolivian institutions. In January 2001 Steve Churchill [webpage] will take up residence in Santa Cruz, where he will continue the Garden's collaboration with the Museo Noel Kempff Mercado (USZ). Churchill will conduct workshops on mosses for students in Peru and Bolivia, in collaboration with Jesús Muñoz (MA), and will collect bryophytes in Bolivia, Peru, and northern Argentina as part of the ongoing moss flora of the Andes, a project funded by the National Science Foundation. An important priority for Churchill will be to collect vascular plants, as well as bryophytes, in major regions of Bolivia to support support the Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Bolivia, a floristic project that is headed by Peter Jørgensen [webpage]. In addition, he will place much emphasis on training for Bolivian students, helping them to develop thesis projects and taking them along in the field.

A new focus for field activities will be the montane forests of the Madidi National Park on the northeastern side of the Andes and adjacent alluvial plain of northern Bolivia in the Department of La Paz. The Madidi region is located at the juncture of four biogeographical regions. To the north and northwest are the humid forests of the southwest Amazon/Tamopata region that includes most of southern Peru. To the west, the Peruvian montane forest has a varied topography that supports formations ranging from rain forest to elfin cloud forest. To the east and southeast, the Bolivian Yungas and Chapare regions are similarly diverse, with a super-humid climate. The ecosystems to the northeast are characterized by vast expanses of open savannas crossed by corridors of gallery forest. The National Herbarium (LPB) will be collaborating on the inventory of the Madidi region.

Rosa Ortiz will become the coordinator in St. Louis for the Bolivia project in January 2001 when Steve Churchill moves to Bolivia. For more information on the Bolivian program, please contact Churchill at steve.churchill@mobot.org.

Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Bolivia: In early 1999 the Garden signed an agreement of scientific cooperation with the Herbario Nacional de Bolivia (LPB), the Herbario Nacional Forestal Dr. Martín Cárdenas (BOLV), and the Museo Noel Kempff Mercado (USZ) to produce a checklist of the vascular plants of Bolivia following the successful model employed for the Ecuador checklist. Mike Nee (NY) will play a significant role in the project, along with Stephan Beck, Mónica Moraes, Xenia Villavicencio (LPB), Susana Arrázola (BOLV), and Mario Saldías (USZ). Peter Jørgensen (see above) will coordinate the project, with the assistance of Luzmila Arroyo, a young Bolivian scientist who will finish her Master's degree at the University of Missouri-St. Louis in the Fall of 2000. A large number of Bolivian students will be invited to participate in the project, which is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. A web version of the catalog is also planned.

Chile: The Garden is collaborating with the Universidad de Concepción (CONC), Chile, in the preparation of the New Flora of Chile, which will cover the vascular flora. The flora of Chile has a high degree of endemism in several biogeographically unusual areas: the Atacama desert in northern Chile is the world's driest; the central zone with its Mediterranean climate is unique in South America; and the wet, cool, temperate south is home to ancient forests where relictual groups from Gondwanaland still grow. The New Flora revises a work completed in 1854 and will be written with the help of more than 40 collaborators from around the world; completion is expected in about 12 years. Charlotte M. Taylor [webpage] manages the Garden's involvement in this project.

Colombia: The Garden's activities in Colombia are coordinated by Randy Evans [webpage], with the dedicated help of Rosa Ortiz [webpage], who manages Colombian specimens and their identifications in St. Louis. Charlotte Taylor (see above) has taken a leave from coordinating the project to complete Rubiaceae treatments for Flora Mesoamericana and the Flora of the Venezuelan Guayana.The Garden has inventories underway at several sites in Colombia, some of which were begun by the late Alwyn H. Gentry. Colombia comprises a wide variety of ecosystems including dry, near-desert formations, seasonally moist forests, rain forests, edaphically dry zones, and montane forests.

The Garden's current efforts are concentrated on particular, representative sites. These include the Bajo Calima region in western coastal Valle Department, in collaboration with Myriam Monsalve (CUVC) and the Río Escalerete Reserve, where an inventory is being conducted by Wilson Devia (TULV) and Taylor with support from the National Geographic Society. Although these sites are only a few dozen kilometers apart, they share only about 65% of their plant species. The two sites are located in the Chocó biogeographic region, one of the least known and least studied regions of South America. Their checklists are being put up on the Internet, family by family, as they are compiled.

The Garden also continues working on identification of the collections from the La Planada Reserve in the mountains of southwestern Colombia and on collections from Las Orquídeas National Park in northwestern Colombia. The latter is a National Geographic Society-funded project of of Alvaro Cogollo (JAUM) and John Pipoly (Fairchild Botanical Garden) in collaboration with the Garden. Work also continues on the flora of Amacayacu National Park, in the extreme southeast of Colombia. This project is directed by Agustín Rudas (COL), who has completed a set of ecological studies of the park. The Florula de Amacayacu is being formatted and edited. The Garden is also helping to prepare checklists for Antioquia Department in the northwestern part of the country, under the direction of Ricardo Callejas (HUA), and in Quindió Department in the west-central part of the country, under the direction of Carlos Agudelo and Cristina Vélez (both HUQ). In addition, the Garden continues more general collaboration with botanists from institutions, including Instituto Sinchi (COAH), whick works in Amazonian regions, the national herbarium (COL) and the Instituto von Humboldt (FMB), both working throughout the country; the regionally-focused National University-Medellín campus (MEDEL), the University of Nariño (PSO) and others. MO has collaborated with FMB and other institutions on a new journal, Biota Colombiana, which published its first issue this year.

Ecuador: In collaboration with the National Herbarium (QCNE) of the Ecuadorian Museum of Natural Sciences in Quito, the Garden is carrying out an intensive program of botanical inventories, development of the QCNE herbarium, and professional training of Ecuadorian botanists. An Ecuadorian non-profit conservation and research organization, the Jatun Sacha Foundation, also collaborates with the Garden on several projects.

In 1998 the Garden's three-year "Integrated Botanical Training Program in Ecuador" was initiated with support from the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation. The program, coordinated by David Neill [webpage], is designed to strengthen Ecuador's technical capacity to carry out research, management and conservation of its natural resources, particularly the country's native plant species and tropical forest habitats. In the third year of the program (September 2000–May 2001), eight young Ecuadorians with undergraduate degrees in biology, forestry, or agronomy are participating as post-graduate interns in a nine-month program involving botanical inventories in various regions of the country, training in field, herbarium, and library research methods, quantitative ecological studies, conservation assessments and environmental impact studies. The program also includes field research scholarships for Ecuadorian students carrying out undergraduate thesis research in botany and related subjects, on-the-job training for staff members of the Herbario Nacional del Ecuador, and applied research and extension in agroforestry at the the Amazon Plant Conservation Center and Ishpingo Botanical Garden, located at the Jatun Sacha Biological Station in Amazonian Ecuador.

This year the botanical inventory program concentrated on several areas of primary forest in Ecuador. The Ecuador program has received support from the National Geographic Society for a botanical inventory of the Cordillera del Cóndor, an eastern outlier of the Andes along the Peruvian border during 2000–2002. Two one-hectare forest sample plots were established by the botanical training program, one in Pacific lowland wet forest in the Awá indigenous reserve near the Colombian border and the other in cloud forest on the eastern slopes of the Andes at the San Francisco Scientific Station near Loja. The program is also helping to establish the new Quito Botanical Garden within a public park in the capital.

The QCNE herbarium continues to grow rapidly in number of collections and now exceeds 140,000 mounted specimens. The QCNE herbarium has also taken on the task of rehabilitating the collection of Luis Sodiro at QLPS in Quito, which contains important historical collections and numerous types collected by Sodiro in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Garden's projects in Ecuador are coordinated by resident staff botanists Calaway Dodson and Neill. A number of Ecuadorian botanists and foresters participate as staff members of the national herbarium and the Jatun Sacha Foundation. Mercedes Asanza works with Neill as program assistant for the botanical training program, and also teaches upper-level botany at the Central University of Ecuador. Aída Alvarez recently left her post as director of the national herbarium and has begun studies for a Ph.D. in systematic botany at the New York Botanical Garden. Homero Vargas of the National Herbarium has begun studying for a master's degree at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Walter Palacios supervises a program of community forest management in the buffer zone of the Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve in nothwest Ecuador, a project financed by USAID and carried out by the Jatun Sacha Foundation. Inés Padilla and Mercedes Asanza are working on the rehabilitation of the Sodiro herbarium. Alina Freire and Museum employees Efraín Freire and Ximena Aguirre complete the technical staff of the National Herbarium. The Jatun Sacha Foundation maintains the Amazon Plant Conservation Center and the Ishpingo Botanical Garden, headed by Nixon Revelo and Angel Alvarado. The Ecuador botanical program is overseen by Miguel Moreno, Director of the Ecuadorian Museum of Natural Sciences. In St. Louis, the Ecuador project is coordinated by Zachary Rogers [webpage].

Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Ecuador. The Catalogue, which provides a complete synopsis of the vascular plants of Ecuador (about 16,132 species in 2,391 genera), was published at the end of July 1999. Peter M. Jørgensen [webpage] and Susana León (QCA) are the editors of the volume. More than 230 specialists participated in the project as authors or reviewers. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded the production of the Catalogue, which was a collaborative effort of the Museo Ecuatoriano de Ciencias Naturales (QCNE), the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (QCA), the Department of Systematic Botany, Aarhus University (AAU), and the Missouri Botanical Garden. Project information is stored in the Garden's botanical database TROPICOS. The complete Catalogue is now available online.

Paraguay: The Flora del Paraguay project is an international cooperative program directed by Rodolphe Spichiger (G), coordinated by Lorenzo Ramella (G), and jointly published by MO and G. As part of this project, the Garden established a program of floristic inventory and databasing directed by Elsa Zardini [webpage]. The Garden has signed collaborative agreements with the Paraguayan Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, the National University, and the Botanical and Zoological Garden, and interacts with all Paraguayan institutions concerned with natural resources. Zardini resides in Paraguay and coordinates activities with Cristián Fox (PY; Director of National Parks and Wildlife Service); Isabel de Basualdo (FCQ); Virginia Fernández (Head, Biology Department, Universidad Nacional); Bonifacia Bertoni (Botany, Biology Departments); Blas Pérez Maricevich (AS); Alberto Granada, Raúl Tuma Pedro, Ted Cable, Robert Klemm, and Mike Quick (Partners of the Americas); and Jeffrey Atkins (Sustainable Forest Systems). Zardini teaches short courses in the Biology Department of the National University and has co-advised three students in the preparation of their theses. She has also lectured at the university's School of Graduate Studies, the School of Agronomy, the Fundación Moisés Bertoni, Amigas Norteamericanas, Peace Corps, and the Women's International Club.

In 1999 Zardini collected in the Mbaracayú and Tapytá Reserves, the Defensores del Chaco National Park, the Yacyretá Dam Reserve, and the Amambay tablemountains. Zardini's collecting activities are being supported by the National Geographic Society and the collaborating institutions.

Based on the collections from Paraguay, 21 papers (novelties, checklists, medicinal plants, conservation) have been published by Zardini and colleagues Isabel de Basualdo, Nélida Soria and Mirtha Ortiz (FCQ), Cristián Fox, Eustacio Ríos (first Director of National Park Service), and Lidia Pérez de Molas (PY). A list of the ferns of the Ybycu'i National Park (102 species) is being prepared by Zardini and colleagues Teresa Florentín Peña, Lidia Pérez de Molas, and Marizza Quintana (PY). A comprehensive analysis of Paraguay's floristic inventory by Zardini has been published by National Geographic Research and Exploration.

For more information on the Garden's activities in Paraguay, write to Elsa Zardini at the Missouri Botanical Garden, P.O. Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 or by email. Tatyana Shulkina [webpage] is the coordinator for the Paraguay project in St. Louis.

Peru: The Peru project, funded primarily by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, is focused both on the completion of the Flora of Peru and on detailed floristic surveys of important biological reserves. It is directed by Rodolfo Vásquez from his base in Jaén (Cajamarca Department). Vásquez is currently working on a Flora of the Cenepa River Basin and surrounding region (Amazonas Department). Botanists José R. Campos, Rocío P. Rojas, and Camilo Díaz work with Vásquez in Cajamarca and Amazonas Departments. Eric Rodríguez, a botanist from the Herbarium Truxillense (HUT), also collaborates on the Cenepa project.

Since January 1999 Vásquez and his collaborators, horticulturalists Luis Campos and Olivio Díaz, have been conducting a Program of Training and Research in Conservation Botany that is funded by the Mellon and MacArthur Foundations. The program has two levels: 1) Training at the rural community level that includes reforestation modules and student demonstration gardens. In addition, the program produces ecological training manuals for the primary schools and reading materials for parents and local authorities. 2) Training for university students doing thesis research. In February and March 2000 the program provided pre-professional internships for seven students from six Peruvian universities. Two graduate students, Silvia Flores (Universidad Nacional de la Amazonía Peruana) and Jasmín Opisso (Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos) finished their thesis projects in June 2000 under the program. In July 2000 two more graduate students, Gloria Calatayud (Universidad Nacional San Abad del Cusco) and Marleni Huamán (Universidad Nacional de Cajamarca-Jaén) began their thesis research. In 1998 Vásquez worked with Oliver Phillips (University of Leeds, U.K.) on the "Long-Term Forest Dynamics Project in Amazonian Peru." They reinventoried some of the permanent plots established by Alwyn H. Gentry in Madre de Dios. Starting in 2001 they will set up four new 20 m x 500 m permanent plots at the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research (ACEER) and two at the Reserva Biológica Allpahuayo. Both these sites are in Loreto Department. Jon Ricketson [webpage] coordinates the Peru project in St. Louis with the aid of two volunteers, Catherine Mayo and Mary Bard.

Venezuela: The Flora of the Venezuelan Guayana, initiated by the late Julian A. Steyermark, is the main focus of the Garden's activity in Venezuela. It is directed by Paul Berry (WIS) and Kay Yatskievych [webpage] is the Coordinating Editor at MO. The fourth editor is Bruce Holst (SEL). Also contributing family or generic treatments to the series are over 200 specialists from 23 states and Washington. D.C. in the U.S.A. and 22 other countries. Volume 1, the Introduction, and Volume 2, which includes all pteridophytes and the first 11 families of the seed plants, were published by Timber Press in Fall 1995 and reprinted by Missouri Botanical Garden Press in July 1999. MBG Press also published three succeeding volumes: Volume 3 in May 1997, Volume 4 in February 1998, and Volume 5 in July 1999. Volume 6 is in press. The series will consist of a total of nine volumes. Habit drawings of nearly 5,000 of the 9,400 species in the flora have been completed by Bruno Manara. Volunteers Erika Rohrbach and Shirley Flavin are scanning the drawings. Volunteer Leonard Flowers is redesigning and updating the web site. Volunteer George Thornburgh helps with all aspects of editing and preparing the final camera-ready copy for publication. In addition to their editorial duties, Berry, Yatskievych, and Holst are also contributing treatments of various families to the Flora. A computerized catalog of all Venezuelan vascular plants is being produced with the Fundación Instituto Botánico de Venezuela (VEN), Caracas, and the herbarium at the Facultad de Ciencias (MER), Universidad de los Andes, Mérida.

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